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Released WWE talent returns to wrestling at AEW Dark taping

Cool news, and a minor spoiler for a future YouTube show.

Not long after WWE released him in August’s surprising, pre-NXT rebranding cuts, Jake Atlas (real name Kenny Marquez) announced that he was “stepping away from wrestling completely” to focus on his mental health and “explore completely different industries to find my passion again.”

That exploration led the 27 year old Southern Californian back to pro wrestling. At AEW’s Dark tapings in Jacksonville, Florida last night (Dec. 28), Atlas made his debut for Tony Khan’s company. He defeated Serpentico, then was greeted by AEW’s head honcho for a handshake. As Wrestling Observer points out, that is “typically a symbolic gesture indicating a talent has signed with the company.”

We’ll know for sure if we see a “Jake Atlas is All Elite” tweet whenever his debut match airs.

Active in the West Coast independent scene from 2016-2018, Atlas was introduced to WWE audiences he appeared on the Stepanie McMahon episode CBS’ Undercover Boss in 2018. He told the “disguised” Chief Brand Officer he wanted to be the first openly-gay WWE Champion. A Brand Ambassador contract followed, and he was signed as a talent in late 2019/early 2020. He was featured in midcard angles on NXT and 205 Live prior to his release.

Excited to see Jake Atlas in AEW?