It was just a little over a month ago that Stokely Hathaway was known as Malcolm Bivens, managing the Diamond Mine on “WWE NXT 2.0.” One release and 30 days later though, and Big Stoke now finds himself as Jade Cargill’s publicist in AEW, a move he’s apparently been planning for, given the potential amount of cash he could’ve earned going the opposite direction.

In today’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer reported that, before his WWE release, Hathaway was offered a deal by WWE that not only would’ve extended his contract and moved him to the main roster, but would’ve bumped his pay up to $250,000 a year.

This corroborates reports the came out shortly after Hathaway’s release, which stated Hathaway had been offered a contract extension (after signing a short-term extension in 2021) this past February. It was also reported Hathaway had been pitched for a spot on “WWE Monday Night Raw” managing star Omos, who Hathaway had managed early in both men’s WWE careers while they working the “WWE NXT” house show circuit.

Instead, Hathaway turned down both the extension and the potential callup to the main roster, leading to WWE choosing to release Hathaway from his contract early — MVP would later be given Hathaway’s spot managing Omos. Given his signing with AEW almost immediately after his 30-day noncompete clause ended, Meltzer speculates Hathaway turned down WWE’s extension knowing an AEW offer would be waiting for him once he was let go.

Having already appeared at AEW Double or Nothing and “AEW Dynamite”, it’s only fitting Hathaway would complete his first week in AEW by appearing on tonight’s episode of “AEW Rampage.” Though he’s not advertised, it’s expected he will make appearance, alongside Cargill and the rest of the Baddies section, during Kiera Hogan’s match against Athena, who will be making her AEW in-ring debut.

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