2022 was supposed to be the year of “The Great Elite Civil War” in AEW. In an immaculate twist of fate that seemed borderline impossible until it happened, Nick Khan somehow allowed Bobby Fish, Adam Cole, and Kyle O’Reilly to all hit the open market without having their contracts extended, and Tony Khan quickly capitalized on that poor planning in order to bring three-fourths of The Undisputed Era to AEW, with Rodderick Strong the only member left to hold down the fort in NXT despite his multiple requests to be released.
And yet, despite the incredible hype and the near-weekly video packages hinting at a break between the OG Elite and the Undisputed segment of the faction with Cole taking over the leadership role sans Kenny Omega – who was still recovering from injury – the feud never materialized, as it just seemed like all five performers couldn’t stay healthy at the same time.
The first shoe to drop was Cole, who battled through a “series of injuries” during the Owen Hart Tournament before taking a month off following his big win over Samoa Joe. Though Cole would return at Forbidden Door, working a four-way match with his biggest AEW rival, “Hangman” Adam Page, “Switchblade” Jay White, and Kazuchika Okada, he suffered a brutal shoulder injury/concussion that has kept him out of the ring ever since and still not medically cleared as of October 31st.
Then came O’Reilly, who, after winning the number two contendership Casino Battle Royal on an episode of Dynamite, lost a great match to Jon Moxley to become the top contender for the AEW Interim World Championship and was then ruled out with a neck injury that required surgery.
While Bobby Fish has stayed healthy, he was ultimately allowed to hit the open market following a series of weird interactions that he’s discussed ad nauseam at this point, leaving the future of the faction in AEW very much up in the air… at least until now. That’s right, after months of silence, O’Reilly actually commented on his future in the ring via his Instagram and peeled back the curtain ever so slightly on his AEW future.
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Kyle O’Reilly wants to be a new man in AEW in 2023.
Addressing his fans in a post sponsored by Eversense, O’Reilly explained how the past few months haven’t gone as planned, all the while detailing a previously undisclosed post-surgical issue.
“New year, new me. I hate how cheesy and cliche that sounds but in the case of Kyle O’Reilly and 2023 it rings very true,” O’Reilly wrote. “Dealing with a post-surgical issue (that I will disclose at a later date) has caused me a lot of frustration and I’ve spent the last few months of ‘22 with anger and confusion. In order for me to return to the ring I simply cannot come back as good as I was. I have to become better in every aspect of my athletic wellness. I have to train better, eat smarter and recover with intention.”
“Many of you are aware of my battle with type-1 diabetes and that also puts me at a disadvantage in terms of healing and recovery. Thankfully working with The Diabetic Fighter has inspired me to regain control of my life and to finally hop off the blood sugar roller coaster. I cannot recommend this man’s services enough, in 6 days alone I’m spending more time in my target range than I have in months.”
“And of course I couldn’t pull it off without my trusty Eversense CGM. It’s astonishing how consistently accurate this device is and has been my tag-team partner for almost 5 years. If the transmitter falls off during physical therapy or when I walk into a door frame I can just stick it back on.”
“I haven’t spoken much about my injury and the mental struggles I’ve faced but I’m realizing how therapeutic it is to just write this down. Our words have so much power even if you’re just thinking them or writing them down. So a “new me” is a necessity to ensure that I will once again have the honor and privilege of walking down that ramp and stepping through those ropes. Expect more from me as the months go on and witness a glimpse into how I rebuild and retrain myself for a return that I can’t wait for you all to see.”
Will O’Reilly and/or Cole return to an AEW ring any time soon? Will the duo re-recruit Fish into their ranks to re-form the Undisputed Era in AEW – though they still need to settle on a better name than the “Undisputed Elite” – or will they instead work together as a duo, riding the lightning once more under the nickname they used in Ring of Honor a decade ago, Future Shock? Only time will tell, but at least things are trending in the right direction.