When Bandido made his way to AEW for a main event bout with Chris Jericho for the Ring Of Honor World Championship, it felt like a big deal for professional wrestling’s “Most Wanted Luchador.” If the former Ring of Honor Champion was able to overcome the odds, not to mention “The Ocho,” Chris Jericho, and re-secure his belt, it would all but surely spell a prolonged opportunity in Tony Khan’s company – as someone suggested here – and if not? Well, Bandido has a pretty healthy slate of bookings ranging from GCW to PWG, MLW, CMLL, and Big Lucha on his resume, so it’s not hard to imagine he’ll be able to find work in rings the world over.
Fortunately for Bandido, Jericho – who put him way over in the opening segment – and the entire wrestling world, Bandido did just that. Wrestling like his mask was on fire, or should I say was covered in blood – which, by mid-match, it was – Bandido whipped out delayed vertical suplexes, running bicycle kicks, and his signature move, the 21 Plex, while selling like crazy for every move Jericho pulled out of his expansive bag of tricks. The crowd, presumably familiar with the former leader of MexiBlood from his time wrestling in the 2300 Arena for ROH, absolutely loved the effort, enthusiasm, and in-ring excellence Bandido brought to The Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University, and in the end, TK embraced the 27-year-old Superstar – a hug that saw the Jacksonville Jaguars owner lifted into the air like a little kid.
According to Dave Meltzer, this reaction was genuine, as Khan reportedly offered up a full-time AEW contract to the free agent luchador immediately following the show. Though Meltzer didn’t have a follow-up as to whether or not a deal was agreed to, and according to Twitter user Drain Bamager, WWE reportedly tried to get the masked man’s contact information just before the match, it’s clear Bandido has fully recaptured the “Most Wanted” status that had seemingly gone away when his ROH title run came to an end with a loss to Jonathan Gresham at Supercard of Honor 2022.
Will Bandido sign on the dotted line and make AEW his permanent home as he should have back in 2019 when Khan was in a bidding war with ROH and WWE for his services? Only time will tell, but the only real downside to the offer is that two days later, his long-time Ring of Honor rival, Rush, signed a long-term contract of his own to stick around in AEW on a full-time basis, which would inevitably result in the rekindling of the marquee feud of the final era of pre-TK ROH. Bad news for Bandido, but good news for fans of professional wrestling as a whole, as those matches are the thing of legend.
After Dynamite, Tony Khan came out to raise Bandido's arm and they HUGGED.
He's getting that contract. LFG. pic.twitter.com/ARYA0SQSI7
— Drainmaker 🌧️ 💵 (@DrainBamager) September 29, 2022
AEW could have a PPV caliber feud between Bandido and Rush.
Kyle O’Reilly- Adam Cole, Kevin Owens-Sami Zayn, Christian Cage-Matt Hardy; three feuds that have crossed promotions, crossed decades, and crossed heel-face alignments and yet, have remained consistently compelling because of their history, their abilities, and their in-ring chemistry.
Bandido-Rush, if given a chance to go in AEW, undoubtedly has a chance to fall into that same cross-promotional category.
Initially meeting in the ring in 2019 at ROH’s 17th Anniversary show, Bandido and Rush have wrestled on three more occasions, first at ROH Best in the World 2021, where the former took the latter’s ROH World Championship, then at Big Lucha for a three-way match in 2021, and finally at Glory By Honor 2021, where La Faccion Ingobernable (Rush and Dragon Lee) beat MexiSquad (Bandido and Rey Horus) on Pay-Per-View. While that may not seem like a feud for the ages, sandwiched between their first encounter and Bandido’s AEW debut was a worldwide pandemic, a Rush knee injury that required surgery, and Ring of Honor’s sale from Sinclair Broadcasting to Khan.
If given a chance to go to war over, say, the All-Atlantic Championship as part of a right proper feud, think the back-and-forth battles between Sammy Guevara and Cody Rhodes, or the multiple Pay-Per-View spanning battles between House of Black and Death Triangle, the duo can absolutely get over on the back of a feud with a pre-built foundation.
Does AEW necessarily need another wrestler? No; they have well over 100 male performers under some sort of contract and already have more main eventers than they have spots, thanks to the return of MJF. And yet, after watching Bandido dazzle the crowd in an incredible effort that may just go down as one of the best Dynamite matches of all time, signing the charismatic babyface to a full-time contract can only breed good things within the AEW ring, and from a merchandising standpoint, as those masks will sell.
This was incredible!! https://t.co/wAeU61r6hQ
— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) September 29, 2022