Jake Hager compares debuts.
On the premiere episode of AEW Dynamite, Jake Hager surprised many when he made his AEW debut, taking out The Young Bucks and Rhodes Brothers alongside Chris Jericho and his new stable. Not to be outdone, WWE debuted Cain Velasquez alongside Rey Mysterio at the end of the SmackDown on Fox premiere episode. Velasquez ended up running off new WWE Champion Brock Lesnar.
"If you're asking me, I 100% think I had the better debut. I don't know if you heard, but there were 14,000 people chanting 'We the people' for me and I didn't even bother to raise my hand for it," Jake Hager told Ariel Helwani when asked who had the better debut. "I think it's cool that Cain was able to crossover. I think it's awesome. I want to see more and more people crossover. I want to see more wrestlers crossover to MMA and more MMA (fighters) crossover to pro wrestling. Then our fans can truly see how similar the worlds are and how great they can be when you understand what's going on. Personally, I think mine was better. I think it's interesting that they saw my surprise debut, and a couple of days later, they had Cain come out, not even signed to a contract. Kind of rush, hush-hush."
It was reported after his debut that Cain and WWE had yet to officially reach a contract, though the two sides were close.
When asked about Cain's prospects in wrestling, Hager said, "He walked out with Rey Mysterio for the first time. That's a great start. It's hard to beat that debut. And then having Brock Lesnar cower to you, that's pretty cool. The fans are very fickle, much like they are in MMA, they want to know you're 100% involved and not playing games and this isn't a joke. Because this is very serious to the fans watching. I think he's a hard worker and so I don't see any reason why he can't succeed."
Velasquez does have some pro wrestling experience, working two trios matches in AAA Lucha Libre. As of this writing, Velasquez and WWE have yet to reportedly come to a contract agreement. However, Velasquez is scheduled to be part of a WWE announcement on Friday, Oct. 11 and will reportedly face Brock Lesnar at WWE Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia on Oct. 31.
As for Hager, he will continue to compete in Bellator MMA while also working for AEW. You can view his comments on pulling double duty by clicking here.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit Ariel Helwani's MMA Show with a h/t to Fightful for the transcription.