Brian Cage says the rumor mill almost jeopardized his livelihood in the ring but everything ultimately worked out.
Cage was a recent guest on the Pat Buck Show, and he spoke about the reports that he signed with All Elite Wrestling in January while he was still working for IMPACT Wrestling. During the IMPACT Hard To Kill pay-per-view, SoCal Uncensored reported Cage had signed with AEW and he and his wife, Melissa Santos, quickly denied the reports.
Cage says he signed an extension with IMPACT just to get to the PPV and that they were attempting to work a new deal out. He was injured before the event and mentions he had several great offers from IMPACT and others, but he thought he was out of luck because he was hurt and nobody would want to give him a new contract. As he weighed his options of surgery or therapy, they worked out the plan for the match with Rob Van Dam where he’d get taken out and Rob could still have a proper match (with Daga).
Cage said besides the existing bicep tear, he busted open his lip and then he went through the curtain and people were reacting live to the news that he had signed with AEW. Cage says it was awkward because IMPACT was still scheduled to give him a new offer that weekend, and a “saving grace” would be in the fact that he’s still getting offers despite being hurt. When the report of him signing with AEW broke, he was mad because he thought it would eliminate his options. Cage says despite the rumors and IMPACT telling him the contract was delayed in print, they still sent him one later that night.
“I was so mad at the website that put that out there because it wasn’t even—Melissa went hard on Twitter and [fans] said ‘of course you’re going to say that and try and kayfabe it.’ But no, I was thinking my livelihood just got stripped away from me because homeboy wanted to get a few clickbaits online. I was really hot about it but luckily IMPACT did end up sending me an offer later that night. Everything with everybody still kinda worked out, so thank God, even with having surgery I wasn’t left in the dark with everybody still pursuing me.”
Cage said he’s glad everything happened the way it did, especially electing to have the surgery so he could rehab during the pandemic. He says if he rushed back it would have been weird not having shows and it wouldn’t have done him any good. During the show, he also noted that he was training with Rey Mysterio and his son Dominick, which was his first in-ring training session in some time.
Despite maintaining he didn’t sign with AEW on January 12 (the night of the PPV), AEW’s Tony Khan recently revealed they did end up signing Cage at some point while he was hurt. Khan took part in a post-show media scrum and confirmed Cage had been signed since January and that the company had been paying him while he rehabbed an injury.
“It’s true. Brian signed and he was injured when he signed. People were like ‘it’s crazy that you would pay this guy good money and this whole time he’s hurt. He didn’t get hurt in your company.’ But I really like Brian and I really believed in him. I had plans with Brian and I wanted to do this with Brian and Taz all along; there was a method to it. He wasn’t going to be ready to go until around Double Or Nothing but I always knew Brian was going to factor in to [the PPV]. I always knew he’d show up here and he expected to be cleared in May, so we signed him and he rehabbed and got ready. He had no idea what he was coming in to do—we totally kayfabed him—but he’s great and I really, really believe in him. We strapped a rocket to him, you could say, and I think he’s awesome.”
Khan added that he was really glad that he and Taz were able to have that moment finally, but this was always the ultimate plan.
SoCal Uncensored originally reported Cage had signed a multi-year deal with AEW and at the time of the report, Cage said IMPACT did make him an offer to stay but so did multiple other companies. He added that he was “not technically with any group right now at all” and said he hoped those offers were still available once he was healed up.
Cage debuted with Taz as his manager and won the Casino Ladder Match and title shot, which we now know will take place against Jon Moxley at AEW Fyter Fest this summer.