Hager marked his return to the squared circle with an appearance at the end of All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite last Wednesday while Velasquez ended SmackDown's FOX premiere on Friday, showing up with Rey Mysterio Jr. before assaulting newly-minted WWE Champion Brock Lesnar.
Hager spoke to Ariel Helwani recently, claiming to be happy about Velasquez making the move, also encouraging other MMA stars to do the same.
“You know what, I think it’s cool that Cain was able to cross over," he remarked. "I think it’s awesome. I want to see more and more people cross over. I want to see more wrestlers cross over into MMA, more MMA cross over into pro wrestling. Because then our fans truly see how similar the worlds are, and how great they can be when you understand what’s going on."
He also subtly suggested that WWE brought Cain in as a response to him joining AEW.
"I think it’s interesting, though," he continued, "that they saw me surprise debut, and then a couple days later they had Cain come out, not even signed to a contract, you know. Kind of rush-hush-hush. Hmmm.”
However, he reckons the 14-3 fighter will be a big hit with the fans as he's already gotten off to a great start.
“I mean, he walked out with Rey Mysterio [for his] first time. That’s a great start right there," he said. "It’s hard to beat that debut. And then having Brock Lesnar cower to you, it’s pretty cool. The fans are very fickle, much like they are in MMA. They want to know that you’re 100% involved and that you’re not playing games and that this isn’t a joke to you, this is serious. Because this is very serious to those fans watching and paying their money to it."
As for who had the better debut, Hager thinks it's Hager.
“Oh, well if you’re asking me, I 100% think I had the better debut," he declared. "I don’t know if you heard, but there was 14,000 people chanting ‘We the People’ for me. And I didn’t even bother to raise my hand for it.”
We Might Need To Go To The Polls For That One
Fans will be split over that last part as both debuts were pretty amazing, but that both these personalities are wrestling now - for Cain, it's a first - must be pleasing to everyone paying attention.
MMA and wrestling have always been closely tied and we imagine there will be a lot more moves both ways in time to come.