On the October 23, 2021 episode of AEW Dynamite, Tony Nese was shown sitting in the crowd and billed as "one of the hottest free agents in pro wrestling."
Nese was released by WWE June 2021 after a run that saw him win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament in 2019 to begin a reign with the WWE Cruiserweight Title. Nese quickly signed with AEW and made his in-ring debut on the November 3 episode of AEW Dark.
Speaking on AEW Unrestricted, Nese explained how quickly he was signed.
"That was a crazy day. I was showing up to meet Tony (Khan), to say hi, we were locals in Orlando. I was there to meet everyone, see if I could talk to Tony and stuff. I was standing outside of his office, just talking to a bunch of people, Adam Cole and a couple of others. He walks out, 'Hey Tony, how are you doing? I'm a big fan. Literally, five minutes later, he's like, do you want to sit out in the crowd?' I took a step back and was, 'You want me to be a fan? What's going on? You want me to fill seats?' I was super confused. 'No, we're going to put you out there, we're going to make a big deal out of it, what's Tony Nese doing here?' Okay, great, I thought I was just here to hang out and talk to everyone. Minutes after that, they pulled me aside and talked to me, we talked out a deal and it literally was like 30 minutes before. 'We're going to put you out there and you're going to sit out there the whole show.' I sat out there. Luckily, nothing bad came out of this, but Lance Archer had an accident and for some reason, the truck's first intention was to shoot Tony Nese. I see the red light and camera and go, 'Oh no.' I had so many options, I could make a face, maybe that's a meme and everyone laughs, but in my head, I don't know the severity of the situation, so the last thing I want to do is make something about me and all of a sudden we find out that someone is badly injured. Literally, I was like, 'I have no idea what to do.' I'm staring off in the distance, 'Someone, please make that red light go away," recalled Nese.
Archer took a scary fall in a match against Eddie Kingston, suffering a neck injury in the process.
Nese has become a regular on AEW television and currently teams with Josh Woods as the Warsity Athletes.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit the original source with a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.