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WWE News: Jerry Lawler speaks about WWE Superstars appearing on independent shows

Harald Math
SENIOR ANALYST
News
6.04K   //    14 Sep 2017, 15:50 IST

The King lifted the lid on independent appearances on his latest podcast
The King lifted the lid on independent appearances on his latest podcast

What's the story?

On a recent episode of his podcast, WWE Hall of Famer and pro wrestling legend Jerry "The King" Lawler spoke about WWE superstars appearing at independent shows. Lawler stated that the reason it doesn't happen more often is because WWE keeps its stars as fully booked as possible.

In case you didn't know

AJ Styles surprised the wrestling world by showing up at an independent show earlier this week, posing with his WWE United States Championship at an NWA Wildside Reunion show.

WWE wrestlers rarely turn up at non-WWE events, let alone stars of the magnitude of "The Phenomenal One". Many assume that it is because WWE does not want to give any extra promotion and attention to non-WWE companies, although its stance on independents has seemingly softened in 2017.

Jerry "The King" Lawler was one of the iconic voices of the WWF Attitude Era, and has since smoothly moved into a backstage role following his health problems in recent years. He also hosts his own podcast, called 'Dinner With The King'.

The heart of the matter

During the latest episode of the show, Lawler stated that as 'independent contractors' WWE Superstars are free to work wherever they like, schedule depending. It is indeed the schedule that stops most from performing elsewhere, as few wish to work on the rare days off they get.

Money is also a major reason as to why WWE stars don't work independent shows. Lawler explained that the process usually involves the independent contacting WWE and making an offer, at which point WWE sees whether it is viable or not. Independent promoters are more often than not unable to pay what WWE is asking.

"And why you don't see WWE superstars at these shows, the reasons are money. And usually when these shows happen are on the weekend, when WWE are running their shows. Or a day off, and days off are few and far between. They relish a day-off"

What's next?

AJ Styles' appearance at the NWA show was a huge surprise, but it isn't a sight that wrestling fans should get used to seeing. Despite their 'independent contractor' status, WWE superstars are pretty much locked down to WWE appearances and very little else.

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We won't be seeing Luke Harper or TJ Perkins show up in our local leisure centres anytime soon.

Author's take

It is easy to forget that WWE stars are technically 'independent contractors', a term which seemingly serves only to assist WWE on the tax front. The term seems to be one that is wholly abused by the company.

Most fans, myself included, tend to view WWE stars as full-time employees of WWE, so these independent appearances simply aren't considered an option.

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Harald Math
SENIOR ANALYST
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