Video: Kevin Kelly Vents On Being Fired: “I Wouldn’t Treat My Worst Enemy How AEW Did Me”

Kevin Kelly doesn’t have the fondest of memories from his time in All Elite Wrestling.

The longtime pro wrestling commentator, who along with Nigel McGuinness and Ian Riccaboni was part of the original commentary team for AEW Collision, recently reflected on his time with the company while taking part in a K&S WrestleFest virtual signing.

During the virtual signing, Kelly gave his side of the story regarding his release from AEW this past March, pointing to his souring relationship with Riccaboni as a key factor.

Kelly made it clear that he has negative feelings towards AEW over how their working relationship came to an end, noting he “wouldn’t treat his worst enemy like that.”

One particular incident that Kelly said Riccaboni mentioned having with him stemmed from the AEW Collision episode from the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in July of 2023, which featured Kelly making a comment about Riccaboni wearing a cowboy hat sitting next to WWE Hall of Fame legend and fellow AEW commentator Jim Ross.

“I was, like, saying it because guess what? You’re gonna get heat with J.R. if you’re wearing a cowboy hat sitting next to him at the announce desk,” Kelly recalled telling Riccaboni. “Whether he says it’s okay or not, that doesn’t matter, and it was born in Calgary, it was born at the Stampede and he’s the one who wears the f*cking cowboy hat. Why would you do that? Whatever. Listen, Ian got upset about that. Give me a break.”

Kevin Kelly then spoke about the end of his run with AEW, and how changes started happening. He mentioned how in NJPW, he was left alone because he knew what he was doing but in AEW, he had “all these people in my ear and I’ve got all this format stuff.”

He said, “Whether it was split because of CM Punk and the (Young) Bucks, I have no idea. That was never even brought up. But it was a separate show: Saturday night, great. Let’s make it different, let’s do some different things.”

The longtime wrestling personality would go on to reference Hana Kimura, a popular Japanese wrestler who committed suicide after getting ambushed with negative comments on social media.

“Because when you bring down the force of social media onto a person, wrongly accusing someone, there are consequences,” he said. “You can’t do that, you shouldn’t do that and I mean, what happened to Hana, of course was much worse than what happened to me. I’m not even comparing those but, again, it’s the same type of thing and that’s really just it.”

Kelly continued, “I was not a fit for AEW. I just felt like it was a very different kind of place and very stressful. So many people … there was so much chaos and it just really stressed me out a lot. I was much happier in New Japan, except for the flights and the travel.”

Check out the complete K&S WrestleFest virtual signing with Kevin Kelly via the media player embedded below. If video fails to load, visit H/T to for transcribing the above quotes.