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AEW reportedly won’t grant any release requests

Tony Khan’s decision comes after ‘everyone that had a previous relationship with Triple H was contacted’ by WWE.

Triple H’s Twitter

It’s been more than a month since allegations of WWE contacting wrestlers who are currently under contract to AEW about returning (aka tampering) first surfaced. In that time, we’ve heard reports and speculation about pretty much everyone on Tony Khan’s roster who used to work for WWE.

The latest update, which comes as a wrestler at the center of the story — Malakai Black —emphatically refuted reports he was released by AEW a week after revealing he requested one, is that Khan has decided to hold everyone to the terms of the contracts they signed with him. That from someone who Black was criticizing without naming him, Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer.

On Wrestling Observer Radio today (Sept. 27), Meltzer said:

“Nobody’s getting released [from AEW]. That’s the doctrine. Tony Khan made that very clear, I guess in the last couple of days.

“They really came after [Tony], it’s pretty blatant. [WWE] came after so many of the guys. Basically everyone that had a previous relationship with Triple H was contacted.”

The alleged move has drawn mixed reactions. On the one hand, TK is doing something a lot of fans have railed against WWE for doing in the past. Will we see #FreeBuddy trending the way #FreeAli did earlier this year?

Khan is also instituting a policy that could have an adverse effect on a locker room culture that’s already been the source of a lot of problems this year. There’s a reason the head coach of my favorite football team says he wants “volunteers, not hostages” on his roster.

On the other hand, talent did sign these contracts. Unlike WWE, AEW honored all of their deals during the pandemic, even when it would have been better for their bottom line to cut people loose. Being made to honor them even when your friend got promoted at your old job is the other side of that coin.

Another difference between the two companies: AEW will allow you to take other bookings while under contract. TK will have to approve them, but at least wrestlers can keep working and building their brand rather than just sit in catering every Wednesday.

Let us know what you think of this latest development in AEW and WWE’s battle for talent. But please, no death threats.

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