Shocking the system isn’t exclusive to WWE, apparently.
After running wild on the NXT roster for years as the “Undisputed Era,” even appearing as a team as recently as February of 2021, the dominant trio of Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish found itself reunited in an AEW ring by the end of 2021.
Rumors of an “Undisputed Era” comeback swirled throughout the second half of 2021, specifically starting when Fish was released from his WWE contract in August and Cole made a monumental jump from NXT to AEW in early September.
As WWE began to transition its NXT brand back into more of a developmental territory, O’Reilly decided against re-signing with the brand in December, and rumors of an Undisputed Era reunion in an AEW ring seemed like they would soon become a reality.
Sure enough, wrestling fans’ wishes came true on the December 22 episode of AEW Dynamite, when O’Reilly sided with Cole and Fish in his official AEW debut.
Cole’s rise in AEW has been a slower burn than many wrestling fans wanted to see when he joined the company in September, and some felt him re-joining The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega in “The Elite” thwarted his red-hot momentum.
But, in a company focused on those “slow burns” and long-term storytelling, an Undisputed Era may be the best idea imaginable for Cole, O’Reilly, and Fish.
The trio can build up a rapport with AEW’s audience to start 2022, likely bringing over diehard NXT fans who followed the group’s previous run in the process.
That “slow burn” would give the injured Omega some time to return to AEW after he fully recovers from his injuries, paving the way for an awkward decision for Cole as he chooses between staying with Omega and the Young Bucks or going off on his own with his newly-reunited teammates.
Assuming the former NXT champion rolls with the latter approach, fans would be treated to a dream showdown between “The Elite” and AEW’s version of the “Undisputed Era.”
Between a potential six-man match, a battle between Cole and Omega, and a clash between reDRagon (O’Reilly and Fish) and The Young Bucks, the opportunities seem endless.
From there, Cole, O’Reilly, and Fish would be able to move onto greener pastures in the middle and second half of 2022, giving more credibility for an AEW World Championship match for Cole and an AEW Tag Team Championship shot for his two cohorts.
After years of having “The Elite” in focus on AEW television, sending a new (but still established) stable into the spotlight atop the food chain would provide loads of fresh opportunities for the company.
By that point, big names like CM Punk, Darby Allin, and potentially a returning Jon Moxley would make sense as world title challengers for Cole, while a “heel” like MJF could be a worthy contender if AEW President Tony Khan believes that his version of the “Undisputed Era” should operate as a “face” faction.
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No matter which way the company decides to spin it, one thing is guaranteed: Reuniting Cole, O’Reilly, and Fish in 2021 was a pivotal moment for AEW’s long-term future, and a move that will have loads of benefits in 2022 and the years ahead.