'Superstar is Back' — Out Gay Ex-WWE Wrestler Signs to AEW

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday January 7, 2022

Retirement for out former WWE champ Jake Atlas (real name Kenny Marquez) came to an end when he leapt into the ring for AEW in a Jan. 3 match where he prevailed against Serpentico. Atlas will be wrestling with that company from now on, Digital Spy reported.

Atlas' short-lived retirement from the sport followed his cut from WWE last August, just a couple of years after he signed on in 2019 as WWE's first out gay star.

But the rigors of the ring had gotten to Atlas, the champion intimated in a post last September. Citing mental health issues and saying his WWE career "was unhealthy for me the entire time," Atlas indicated that he was done with the sport for good.

"At 26 years old, I've got my entire life ahead of me and I'm choosing to explore completely different industries to find my passion again," he posted.

Following his return, however, Atlas vowed on Twitter: "This year, whether you love me or hate me, you're going to know me. It is what it is. Superstar is back."

Atlas' tweet was in response to one that AEW head Tony Khan had sent out Jan. 4, congratulating Atlas on "winning your tryout match" the previous night and bidding him "welcome to the team!"

"If only everyone knew every detail leading up to this," Atlas tweeted in return. "This means everything to me. Cliché but I REALLY have a lot to prove now."

Fans (and even one former opponent) hastened to show their support — and their excitement at Atlas' return.

Returning to Twitter later on, Atlas shared details about his official Jan. 7 debut with AEW.

"ALL SYSTEMS GO," the star grappler declared.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.