AEW President Tony Khan has placed tight restrictions on all AEW contracted talent working independent shows during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new curtailments come after Scorpio Sky was forced to withdraw from Wednesday’s edition of AEW Dynamite due to close contact with someone who had tested positive and the company had to pull Joey Janela from the AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament after being exposed to the virus by AJ Gray at GCW’s The Last Resort.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated, Tony Khan explained that while he had previous stated talent would not be hindered from working other shows, his stance has now changed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit and his talent began testing positive
“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.”
The approach is nothing but sensible in light of the seriousness of the pandemic and Khan should be congratulated for his stance on this matter. He is protecting his business, his stars, his fans and the families of all involved.
However, the owner wasn’t finished there. He did confirm that he was not going to end the relationship between AEW stars and indie promotions, but he would be taking a closer look at it in an ongoing scenario:
“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.”
Tony Khan will oversee AEW Full Gear on Saturday November 7 with his new policy taking effect immediately.
Inside the Ropes will have full coverage of AEW Full Gear.