Elite made his AEW debut this week (Picture: AEW)
The former WWE superstar – who was released from Vince McMahon’s company in November 2021 three years after making a highly anticipated return – appeared under the moniker Johnny Elite to face Samoa Joe.
He came out to an amazing ovation in the opening match of the night, even if plenty of fans were expecting someone like Johnny Gargano or Cesaro in the spot.
Elite – whose real name is John Hennigan – was given a chance to shine in this quarter final match up, and had the crowd biting every time he came close to beating the Samoan Submission Machine later in the bout.
In the end, the former Intercontinental Champion fell after Joe got the knees up on a Starship Pain attempt and deliver the Muscle Buster for the win.
The current Ring of Honor (ROH) Television Champ keeps on rolling and advances to the semi-finals, but he was attacked after the bell by Jay Lethal, Sonya Dutt and Satnam Singh before Best Friends made the save.
In a move that will disappoint some fans, it looks like Elite could have been making a one-off appearance on Wednesday night rather than the start of anything long-term.
Following his debut, there was no hint he has signed with the company, and Tony Khan’s usual graphic marking a new member of the roster never appeared, although there’s a chance that could come later after her impressed fans.
Elsewhere on the show, Maki Itoh made her return as the Joker in the women’s tournament, although she too fell in her quarter final match when Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. hit the Lockjaw to set up a bout with Toni Storm in the next round.
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Elite was released by WWE in November 2021 on the same day as his wife Taya Valkyrie, who had been appearing in NXT as Franky Monet.
She was vocal about the releases given they were both let go, and tweeted ‘Yooooo F**KKKKK them’, before branding the cuts as ‘wrong’ and saying fans shouldn’t support the company as she claims they have ‘ZERO respect for their talent’.
‘We always have each other, and that’s all that matters. I love you
@TheRealMorrison,’ she later wrote. ‘We will be just fine.’
AEW Dynamite airs Wednesday nights at 1am on Fite TV.
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