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AEW signs 16 year old phenom Nick Wayne

Darby Allin gave the third-generation wrestler his contract at this weekend’s Defy show. Then Wayne was immediately met by a former WWE star.

Joey Defy’s Twitter

Nick Wayne was recently denied an opportunity for a big breakout moment. But the talented teen didn’t have to wait long.

The 16 year old was supposed to appear on Game Changer Wrestling’s big Hammerstein Ballroom show in Manhattan last month, but some confusion about whether he legally could work in New York at his age led to him being pulled off The WRLD on GCW. Wayne has no such issues in his home state of Washington; he’s been wrestling on the Pacific Northwest independent scene since he was 12.

It was in Seattle on Saturday night (Feb. 12) that Wayne challenged Christopher Daniels for the interim Defy World title at the promotion’s Fifth Anniversary show. The veteran retained, but Nick’s moment came after the match. Darby Allin appeared, and offered him a contact to join AEW. Wayne accepted...

...then was met by Swerve. The former WWE NXT North American champ reminded both Allin and the youngster that Defy is his house.

That match looks set for later this month. As for Wayne’s AEW future, Wrestling Observer Radio’s Bryan Alvarez reports the contract is essentially an apprenticeship. Nick will have to finish high school, then can be fully All Elite when he turns 18.

As to how we got here, Nick Wayne is a third generation wrestler. The grandson of “Moondog” Ed Moretti, and son of the late Buddy Wayne, both of whom were veterans of the territories and independent scenes that occasionally worked on the undercard for WCW and WWF/E. Nick not only grew up in the business, he trained at his father’s wrestling school. After Buddy died of a heart attack in 2017, his boy made his professional debut a few months later.

Listed at 6’ 1” and 162 pounds, Nick’s obviously still developing in more ways that one. But in action against wrestlers like Petey Williams, Alex Shelley, Joey Janela, Blake Christian, and Lee Moriarty, he’s proven to be a high flier with a ton of potential.

Potential Tony Khan & team clearly hope he realizes in an AEW ring.

Offer your congrats to young master Wayne (h/t A. Pennyworth), and/or give us your thoughts on this move from AEW, in the comments below.