Jade Cargill was confirmed as WWE's latest signing on 26 September, becoming the latest wrestler to jump ship to the market leaders from AEW following several weeks of speculation.
Cargill wrestled her final AEW match opposite Kris Statlander on the 15 September episode of Rampage. Before that show aired, Fightful Select reported a general belief that Jade was finishing up with AEW and signing with WWE.
WWE gave the former AEW TBS Champion the megastar treating last week, lining her up with several high-profile interviews, as well as circulating photographs of her training at the Performance Center.
AEW boss Tony Khan unpacked the circumstances of Cargill's departure during last night's post-WrestleDream media scrum. When he asked about Jade, he said he increased his offer when Cargill asked for a bigger number, though she opted against re-signing. Khan was incredibly complimentary of Jade in his appraisal, saying that she was always welcome to return.
Said Khan (h/t Ibou, WrestlePurists):
"I knew Jade's contract had been ticking down and we were talking about a new contract, and I was very interested in Jade coming back. We were having a negotiation and I think it was... I made a very big offer. I thought it was a very fair offer. I think she was considering it, then she asked for a bigger offer and then I went up again and I kind of thought that was going to do it. It didn't, which I was surprised because I came up to a number that was higher than her original ask. So I don't know what I would have had to do at that point. I was a little surprised... I really hoped Jade would stick around."
Continuing, Khan said that when it became clear he couldn't retain Cargill, he wanted to give her a strong AEW departure:
"... I said 'Okay, well if you aren't going to stay, I want to give you the best possible exit.' I have only good things to say about Jade. I really enjoyed working with her, she was a great part of AEW, she is always welcome here. I tried to give her the best possible send-off I could. The classiest send-off I've ever seen in wrestling was, at the time... when Ric Flair left the WWF. He wrestled Mr. Perfect, it was a natural person for him to wrestle, and that was it. He was gone. They didn't do anything to embarrass him or mess him up. They let him leave and he was still Ric Flair. He wrestled a match against the person he should have wrestled, finished up, and left with not only his dignity but probably in a better position than when he came in. That's what I tried to do. I wanted to give [Jade] the best possible send-off."
Cargill had been with AEW since November 2020, when she debuted opposite Cody Rhodes, setting up an eventual tag team match pitting her and NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal against 'The American Nightmare' and Red Velvet.
Tony Khan was asked about Jade Cargill and explained that when her deal was coming up, he met her request, and increased his offer when she asked for a bigger number, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to keep her. Once it became clear that Jade was likely leaving, Tony shifted his… pic.twitter.com/VAkUkeNyFL— Ibou, of WrestlePurists (@BackupHangman) October 2, 2023
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