Kevin Kelly Reportedly Released From AEW

Less than a year after joining AEW, former New Japan Pro-Wrestling lead English commentator Kevin Kelly has reportedly been fired from the promotion. Speculation surrounding Kelly’s future with the promotion began yesterday after he was quietly removed from the broadcast team section of the AEW roster page and was reported to have missed yesterday’s taping of AEW Collision – with only Tony Schiavone and Nigel McGuinness appearing at the announce desk.

PWTorch reports that Kelly is now gone from the company and that a recent series of divisive social media posts were directly responsible for his release. Last weekend, Kelly accused fellow AEW commentator Ian Riccaboni of libel as well as damaging his “career and standing in the industry” across several posts to his X account. The accusations stem from comments Riccaboni made on a Discord server in August last year in relation to Kelly promoting a movie with what is understood to be equivalent views to the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Kelly joined AEW back in June 2023 as the lead commentator of AEW Collision, a role he initially balanced with his long-time commentary duties for New Japan. Just three months later, however, he announced he would be leaving the Japanese promotion after almost eight years and officially departed in November – with initial plans for him to wrap up his time with the company the following January being scrapped due to family commitments. He has since been replaced by 21-year-old Walker Stewart.

The debut of Collision was not Kelly’s first experience at the AEW announce desk, however. Back at the inaugural AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door event in 2022, Kelly served as a commentator throughout the show alongside Excalibur and Taz. He would reprise that role the following year, announcing the 2023 iteration’s pre-show and pay-per-view in its entirety alongside Excalibur and various rotating commentators.