ALL ELITE ASSESSMENT: Revisiting the Jade Cargill assessment, one of AEW’s greatest missed opportunities

By Dan Allanson, PWTorch contributor

AEW Rampage hits and misses
PHOTO CREDIT: Jade Cargill Twitter

Hope everyone is okay and enjoying a comparatively quieter week in the world of professional wrestling?
For this weeks column I thought it would be interesting to look back at a previous All Elite Assessment and reassess the star. I opted for my Jade Cargill column as I consider her to be one of AEW’s greatest missed opportunities in its short history.
Let me know if there are any edits or updates required.

All Elite Assessment Flashback! Jade Cargill

In my latest All Elite Assessment I’m jumping into my Pro Wrestling DeLorean as I revisit a previous column. Let’s head back to my column on now WWE’s Jade Cargill and see to see if what I said then has any relevance now.

What I said then…

March 12, 2023

Although hugely talented and distinctively featured, Cargill has had very little in terms of narrative substance. Drifting aimlessly on Rampage (with the rare appearance on flagship show Dynamite), Cargill’s sole story has been her winning streak. The dissolution of her stable gleaned little fan interest due to the complete lack of focus. Her title defenses feel predictable as Cargill never mixes with the women whom have been featured as top tier on Dynamite.

To rejuvenate the potential headliner AEW have to break Cargill out of her TBS Title malaise. One way to break the monotony would be to align Jade with the AEW originals, Brit Baker and Jamie Hayter, against the Outcasts. This would even the odds and finally insert her into a Dynamite women’s program plus provide fresh matches opposite Toni Storm and Saraya. Another option is the potential Forbidden Door 2. With Mercedes Moné as current NJPW Women’s Champion, a clash opposite Jade Cargill would be a dream match for some and a huge hook for PPV buys.

AEW has to be extremely careful with the foreseeable booking of Jade Cargill. She is tailor-made for WWE and, if Cargill continues to drift, overtures from WWE may follow. AEW currently needs stars who appeal to the mainstream and Cargill is one such figure. The TBS Title and a winning streak have taken her so far, now it’s time to unleash her obvious potential more prominently.

The Assessment Assessed

Far from being wrestling’s Nostradamus, it was obvious that if Jade Cargill remained in limbo on the AEW roster, then a move to WWE would surely follow. It inevitably did and Cargill became one of AEW’s biggest missed opportunities. Cargill has the attributes that could make her a mega star in the industry for the next several years, attributes that WWE has wisely accentuated thus far in her run.

After publication of my original column, Cargill only wrestled another eight times for AEW and, staggeringly, only one time on the flagship show Dynamite.

The TBS Champion would successfully defend her title against Taya Valkyrie at the Double or Nothing PPV before immediately accepting a challenge from a returning Kris Statlander. An already embattled Cargill was then toppled in just 50 seconds, losing her title and perfect record in the process. This felt like an ignominious way for a centerpiece act to lose and for a long term storyline to be paid off.

True, Statlander gained some fleeting credit, but the historic victory wasn’t featured on AEW television in the weeks that followed and Statlander now feels no higher on the AEW depth chart. Cargill herself disappeared from AEW television for the next several months so no immediate narrative benefit was gained.

Radio silence regarding Cargill’s protracted absence led to the rumour and innuendo with her eventual departure feeling like a forgone conclusion. Bizarrely, in September 2023, Cargill returned to AEW to little fanfare and challenged reigning champion Statlander. A match on the following Rampage again led to defeat. The loss was to be Cargill’s last appearance for AEW and she signed a multi-year contract with WWE soon after.

Lessons to learn?

Given the lack of official word from either AEW or Cargill herself, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for her departure. Was AEW a stepping stone to Cargill’s true first choice? Did AEW run out of ideas on how to portray a star they had built from the ground up? Either and both could be true.

It was clear early on in Cargill’s AEW run that the undefeated trope could only take her character so far. More narrative attention was needed to raise Cargill’s stature in the eyes of the causal fan and AEW simply did not give her the opportunity to develop beyond her sheer presence.

I would argue that the lesson here is to strike while the iron’s hot. There have been numerous opportunities when AEW has had lightning in a bottle – such as Cody Rhodes, “Hangman” Page, Hook, Daniel Garcia, and C.M. Punk – only to squander the clear fan interest at its peak. With ratings and live show attendances stagnating, AEW simply cannot pass up another clear future centerpiece act. The current example is Will Ospreay. The “Aerial Assassin” is white hot and should be built around as the must-see prospect of a new era. Jade Cargill could have been that star for the AEW Women’s Division, but for whatever reason that opportunity was missed.

Cargill didn’t significantly feud with Britt Baker, Jamie Hayter, Saraya, Toni Storm, Serena Deeb, or Thunder Rosa during her time in All Elite. Often kept in her own narrative universe on Rampage, Cargill soon stagnated. A frequent (and fair) criticism of the AEW roster is that they stay in their own fiefdoms, rarely venturing out to create new and interesting matches. With such a significant roster, AEW has to break this perception and mix its roster to create fresh and intriguing matches.


Jade Cargill always felt like a better fit for WWE and so it has proved (thus far). The coming years will ultimately prove AEW correct in their lack of dynamism to retain the star or whether Cargill was a game changer that AEW missed the boat on.

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