If you know former WWE announcer and Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura, then you probably know he’s a big advocate for a wrestler’s union. Thinking it’s wrong for wrestlers to be labeled as independent contractors and more wrong that the government allows companies like WWE to get away with calling them as much, he’s hoping to see AEW change the practice of how they hire their talent.
During an interview with Ventura, Chris Jericho on as a guest The World According to Jesse and was asked straight away if AEW was going to change the way contracts were structured. Jericho said AEW was a much smarter business decision for himself and he believes future wrestlers will feel the same and come running toward AEW.
Jericho seemed like he didn’t want to directly answer the question at first, but when pressed admitted he was an employee with AEW and not an independent contractor. He was receiving health care and other benefits an independent contractor wouldn’t receive.
“From the guarantee that I was given, the employee status, the healthcare, there is a lot more of that going on. I think that is going to continue to grow, which will force WWE to follow suit or everybody will want to leave WWE and come to AEW, which is already starting to happen.”
Would WWE Change Their Contracts Because of AEW Hiring Practices?
The short answer to this would be, no, not at first. But, if this becomes a real issue and AEW steps forward as real competition, one never knows what industry-wide changes might occur.
AEW is already a spot WWE stars are rumored to want to go. Most assumed that because of the perceived opportunity that would be presented by not being saddled by WWE’s poor creative process. Jericho said that was still an issue for wrestlers there but that the idea they would be hired differently also has appeal.
One thing to keep in mind here is that Jericho may be the odd case in AEw and not the norm. His high-profile status in AEW may have allowed him to be hired as an employee when another talent may not be in the same boat.
It’s hard to know what knowledge Jericho has of each star’s contracts and if he was speaking on behalf of AEW as a group or just himself.