New wrestling company treats its wrestlers like employees rather than contractors
Did you know that professional wrestling is staged? There is a small minority of people who have been in the dark about the fact that professional wrestling is not as violent as it seems.
They are wrestling, but not as they would have you believe. Wrestling in many ways is used for entertainment rather than actual sport. That being said, professional wrestlers are more like paid actors than wrestlers.
The big companies like World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and All Elite Wrestling (AEW) are the ones I have heard about and watched the most through friends. To my surprise, there is a big difference between the two companies. I don’t know much about professional wrestling, but what I have heard, I find interesting.
AEW is a new company that was formed at the beginning of 2019 by Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, and brothers Nick Jackson and Matt Jackson. All of which left other promotions, like Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling, when their contracts expired to form All Elite Wrestling. The company just set a date for Double or Nothing 2, which is the second installment of AEW’s initial pay per view.
In fact, many of the wrestlers currently signed to AEW left other companies. One example is professional wrestler Jonothan Good who transformed from ring name Dean Ambrose to Jon Moxley when he left WWE for AEW.
Prior to his stint with WWE, Good wrestled for other promotions around the world also using the name Jon Moxley.
It is predicted that there will be many more that switch over to All Elite, some examples being The Revival and EC3, making it a promised land for professional wrestlers despite being around for a little over a year.
If you’re like me, you probably are asking the question why? Why are so many wrestlers leaving other major companies to sign with AEW? An article in Wrestling Inc. stated that how All-Elite hires their employees is a “revolution” in the world of wrestling.
They accomplished this by treating their wrestlers like their employees rather than independent contractors. When wrestlers work as employees, they receive healthcare and social security and are protected by labor laws. Independent contractors don’t have these same luxuries. They are not protected, and therefore, they are at a larger risk of paying much more if they get injured because of the lack of company-provided healthcare. Also, unlike WWE, wrestlers in AEW are given more time to recover by having about one match a week while WWE wrestlers have about three to four matches per week.
That being said, these employees do get injured during matches, but they are only doing so by their own choice. Of course, this does not mean just anyone can participate. Whether or not wrestling is staged, these people are professionals. They know their own limits and how far is too far. Whether they are being stuck with thumbtacks attached to a skateboard, pushed into barbed wire or thrown through a table, the injuries are minimal and at their discretion. If you have ever watched an All Elite Wrestling match, it often looks more painful than it is. When you think about it logically, the tacks they use are super small. Of course, it hurts, but the damage is surface-level with minimal lifelong repercussions.
When watching people wrestle professionally, if you look closely enough and slow down the footage, you can see that it is staged to look more painful than it is. Just a few days ago I watched a YouTube video of Matt and Nick Jackson and Brandon Cutler, wrestlers signed to AEW. At first, I believed that Cutler was really kicked in the lower jaw. Once the clip was slowed down you could tell that the kick didn’t touch his face at all. Professional wrestling focuses on dramatics and acting as though things are really painful.
All Elite Wrestling offers freedom to its employees that other wrestling promotions can barely match if at all. AEW employees are able to choose their own in-ring personalities and have free rein in their creative expression.
They can play the roles and characters that they want to play. It’s a company run by wrestlers for wrestlers, and who knows wrestling better than the wrestlers themselves? Not only does AEW care about their employees, but they care about their fans as well.
Founder Cody Rhodes said at the All Elite Wrestling Double or Nothing rally that “we’re not [going to] coach you on how to be a fan. There’s not some predetermined grid that will say you have to cheer for this guy or you have to boo for this guy. You are fans. You are allowed to be that fan any which way you want to be.”
In addition to being open and accepting to any wrestler regardless of things like race, gender, sex and religion, AEW caters to their different demographics of fans as well. By partnering with KultureCity, a company that provides an inclusive and supportive environment for those who struggle with processing sensory information, AEW stands with open arms, welcoming all fans.
Heading into their second active year of programming, AEW is a wrestling promotion that other companies, fans and other wrestlers should keep on their radar. You can watch AEW’s weekly episodes on TNT Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. and on YouTube.
~Kaitlin Sanata, Staff Writer~