Dave Meltzer has slammed the “bad optics” which come from AEW’s recent signing of a former NXT Superstar.
Troy ‘Two Dimes’ Donovan was released by WWE on 12th June 2022. Despite the initial reports stating that it was due to a “policy issue”, it was reported over the next few days that he had actually failed a drugs test.
Donovan didn’t have to wait long for a return to action, as he was quickly snapped up by AEW. After first appearing on Dark: Elevation using the name Cole Karter, he made his Dynamite debut on 20th July, answering the FTW Championship open challenge from Ricky Starks.
During a new edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer has questioned the decision by AEW management to bring in someone who recently failed a drugs test, especially when they were not a top-tier star in NXT.
Here’s the thing. Literally no one knows this guy. There was a line about throwing him with the fishes, and if you watch NXT religiously which most AEW viewers don’t, you’d know what it was, and it’s kinda cute and all that. I for the life of me cannot figure this one out. I mean, number one, he just failed a drug test in the other company.
The idea of bringing in guys from NXT, look, if it’s someone who’s really, really good, then sure of course. But they’ve brought in so many people, and there’s so many complaints that I get from people going ‘Oh it’s all of the people that I didn’t want to watch in NXT and now they’re here.’
In some cases, I mean, you don’t think they should have signed Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly? That’s just crazy sh*t.
This guy wasn’t over in NXT, no one knows who he is, he just failed a drug test. I think it’s a bad policy to bring in a guy who just failed a drug test.
Dave Meltzer continued by commenting that Roderick Strong would be a star from the former black and gold brand that would be able to connect to AEW’s audience, whereas the signing of Karter just creates “bad optics”.
I don’t think that AEW fans want NXT guys, unless it’s someone really good. Roderick Strong, I think a lot of people wouldn’t like Roderick Strong coming in, but he’s so damn good, but you probably wanna make room for him.
With Cole Karter, I do think the guy has potential and everything, but so soon after failing a drug test and being fired, it’s just bad optics to me.
Ricky Starks successfully defended the TNT Championship against Cole Karter, only to straight away issue a second open challenge. This was answered by Danhausen, and whilst Starks backed out of the contest at the time, it will take place on the 27th July edition of Dynamite.
With thanks to Inside The Ropes for the transcription.