AEW allowed their stars to continue working on the indies after signing with the company. A few stars took AEW up on that and continued taking dates across the country. The pandemic made that situation a bit trickier.
While speaking to Sports Illustrated, Tony Khan was asked about tightening their restrictions when it came to their stars working indie events. The company has been forced to enforce the rules for people who didn’t take it seriously. In the end, safety is the most important thing.
I implemented a policy where people were only supposed to work indie shows when certain conditions were met. There have been times when people did not take that seriously, so I have tightened up the restrictions. I’ll still allow it under certain conditions, but people need to look me in the eye and say that the conditions are being met. Our talent and their opponent need to be tested before the show, and there also needs to be a good reason why the match is important.
This is important for everyone’s safety, as well as important for our show. I’ve been flexible in the past because I thought it was good for the talent to have the opportunity to earn, as well as great for the fans and the indies as a whole. We also don’t run every night of the week, so it allows for talent to get extra reps, too. So we have a policy, and I’ll be enforcing it strictly.
I am not going to end it, but we are taking a closer look at it. More so now than ever, people need to come to me directly about this. I am going to be strict about what people can and can’t do, but I won’t say you won’t see people make special appearances on independent shows because I think there is a lot of merit to that.
A couple AEW stars have been forced to pull themselves from Dynamite tapings due to COVID-19 exposure. The Collective saw several wrestlers test positive for the virus as well, and Joey Janela, Jon Moxley, and others worked those shows.