Tony Khan Says He Has A ‘Handshake Deal’ With Lio Rush

All Elite Wresting president Tony Khan has revealed details regarding former WWE Superstar Lio Rush’s AEW “contract”.

As you might recall, Lio Rush made his AEW debut during the Casino Battle Royale at Double Or Nothing on May 30th. Rush is currently under contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling, but Khan claims there was “handshake deal” in place between all parties prior to the event.

“I don’t have a pen to paper [deal], but Lio and I have a handshake [deal] that he can work here and do New Japan both,” Khan said during a media scrum after Double Or Nothing went off the air. “I think we have something good on a handshake, and I think he’s doing that on a handshake with New Japan too, and that’s kind of what we’ve been doing and it’s been pretty good. I think that’s a good way to work.”

RELATED: Double Or Nothing Winners And Losers: Sting Proves He’s Still Got It On AEW’s Best Show Yet

Khan also said that he had initially intended to work with Rush last year, but that was Rush was busy filming MTV’s The Challenge.

“I wanted Lio to come last year, but he wasn’t free. He was actually taping The Challenge and couldn’t take his phone to The Challenge, and I heard back from his wife who said, he would love to do it, but he’s doing The Challenge. He felt so sick that he wasn’t able to do it. I thought, well, it would be great if he would still be able to do it, and it worked out. I think he’s going to come here, but he’s got New Japan and indies coming up too, so I think we’ll see Lio back.”

After a highly-rated stint on the independent scene, Lio Rush signed for WWE in August of 2017. He initially reported for duty at NXT, but was soon moved to the Cruiserweight division where he competed on 205 Live. Rush was then moved to the main roster and was used predominantly as the mouthpiece of Bobby Lashley. He moved back to NXT and had a run as Cruiserweight champion, but in April of 2020, Rush was released from his WWE contract as part of budget cuts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

(H/t to Fightful for its video of the scrum)

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