Roderick Strong made his surprising debut for AEW this week, and nobody saw that coming. Only a select few people in NXT even knew he wasn’t with the company anymore. It turns out that there was a reason for this.

PW Insider noted a few things about Roderick Strong’s AEW debut. A lot of things happened in a row to pull it off, and some of the credit doesn’t even go to AEW.

It turns out that WWE’s own policy of not announcing NXT departures might have helped Tony Khan’s company. Nobody knew that Roderick Strong’s deal was up in November, so when he showed up in AEW in April 2023, nobody saw that coming at all. In fact, Strong’s debut for AEW could have went down in December the moment his 30-day non-complete clause was over, because that’s how contracts work.

For those who are asking how AEW pulled off the surprise debut of former NXT star Roderick Strong earlier this week, this is the basic timeline has been able to put together:


Strong’s WWE deal  actually expired in November of last year. Since WWE does not announce NXT departures and it wasn’t a release but a contract ending, it flew under the radar.

The debut was timed for after Adam Cole’s return and locally in Florida (where he lives) to prevent Strong from being spotted traveling.

It was also noted that Roderick Strong’s NXT departure was “so under the radar, he was listed on well after he debuted for AEW.” Roddy Strong made his AEW debut at his own pace, after he took several months off to heal after being “banged up” for the last run of his NXT career.

The report went on to say that Roderick Strong and AEW “had been quietly talking for some time about him coming in and came to a deal.” They also kept him hidden backstage prior to his AEW debut on Dynamite.

What’s your take on Roderick Strong’s AEW Debut? Will he move the needle for the company? Sound off in the comments!

Tags: WWE Featured
Felix Upton

Felix Upton is a seasoned writer with over 30 years of experience. He began his career writing advertisements for local newspapers in New York before transitioning to publishing news for Ringside News. His expertise includes writing, editing, research, photo editing, and video editing. In his free time, he enjoys bungee jumping and learning extinct languages.

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