Yeah and lets play this out further - so even under the hypothetical that he can wrestle again - the idea that he was in a bad place in WWE pecking order as one is solely based on him being released. He was constantly in the upper middle card to main, got a Brock match (which only go to a select few), got AJ for the title at Summerslam, destroyed Mysterio for the IC belt at WM35 and was about to be heavily involved in a major feud with Owens/Rollins in 2020 before he got hurt. And that’s the thing…Joe’s been injured a lot in a short time up there. Got hurt after the Brock matches. Got hurt in the midst of a Reigns feud that lost WM34 for him. Got the concussions that ruined WM36 for him. That’s really the only reason his run wasn’t successful. There’s more than a decent chance he would have been champion by now once had he stayed healthy the entire time.
Now what we expect him to do if not signing? Wait a year to be able to go to NJPW? Look backwards and do ROH or Impact again (assuming he even likes either company anymore)? Take his chance on an Indies that might take a year to get back to previous levels of activity (and currently can’t afford the asking price of a guy who was WWE champion within the last 12 months)? Be yet another returning from injury ex-WWE star trying to break through an over-packed AEW mid card crowd? What makes Joe different than Christian?
This isn’t just a safer situation for him; this is just as good of a situation as any else. The chances he’s making himself a bigger name or doing “more for his brand” if he leaves is very arguable. Is the 2022 G1 getting him there? Can he go on a Drew Galloway indy run in an international business that is somewhat in economic and stature ruins right now? (I’d even argue he’s well above where McIntyre finished off at) Does being the big fish in ROH or Impact do anything at all for his brand that people don’t already feel?
So it comes down to “Will AEW make him Moxley?” Because otherwise this hypothetical bar for Joe the bigger branded IP star is either really just "I want to see him in AEW [or another specific place], or believing he’d become a big movie star outside of WWE.
And it’s fine if that’s what people want…but…lets just be realistic about it.