In recent weeks, former WWE Superstar John Hennigan (who went by John Morrison while in WWE, and Johnny Mundo in Lucha Underground) has signed with GFW/ Impact Wrestling, as was revealed by Jeremy Borash, Joseph Park and Grado at a recent conference call with GFW.
Hennigan/Morrison signed with El Rey network's new promotion Lucha Underground in 2014, following his departure from the WWE in 2011. In 2015, Mundo made his debut for Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, representing Lucha Underground as a member of "Team TNA/Lucha Underground" alongside then-TNA wrestler Matt Hardy, losing in the finals to the "Dream Team" of Alberto El Patrón and Rey Mysterio Jr.
Flash forward to the present, where relations between all of the above promotions and talents have become much more complicated. Matt Hardy and his brother Jeff returned to the WWE earlier this year, and have been involved in an ongoing feud with TNA/Impact, which has since rebranded as Global Force Wrestling under Jeff Jarret and Ed Nordholm's Anthem Sports & Entertainment.
Meanwhile, former WWE champion Alberto El Patrón (known as Alberto Del Rio during his time in WWE) left the WWE last year on bad terms, first signing with Lucha Underground, then later with GFW, going on to unify the GFW and Impact championship belts and becoming the company's World Heavyweight Champion at its Slammiversary PPV earlier this month. He's since been suspended indefinitely by GFW over a recent domestic violence incident with his fiancé, former WWE star Paige, but is still being featured on pre-taped Impact televised product.
It's become increasingly difficult to separate Lucha Underground and AAA, as AAA owns a percentage of Lucha Underground. However, AAA also has a partnership deal with Anthem that may allow AAA & Lucha Underground wrestlers to appear on Impact, as long as they’re not portraying their El Rey/Lucha Underground characters.
This was a frustration for former Lucha Underground stars like Ricochet, who wrestled for the company as Prince Puma, and is currently stuck in career holding pattern as a free agent, despite heavy interest in going to WWE or Ring of Honor, while occasionally still appearing in NJPW.
Former WCW/WWE legend Rey Mysterio Jr.'s contract recently expired with Lucha Underground, and it's been reported he is currently in negotiations to join GFW/Impact, although nothing official has been announced.
Mysterio's talks with GFW are being handled by his long time friend and current GFW manager Konnan, who also formerly appeared in WCW and Lucha Underground. But supposedly WWE has had bad experiences with Konnan in the past, preventing any possible return to WWE in the near future.
Recently there's been an exodus of talent leaving both GFW/Impact and Lucha Underground.
Two other departing Lucha/AAA stars Taya and Drago, have reportedly signed with GFW, but along with Taya's real-life fiancé John Morrison, may remain bound to their former promotion in some limited capacity due to contractual issues, as well as Morrison still being a current AAA champion.
GFW/Impact has also seen a few names go, with stars Magnus, Madison Rayne, Brandi Rhodes, and Matt Morgan supposedly all having left the company in recent weeks, and no longer listed under the company's roster.
This mass-exit may be the result of recent contract changes for GFW which state that the company will take 10% of all money earned from their wrestlers’ independent bookings, and all money earned from GFW-produced merchandise. Many have called these contract stipulations excessive and manipulative, citing them as further reason the acquisition of GFW by Anthem Sports has not been a positive change.
Considering how many wrestlers have passed in and out of both promotion's doors as of late, it looks like talent may continue leaving both GFW and LU/AAA in droves— and mostly leaving one for the other!0comments
But considering both companies have existing partnership deals with Anthem, departing talent may be wise to seek better opportunities elsewhere like Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, or other independent promotions, provided their contract allows them such freedom.
With rumors of WWE soon making cuts to its already bloated roster and sending stagnant talent down to its NXT developmental brand, it's unlikely there's much room for those leaving the competition to join "the fed." But former WWE stars like Morrison and Mysterio may be the exception, as WWE loves a good comeback story, as this year has proved more than ever.