Derik Hamilton/Associated Press
It’s looking as if WWE’s ban on third-party outlets may not be as strict as previously thought.
AJ Styles appeared on his Twitch channel this week, saying he believes WWE will allow him and others to continue with certain endeavors outside the ring (h/t PostWrestling.com):
“Let’s talk about the stream. Is it going to continue? And from the contacts that I’ve had, the information I got is WWE does want us to interact with our fans, and that means streaming. They want this to happen, they want you to have a YouTube channel. There are things they want you to do and be able to do, and what we knew was a little vague at first.
“We did different things, and it was borderline whether we knew we could do it or not. And so, those will be answered, but streaming I don’t think will be one of those that are taken away, um, YouTube is not one of those that will be taken away. There will be changes in other areas, I’m sure of it, and I don’t know exactly where that is. But let me say this again, they, the WWE want us to be able to stream and interact with our fans, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. That’s exactly what I’m doing. From Adam Cole to Breeze and Xavier Woods, Baron Corbin, it’s what we do, it’s fun.”
WWE drew national scorn when it informed its Superstars that they must stop promoting themselves via third-party outlets, per Wrestling Inc. It was widely seen as an overreach by the company, particularly when CEO Vince McMahon allegedly said the company owns a wrestler’s real name along with their trademarked in-ring moniker.
WWE has long considered its employees “independent contractors,” which allows the company to avoid paying them health insurance and giving them other benefits legally afforded to full-time employees. WWE does this while essentially treating its workers as full-time employees, restricting their endorsement deals and other outside ventures.
Styles is one of several prominent WWE stars to have a Twitch channel, which allows them to interact with fans and grow their following.
The former WWE champion also addressed his COVID-19 diagnosis, saying he was asymptomatic.
“Another thing I need to clarify is with the COVID. I had that like a month-and-a-half ago, whenever it was to the point where the CDC says you have to be quarantined for 10 days. I got tested, I went home for 10 days, stayed in the basement, was able to go to work because of the scheduling when they had it (TV tapings) next, it was 10 days I was able to go back to work. The reason I let you guys know is that I wanted to let you guys know that for some of us it’s not that bad, for some of them it is. I just wanted you guys to know that I had it and that I’m okay—and had I not been tested, I never would have never known I had it and I could have spread it, I guess. So, that’s good on WWE’s part for testing everyone, that’s a good thing.”
WWE spent several months of the pandemic eschewing tests for its performers. It only started to regularly test those who come to the arena for tapings in June.