Even though one industry requires its competitors to legitimately hurt each other, and the other makes its money from staged fights and storylines, there’s a lot of crossover between MMA and pro wrestling. Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley, and Marina Shafir are just a few of the people to have found success in both worlds. There tends to be a lot of buzz around anyone notable who leaves one sport for the other, and the latest star to generate that buzz is Paige VanZant.
The former UFC star has been showing up in AEW for months at this point, aligning herself with American Top Team. However, she isn’t actually signed to the company, at least she wasn’t until last night. Dan Lambert struck a deal with Tony Khan, promising VanZant would sign with AEW if he gave Scorpio Sky a TNT Title match on this week’s Dynamite.
That deal paid off in a major way for Lambert as Sky got his shot and made it count. The former SCU member beat Sammy Guevara and the TNT Title is now under American Top Team’s banner. Sky had a pretty big helping hand from VanZant, though. The new signing, who wasn’t technically under contract at this particular moment in time, jumped the barricade and threw Tay Conti into the steel steps.
Conti is Guevara’s other half and had accompanied the now-former TNT Champion to the ring for the match. Watching VanZant attack Conti at ringside was enough to distract Guevara for so long that Sky pounced on his opponent and covered him for the win. Right after, VanZant took the opportunity to sign her deal then and there, adding insult to injury by putting pen to paper on Conti’s back.
All signs point to Conti being VanZant’s first opponent as an AEW star. Perhaps a mixed tag match involving those two, Sky, and Guevara is also in the offing. What remains unclear is what this means for VanZant’s MMA career. While she could, of course, continue to compete in both worlds, VanZant is currently 0-2 since signing with BKFC so may want to focus on wrestling moving forward.