Source: Dinner With The King
Over the weekend AJ Styles made an appearance at an indy show, which is a rare occurrence for a WWE superstar. During his latest Dinner With The King podcast, Jerry "The King" Lawler discussed the reasons WWE wrestlers don't usually do third-party appearances.
Lawler offered some behind-the-scenes insight when he explained that WWE wrestlers are actually independent contractors. That doesn't prohibit them from working for another company, instead it's more of a mutual understanding between the talent and the WWE.
"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."
Styles made a surprise appearance at the NWA Wildside Reunion show on Saturday and he brought the WWE U.S. Title with him. Lawler explained that there likely had to have been a negotiation between companies to work out a deal for Styles to appear.
"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."
WWE superstars have to deal with a hectic schedule as it is. In addition to having to negotiate with the WWE, Lawler said part of the reason you don't see them at indy shows more often is because they'd prefer to use their rare off-days to rest.
"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."
You can listen to the full podcast below: