While WrestleMania remains the focal point of WrestleMania weekend, the array of independent shows surrounding the event have garnered attention as well, particularly with WWE star Shayna Baszler’s participation in Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport.

Baszler’s involvement sparked speculation that some independent promotions had difficulty securing AEW talent for their shows, leading them to explore options with WWE.

This speculation isn’t unfounded. According to reports from PWInsider Elite, AEW has a specific philosophy regarding talent bookings during WrestleMania weekend. Generally, AEW prefers its talents not to wrestle unless it’s for promotions with which AEW has a working relationship. Notably, this includes Japanese promotions like DDT Wrestling, Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, and STARDOM, with talents such as Billie Starks, Bryan Keith, Willow Nightingale, and Mariah May all slated for shows under these banners over the weekend.

However, AEW does make exceptions to this rule in certain cases. Talents like Johnny TV can participate in events like Bloodsport, and past instances have seen talents like Jon Moxley work the show.


Additionally, AEW doesn’t oppose talent making signing appearances or appearing at conventions like WrestleCon during the weekend, which have become staples of WrestleMania weekends in recent years.

For fans eager to catch AEW talent in action during WrestleMania weekend, Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor event emerges as the prime destination. This tradition, continuing since Tony Khan’s purchase of ROH in 2022, is set for April 4 and boasts matchups like Hikaru Shida challenging Athena for the ROH Women’s World Championship and Mark Briscoe facing Eddie Kingston for the Ring of Honor World Championship.

How do you think the differing approaches of AEW and WWE towards talent bookings during WrestleMania weekend impact the landscape of independent wrestling events? Let us know in the comments below.

Steve Carrier

Steve is the Founder of RingsideNews. He has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He first got into website development at the time and has been focusing on bringing his readers the best professional wrestling news at it's highest quality.

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