On October 19, AEW officially announced the signing of Daniel Garcia.
Garcia made his AEW debut on the September 15, 2020 episode of AEW Dark, teaming with Kevin Blackwood in a loss to The Butcher And The Blade (The Blade & The Butcher). Garcia would become a regular in August 2021 when he began appearing on AEW Dynamite and AEW Rampage, including facing Darby Allin, Jon Moxley, and CM Punk in high-profile bouts.
Speaking to Jon Alba on One-On-One, Garcia explained why he waited so long to sign with AEW.
"You always gotta bet on yourself. You always have to bet on yourself," he said. "I never wanted to be the guy to sign somewhere just to say I got a big contract. I don’t want to go somewhere and be a body, and I don’t want to go somewhere that doesn’t have a plan for me. Obviously, I had opportunities a bunch of places, and the timing just didn’t feel right. I can’t explain it. I don’t know why. I feel like my mom has given me very good intuition in life, and the timing just didn’t feel right for a lot of those places. She helped me grow up and helped me to take my time and not rush into things and not to rush the process. The past year or so, a bunch of opportunities arose, but I knew that I didn't want to go anywhere just to say I got a contract, I wanted to go somewhere and instantly be a top player and I want to be a major play in whatever company I decided to go to."
Garcia continued by saying, "In a non-selfish way, I knew I didn't want to go somewhere until, one, the Indies were in a better position than when I found them and two, until I felt like I was undoubtedly the best wrestler on the entire circuit. For awhile, the Independents were looking a little bit weak, not a lot of talent was there, but over the past couple of months, a bunch of very talent talent have come through and made names for themselves like Bryan Keith, Mysterious Q, YOYA, Janai Kai. We can leave Indie wrestling alone now. I don't think they need me. For awhile, selfishly, I was like, 'Man, they need me here to help teach people, they need me here to be a draw and better the product.' I feel like I accomplished my goal of being regarded as the best wrestler on the Independents. I was happy to step away."
Garcia, under the name Dante Rios, wrestled Tyler Rust on January 27 episode of NXT. WWE filed to trademark 'Dante Rios' on January 28.
Garcia competed on the October 19 episode of AEW Dark, teaming with 2point0 and Serpentico. You can find results from AEW Dark by clicking here.
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