Since the time they began running shows, All Elite Wrestling has permitted their talents to take outside indy bookings. Given the current state of the world, however, the promotion has been forced to be more cautious with when and where the wrestlers can work.
Recently, Joey Janela was pulled from an AEW number one contender's tournament, due to the fact that recent GCW opponent AJ Gray had tested positive for COVID. Though Janela himself apparently did not test positive for the virus, his exposure to someone who did led to AEW playing it safe and pulling him from his scheduled match.
AEW President Tony Khan spoke with Sports Illustrated, and discussed how he's had to enforce stricter guidelines on his wrestlers, in regards to the bookings they wish to take.
“I implemented a policy where people were only supposed to work indie shows when certain conditions were met,” Khan stated. “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.”
He added, “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.”