WWE United States Champion AJ Styles made a rare move for your typical WWE Superstar this past weekend, as he appeared at an indie event for one of the promotions he used to wrestle for in his early days.
For a WWE Superstar to make an appearance at an indie show is extremely rare, and you only see huge names such as Chris Jericho, The Hardy Boyz, and now Styles get away with it. Interestingly enough, it turns out that WWE isn't exactly allowed to prohibit its Superstars from attending indie shows, but it's more of a mutual understanding between the company and its talent.
WWE Hall Of Famer and former longtime Monday Night RAW commentator Jerry "The King" Lawler shed some light on the subject during a recent episode of his podcast, Dinner With The King.
Lawler stated that WWE Superstars are technically considered 'independent contractors' and can pretty much work wherever they want. The only problem is, WWE keeps its talents booked when they're not available to do anything else, that way they aren't able to work for other promotions (quotes via Wrestling Inc.):
"When you sign a contract with WWE, it's pretty much exclusive. However, WWE wrestlers are, technically tax-wise, considered independent contractors," Lawler said. "In that sense, you are really truly, supposedly, work wherever you want to.
"But it's just an understanding, and it's in the contract, that WWE will basically keep you booked where you're not available to do anything else."
"I think they call them 'third-party appearances,'" Lawler said. "That's been a long-standing thing that if somebody else wants to book, say for instance AJ Styles, I'm sure what they did was call the office and made an offer.
"Then the office will look and see if it's a viable thing; if AJ isn't working that night."
"And why you don't see WWE superstars at these shows, the reasons are money, it's prohibitive for a promoter to be able to pay these guys what WWE is asking," Lawler said.
"And usually when these shows happen are on the weekend, when WWE are running their shows. Or a day off; days off are few and far between.
"They relish a day off; they wouldn't want to do a third-party appearance on their day off."
What are your thoughts on Lawler's comments regarding why WWE Superstars don't typically make appearances at indie shows? Would you like to see it happen more often? Have YOUR say in the comments section below, and the fourth episode of GiveMeSport’s WWE podcast is here!
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