Cole Karter took on Ricky Starks on last night’s Dynamite in a match many fans found baffling. Karter was previously in NXT as Troy “Two Dimes” Donovan, but was fired after failing drug test. He recently made an appearance on AEW Dark: Elevation, but most assumed it was a one-off appearance.

Sources close to AEW have reported that was not the case. Cole Karter is reportedly “under an AEW deal” after his FTW title match with Starks. The deal is likely tiered, which means he could be making more or less than other stars with different rights and benefits.

The news was broken by Sean Sapp behind Fightful’s paywall. Multiple sources have confirmed the report. Cole Karter himself is reported to have told some AEW wrestlers about the deal, as well.

“Fightful Select was told by multiple AEW sources on Thursday morning that Cole Karter was “under an AEW deal,” after his showing against Ricky Starks for the FTW Title on the July 20 AEW Dynamite, with Karter telling some AEW talent of the news. When we poked around, we were told that it was likely a tiered deal.”


As Troy Donovan in NXT, Cole Karter had one of the most interesting storyline write-offs in recent memory. Tony D’Angelo cut promo on a bridge where he said that Donovan was sleeping with the fishes now. That segment was referenced on this week’s Dynamite in a promo by Ricky Starks.

It will be interesting to see how AEW decides to utilize Cole Karter going forward. He made several appearances with the company before joining WWE, so there is some familiarity. There are sure to be some AEW fans who are unhappy with the new deal, believing the roster is already bloated with ex-WWE talent who are underused.

What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments!

Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a news contributor for Ringside News and Thirsty for News. Michael has an M.A. in Communication Technology from Point Park University in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

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