Tony Khan is opening up about letting his wrestlers perform on independent shows during COVID-19.
From the beginning, All Elite Wrestling promoted the philosophy that their “bridges would be down” and talent would be allowed to work select independent wrestling events, especially for their “home” promotions. As such, we have seen AEW wrestlers work on shows for Warrior Wrestling, GCW, and more.
There were many AEW wrestlers on GCW’s Collective weekend. Most notably, Orange Cassidy and Joey Janela worked Spring Break 4, an event that is named after Janela. The following week, Janela would work GCW’s The Last Resort. His opponent for the evening, AJ Gray, would later reveal that he tested positive for COVID-19, forcing AEW to pull Joey Janela from the World Title Eliminator Tournament where he was supposed to wrestle Kenny Omega in the first round.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated, AEW president Tony Khan opened up about how his requirements for talent to be allowed to work independent dates have changed following the positive COVID announcements.
“I implemented a policy where people were only supposed to work indie shows when certain conditions were met,” Tony began. “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 continued, “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.”
GCW promoter Brett Lauderdale recently spoke to Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp where he outlined his promotions specific COVID-19 protocols and how those have changed since positive tests have emerged. Learn more at this link.