KEY POINTS

  • Adam Cole and Daniel Bryan made their AEW debut at All Out
  • Both men have long been rumored to be joining the company following the end of their WWE tenures
  • Ruby Soho, formerly Ruby Riott, also made her debut at the event and won the right to a title shot

Former NXT champion Adam Cole and WWE champion Daniel Bryan made their shocking debut at the conclusion of AEW All Out 2021 Sunday.

The surprises keep coming for wrestling fans as both men have been heavily rumored to be joining the new promotion after their contracts with the WWE expired.

AEW world champion Kenny Omega defeated Christian Cage in the main event of All Out 2021, and The Elite took turns beating up Cage and his associates, the Jurassic Express, after the match.

Omega was giving a promo about how unbeatable he was when the lights suddenly turned off and the words “Adam Cole” came on the two main screens, causing a massive cheer to erupt from the crowd at the Now Arena in Chicago, Illinois.

Later, it seemed as if the show was over when Cole stood with The Elite — until a familiar tune rang throughout the arena. Bryan made his way to the ring and fended off The Elite, standing tall in the ring with Cage and the Jurassic Express.

Cole’s jump to AEW has been teased multiple times over the past couple of weeks, before NXT TakeOver 36 and during one of his Twitch streams.

His WWE contract had expired prior to his TakeOver 36 match with Kyle O’Reilly, but he had signed a short-term deal in order to close out that chapter, and his WWE career, properly.

As for Bryan, his release from the WWE happened around four months ago, and his 90-day no-compete clause had already expired, leading to his AEW debut.

Cole became one of the pillars of NXT following his 2017 debut, and his 403-day reign over the NXT Championship remains the longest singular title reign in the belt’s history.

Bryan’s popularity skyrocketed with the “Yes Movement” — a response to the upper management’s lack of belief that he would be a top draw in the company, which was turned into a storyline that led to his crowning at Wrestlemania XXX. 

After an illustrious run with the WWE, both men are set to collide again in AEW. But the true winners here are the fans who have been longing to see them in an extended program with each other.

Former WWE superstar Ruby Soho (Ruby Riott in WWE) also made her AEW debut earlier in the night with a win in the Casino Battle Royale.

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan Photo: Getty Images | Santiago Felipe