Gay pro wrestler Jake Atlas makes triumphant return to the ring after mental health struggle

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Jake Atlas ended his retirement with a spectacular return to the ring.

Atlas, real name Kenny Marquez, made headlines in 2019 when he became the first-ever active, out man signed to the WWE. He joined the organisation as a NXT Superstar and made his debut in 2020.

However, Atlas announced in September that he would be “stepping away from wrestling” for the foreseeable future. He cited struggles with mental health and said he “simply can’t keep going anymore”.

But four months on, Atlas has stepped back into the ring as a member of All Elite Wrestling (AEW).

AEW founder Tony Khan confirmed the news on Twitter. The news came a day after Atlas debuted on AEW Dark: Elevation and beat fellow wrestler Serpentico in just a few minutes.

Khan congratulated Atlas on winning his “tryout match” and gushed that it was a “great AEW debut” for the wrestler.

Jake Atlas thanked Khan and AEW for welcoming him back into the ring, declaring the “superstar is back”.

“If only everyone knew every detail leading up to this,” he wrote on Twitter. “This means everything to me.”

He continued: “Cliché but I really have a lot to prove now. This year, whether you love me or hate me, you’re going to know me.

“It is what it is. Superstar is back.”

AEW confirmed in a later tweet that Atlas will be making his TV debut on AEW: Rampage on Friday (7 January).

Jake Atlas joins a growing number of openly LGBT+ wrestlers on AEW’s roster

AEW star Anthony Bowens, who is also gay, posted a picture of himself alongside Atlas on Twitter, welcoming him to the team.

Bowens recently opened up about a recent indecent in which a fan was heard shouting a homophobic slur at him during an AEW match on 9 December.

He said the hateful incident sadly “comes with the territory” of being an out LGBT+ athlete. But it was the first time he’d “audibly heard something like that during a performance or television”.

“It’s not indicative of the AEW fans at all because any interaction I’ve had with them since starting the company has all been positive,” Bowens told TMZ Sports.

Sadly, just a few weeks later, there was another incident of anti-LGBT+ hate at an AEW event.

A fan was ejected from an AEW Dynamite event after they held up a transphobic sign towards trans wrestling star Nyla Rose.

Not phased by the disgusting transphobic hate, Rose flipped the attendee a middle finger after she entered the ring. The amazing moment was captured by Rose’s wife, who wrote on Twitter that her wife is the “strongest person I know”.

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