Frankie Kazarian Speaks Out On Shock AEW Exit: "What I Like About Wrestling Wasn't Happening In AEW"

Company original left behind a two-year AEW deal to sign with Impact Wrestling.

Frankie Kazarian

Frankie Kazarian has spoken candidly about his 2022 All Elite Wrestling departure.

Kazarian surprisingly jumped to Impact Wrestling on a permanent basis in January 2023, having walked away from his existing AEW contract despite being with the group from when it first formed. Speaking on The Kurt Angle Show, he said;

"I still had two years left on my contract when I left. I made the decision to leave...I probably could have been there much longer. I re-signed at the end of 2021 and hindsight being what it is, I probably shouldn't have but again, AEW, I was there since before day one. I was there when this was a germ of an idea. I was there discussing this company when they didn't even have initials attached to it. In these rooms with Cody and the Bucks and Page and Sky and CD. So again, I was committed, I want to try to ride this thing out. It just became apparent to me that what I like and what I appreciate about pro wrestling and the way I like it presented was not happening at AEW and that's not an indictment at them. It's just what they perceive as good television wrestling and what I do are different things. And just the business model, everything. Again, it was one of those things, I feel that I have so much more to offer than what I was being utilized for at AEW. So I bet on myself and I made the decision to walk away and I'm very thankful I did. It's by far the best decision I could have made."

The former SCU man's Impact signing was confirmed at their Hard To Kill pay-per-view in January, having worked for the organisation (when it was Total Nonstop Action) between 2003-2005 and 2006-2014. His last major storyline in AEW was during the company's return to touring in 2021 when he was cast as the popular "Elite Hunter", targeting Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks et al alongside babyfaces Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston. This culminated with a victory alongside Christian Cage against Brandon Cutler and Kenny Omega in a comedy tag match on Rampage, and a loss to Doc Gallows on Dynamite.


Kazarian's last match for the AEW came in December 2022, when he was defeated by Konosuke Takeshita on an edition of AEW Dark: Elevation. His final victory for the company came in October when he defeated Zack Clayton on Dark. He made his return to Impact Wrestling at the very top of the card weeks after the Clayton contest, pushing then-Impact World Champion Josh Alexander to the limit in a 32-minute headliner at the company's Over Drive 2022 event.


Michael is a writer, editor, podcaster and presenter for WhatCulture Wrestling, and has been with the organisation over 7 years. He primarily produces written, audio and video content on WWE and AEW, but also provides knowledge and insights on all aspects of the wrestling industry thanks to a passion for it dating back almost 35 years. As one third of "The Dadley Boyz" Michael has contributed to the huge rise in popularity of the WhatCulture Wrestling Podcast and its accompanying YouTube channel, earning it top spot in the UK's wrestling podcast charts with well over 60,000,000 total downloads. He has been featured as a wrestling analyst for the Tampa Bay Times, GRAPPL and Sports Guys Talking Wrestling, and has covered milestone events in New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, London and Cardiff. Michael's background in media stretches beyond wrestling coverage, with a degree in Journalism from the University Of Sunderland (2:1) and a series of published articles in sports, music and culture magazines The Crack, A Love Supreme and Pilot. When not offering his voice up for daily wrestling podcasts, he can be found losing it singing far too loud watching his favourite bands play live. Follow him on X/Twitter - @MichaelHamflett