WWE is not beyond trying to poach AEW talent.
Ben Carter made has AEW debut last year, but months after was going by Nathan Frazer in NXT UK. Other talent, like Daniel Bryan (who recently impressed the wrestling world with the Bryan Danielson vs Kenny Omega) and Adam Cole turned down WWE to sign for AEW.
But there were other talent who had chances to move between the two companies. One AEW Star was offered a chance to sign for NXT after WWE made contact with him after his AEW Dynamite debut. He would not be the first man to go from AEW to NXT, but would have been significant.
That man was Anthony Bowens, one half of the wonderful rapping tag team The Acclaimed. Along with his partner Max Caster, Anthony Bowens
Anthony Bowens to NXT
In his appearance on the AEW Unrestricted podcast, Anthony Bowens of the Acclaimed revealed that WWE called him after his AEW debut. He revealed that he was offered a spot in NXT, and actually accepted. Luckily, Tony Khan sat he and Max Caster down, and the pair soon signed new deals with AEW.
Anthony Bowen on AEW Unrestricted
“I never really went into specifics about what technically happened. Essentially, I had a dark match, and the next day I was approached by NXT about coming down there after they ghosted me for three years. I didn’t hear anything back from AEW directly after the match because sometimes Dark airs about a week or two afterwards, or at least in the pandemic world. I said, ‘Yes.’”
“Somehow that trickled back to Tony Khan. Tony found out about it and then brought me down there a week later, and I had a long conversation with him and my tag team partner. The next thing you know, I’m with AEW which is where I wanted to be in the first place. There were a ton of life happenings in there that made the decision a lot easier, but there was a very anxiety filled two weeks being in a great situation, I guess, that every wrestler wants to be in. But it was the most anxiety-inducing two weeks I’ve ever had in my life, but I made the right decision, and I’m so excited to be in AEW.”Anthony Bowens, AEW Unrestricted
AEW signed the pair to contracts, and the chance of Bowens going to NXT slipped away. The Acclaimed have made themselves quite a name in NXT, and look certain to be the AEW Tag Team Champions some time in the future.
After being ghosted by NXT for three years, it is not surprising that he chose AEW over NXT. With the new direction NXT is going, with the likes of Bron Breakker (Rex Steiner) being the new stars, Anthony Bowens would likely not get much of a look in in NXT 2.0.