Earlier this year, Randy Orton teased a move to All Elite Wrestling by dropping several hints that he was interested in joining the promotion. However, those rumors were put to bed after he signed a new five-year deal with WWE, which will likely keep him with the company until he retires. AEW was keen on signing the multi-time World Champion, though, and reportedly had a contract waiting for him when the time was right.
As noted by Sportskeeda, the Wrestling Observer Radio reported that Orton rejected the proposed offer from Tony Khan’s promotion because it wasn’t high enough. The speculation is that he was offered less than Chris Jericho’s current deal with the company. Orton felt that he deserved to be paid just as much as the AEW World Champion, if not more, and decided to accept a contract extension with WWE instead.
While a star of Orton’s magnitude would certainly benefit AEW, some pundits have suggested that he always intended to stay with WWE, and was only teasing a move away so that Vince McMahon’s company would offer him a better deal. Since AEW burst onto the scene earlier this year, WWE has been signing its talent to long-term, big-money contracts to prevent them from joining the competition. There was no way that they’d ever be willing to let one of their biggest stars jump ship without a fight.
If the rumor is true, AEW might regret not accepting Orton’s demands. While the company is primarily focused on making its own stars, Orton is one of the few performers left in the entire industry who could move the needle for the promotion. He’s a future WWE Hall of Famer who would have undoubtedly brought more eyes to AEW as the company grows.
Orton has praised AEW’s product in the past, so he’s clearly a fan of what the company is doing. As documented by Wrestling Inc, he declared an interest in having a match with Sammy Guevara, while also praising the debut episode of Dynamite for its “big match feel.”
Orton might not be joining AEW any time soon, but two of his former allies could be. As The Inquisitr previously reported, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder of The Revival have repeatedly teased their desire to join the company. With their contracts set to expire next year, it could only be a matter of time before they defect to WWE’s main competition.