It was announced via Twitter by AEW CEO & Founder, Tony Khan, that former WWE NXT talent Jake Atlas has signed with All Elite Wrestling.
“Congratulations on winning your tryout match last night, Jake Atlas! What a great @AEW debut, and now @kennymarquez, I’ll see you Tomorrow night in Newark at the debut of #AEWDynamite on @TBSNetwork! Safe travels, and… Welcome to the team! #JakeAtlas is All Elite!” Tony Khan writes.
Atlas’ first match with the promotion was at the AEW Dark tapings on Tuesday, December 28. The episode he was featured in aired on YouTube this week, with Atlas picking up the victory over Serpentico. After the match concluded, Tony Khan came to the stage and shook Atlas’ hand, foreshadowing the announcement made earlier today.
Atlas has since responded to the news with the following, “If only everyone knew every detail leading up to this. This means everything to me. Cliché but I REALLY have a lot to prove now. This year, whether you love me or hate me, you’re going to know me. It is what it is. Superstar is back. Thank you @TonyKhan #AEW”
Atlas was signed by WWE in 2019 after appearing with WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon on a 2018 episode of Undercover Boss on CBS. He had worked the indies before that. After signing with WWE, Atlas worked NXT and WWE 205 Live until being released on August 6 of this year, along with other budget cuts.
In an interview with Instinct Culture by Denise Salcedo , Atlas opened up and shared the story about what led to his departure from WWE, revealing a request he personally made to leave.
“I wanted to ask for my release. I didn’t want to, I want to stay, but my mental health comes first, and I am suffering. I was told that I would get the meeting with Triple H and a couple of weeks passed. I took a trip to LA in between when I had the final conversation about what was going on with me. I took a trip to LA to unwind, and I wanted to go back for the summer, then I came back and it was the week after that I got let go. I don’t have the answer as to if I was already on the chopping block, which is why I was hesitant to even say that I asked for my release because then people would be like ‘you’re ungrateful.’
“I understand the narratives that people will want to say by me saying that I wanted to quit,” Jake Atlas continued. “You have to understand that my mental health was really bad, not at that given moment. I am strong now but the entire time it was not good. So I felt like I needed to leave for myself, like, I needed to put myself first. So I just want people to understand and not think that I was ungrateful for having a job because they’ve been releasing left and right. I take my mental health and my sanity and being alive before I take having a job.”
Following his WWE release, Atlas defeated Effy at GCW’s Effy’s Big Gay Brunch Chicago event on September 5, and then took a loss to Taylor Rust at ROH’s Death Before Dishonor XVIII event on September 12. He announced later that month that he was stepping away from pro wrestling to focus on his mental health. The AEW debut was his first match since stepping away.