The wrestling world has been buzzing for the past few days after a shocking announcement was made by Dragon Lee last week. After winning the AAA World Tag Team Championships with his brother Dralistico by defeating FTR at AAA Lucha Libre: Noche de Campeones, Lee announced that he had signed a contract with WWE and that he would begin working on the NXT brand this month.
Dave Meltzer discussed the surprising move on Wrestling Observer Radio, saying:
The deal was made a couple weeks ago but they were told to keep it quiet. And they wanted to make the announcement after they won the tag team titles. Which is a very interesting thing because he pinned an AEW star. And that was part of the deal. I mean, Tony Khan was aware of it. I’m sure that if this was reversed, that that never would have happened.
Lee wished to work in Japan's wrestling promotion, NJPW, but following his firing by CMLL back in 2019, he had no option but to continue wrestling in Mexico. Both WWE and AEW showed interest in signing Lee, and since a move to the United States meant more money, Lee's decision was pretty easy, a notion Meltzer commented on as well.
Him and Dralistico had a tryout with WWE. And they wanted him. AEW wanted him as well...it’s a bigger money deal than Mexico, but it is not any kind of a big money deal. He’s getting NXT money, he’s not getting main roster money.
...so he could make a little bit more money [in AEW] and probably not wrestle a lot, or he could go to NXT. He is a super talented guy, and he could be a focal point over there.
In NXT is probably, for right now, for him as far as being able to wrestle, being able to get a push and things like that, it is the best place for him in the United States right now, and it’s the place that he chose.
Ultimately, AEW have only themselves to blame for not getting Lee's signature.
WWE’s interest in Dragon Lee came when they found out that AEW put this guy on television with no contract. So it was kind of like, we can swoop in....that was the catalyst of it, was them finding out that AEW had put a guy on television with no deal.
An unbelievable athlete who has collected accolades and held championships across the globe… and he’s just getting started.
Congratulations brother, @dragonlee95
I am very proud of you,
you are going to get
where you want to go
because you have everything and
you deserve it,
TE AMO HERMANO Y SE MUY BIEN QUE LA ROMPERÁS EN GRANDE
DINASTÍA MUÑOZ #1 🇲🇽 https://t.co/DqgT6ckH4Q
— Rush oficial (@rushtoroblanco) December 29, 2022
Regardless of how the deal went down, several people, including his brother Rush and WWE's chief content officer, Triple H, were quick to congratulate him on the move. WWE fans will also be looking forward to watching the Mexican wrestler make his debut in the ring.
Speaking of masked wrestlers in the WWE, the wrestling promotion is setting up what could be Rey Mysterio's retirement match against his son, Dominic, at WrestleMania 39.