News broke last month that WWE has a sincere interest in signing Maxwell Jacob Friedman once his AEW contract expires in 24. On Wednesday a new report dropped via @WrestleVotes that Vince McMahon's promotion also has an interest in Friedman's hired muscle, Wardlow. The big man has one of the biggest matches of his career lined up for tonight's AEW Dynamite as he'll take on CM Punk and many fans have started comparing him to Dave Bautista (Batista in WWE) due to his size (six-foot-three, 270 pounds), powerbomb-based offense and simmering storyline over his growing frustration working for Friedman.
However, Wardlow spoke with PWInsider this week and teased the idea of retiring as a member of the AEW roster — "In 10 or 20 years, I am going to be so excited and proud to look back and say that I was one of the AEW originals and that means so much to me because my career started, obviously I did some indies, but the world didn't know me. As far as the world knows my career started with AEW and it's going to end with AEW, and I look forward to accomplishing and growing as much as humanly possible and reach the stars throughout the next 10 years. AEW made my lifelong wildest dreams come true. Tony Khan gave me that, Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, they gave me that. The way people are treated there, the schedule, I am so beyond blessed and I don't think there's any convincing me that the grass is greener on any other side. Very, very happy with AEW and the way I'm treated and just how the whole company is ran head-to-toe."
With his biggest match to date happening later tonight, I can confirm, without hesitation, that WWE will be extremely interested in luring Wardlow away from AEW when his contract is due. There are several people within World Wrestling Entertainment that LOVE his potential.— WrestleVotes (@WrestleVotes) January 12, 2022
While Friedman has started including WWE's interest into his onscreen persona, AEW president Tony Khan has been talking about it in interviews.
"I think that's great," he told CBS Sports last year. "I encourage that. I think they should keep talking about him because he's a wrestler that's a big part of AEW and is signed here for a few more years. So I think please keep giving us that buzz because he's been getting great ratings for his segments and those have also been featuring CM Punk pretty regularly as they continue to interact. They've had a war of words and now there'll be on opposite sides of this huge trios match where you got Sting [and] Darby Allin teaming with CM Punk against MJF and FTR. I think that's great. You know, [WWE] had some wrestlers I really wanted to sign there and I signed him, Bryan Danielson and Adam [Cole] and Ruby Soho."