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AEW’s ‘insane money’ deal reportedly kept WWE from making an offer to RUSH

With a developmental system stocked full of college athletes and an acquisition & spin-off being finalized, WWE has been taking a more measured approach to signing free agents this year. But one name they were said to be interested in was RUSH.

The former Ring of Honor World champion’s initial one year deal with AEW was close to expiring, and his brother Dragon Lee is already wrestling in NXT. RUSH is a big name in lucha libre, and we’ve seen signs WWE is invested in growing their presence in Latino & Latin American markets. Signing El Toro Blanco made sense.

But RUSH announced earlier this week that he’d re-upped with Tony Khan for what’s said to be multiple years this time. One of the second generation’s La Faccion Ingobernable associates explained the decision in personal terms:

But an item in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter claims that none of the other offers Jose The Assistant tweeted about were from WWE. That’s because they didn’t want to compete with how much Khan cared...

Regarding the WWE situation with [RUSH], the explanation from multiple people there is that they were interested in him for NXT and understood that they’d have to make him an offer much bigger than just about anyone in NXT (obviously not Gable Steveson but bigger than anyone else) because he’d get a big offer from AEW. However, WWE never made an official offer because when they found out what AEW offered, they knew there was no way he was going to WWE. Someone in WWE called the offer “insane money.”

NXT deals are famously (or infamously) not for big money. Lee’s decision to join the brand was said to be more based on things like television time and push than it was dollars. So it’s not clear the money would have to be all that “insane” to price someone out of WWE’s developmental budget.

The quote also comes from a WWE source, who’d have reason to insinuate TK is making imprudent financial decisions. But just because they’re using hyperbolic language doesn’t mean AEW didn’t go higher than they needed to to land RUSH.

Time will tell which side of “war” benefits the most from AEW’s signings of RUSH and other recent talent WWE allegedly had interest in like Jay White.

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