Former NXT star Tino Sabbatelli worked one match in AEW, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be back any time soon.
Five years after making his NXT in-ring debut on a live event, Tino Sabbatelli was released from his WWE contract as part of a mass culling of talent that was said to be due to budget cuts. Using the name Sabby, Tino Sabbatelli appeared on the July 21, 2020, episode of AEW Dark, teaming with Brady Pierce in a losing effort against Best Friends. However, his time with AEW was brief, and the star re-signed with WWE in October of 2020. He would be released again in June of 2021.
On a recent episode of Insight with Chris Van Vliet, Tino Sabbatelli was asked if he’d ever be going back to AEW, and the star said that that bridge may have inadvertently been burned when he returned to WWE.
“So here’s the thing. I don’t know what happened or where it went wrong, this is the truth, that bridge was burned, and I don’t know how. Tony Khan knows me from football, and when WWE offered me that contract, I actually texted Billy Gunn about it. They [AEW] hadn’t offered me anything, Triple H was the one who offered me something. I sent a nice text to Billy Gunn to thank me for the opportunity and I thought it was all good.
But when I got released again, someone reached out to AEW and said to Tony Khan ‘Tino is a free agent and he’s going to be a star.’ Tony said to him, and I am paraphrasing, but Tony is upset I went back to WWE. Then 3 months ago, Andrade approaches me and said that he wanted me to be in a group with him. Me and Andrade have always had a good relationship. But he texted me personally and we shot a vignette together. He wanted to bring a group like Evolution to AEW.
We shot the video and spent the whole day in Miami. He texted me back and said ‘Tony Khan likes the idea but no Tino.’ I’m like what do you mean? I would love to sit and talk to Tony, he might have been upset that I had one match and then went back to WWE.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Tino Sabbatelli addressed rumors that he was spying for WWE during his time in AEW.
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