Taya Valkyrie Is All Elite, Debuts On AEW Dynamite

It seemed clear that AEW was building to some kind of surprise debut with TBS Champion Jade Cargill issuing an open challenge for a Canadian wrestler to challenge her at AEW's debut in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Wednesday. The question was just who would be used in that spot. It seemed like the two most popular fan picks were Taya Valkyrie (the former Frankie Monet in "WWE NXT") and veteran independent standout Nicole Matthews. With Matthews having made a surprise return to the American independent scene on Saturday night with an appearance for DEFY thanks to a brand new work visa, she made a certain kind of sense as to be a favorite. But so did Valkyrie, since it's been repeatedly stressed in recent weeks that she's a free agent. And both picks ended up being right. Sort of.


Matthews was the opponent, only to be quickly squashed by Cargill. The champion then cut a promo, menacing interviewer Renee Paquette in the process, asking if Matthews was all that Canada had for her. Cue Valkyrie's entrance, which was followed by her laying out Leila Grey. Tony Khan later tweeted that Valkyrie has signed an AEW contract. It was later announced during the broadcast that she will make her in-ring debut on Friday night's episode of "Rampage."

Fightful Select, meanwhile, reported that Valkyrie had told the other companies she had been working for (presumably AAA, Impact Wrestling, and Major League Wrestling – promotions she holds titles) of her plans to sign with AEW "as far back as February." She's still set to work MLW's April TV tapings in New York City and Philadelphia.