AEW Permits Actions Banned by WWE

Exploring AEW's innovative approach to global wrestling partnerships.

by Atia Mukhtar
AEW Permits Actions Banned by WWE
© Aewwe/YouTube

Since its establishment on January 1, 2019, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has consistently been spotlighted alongside WWE, with AEW founder Tony Khan labeling the latter as the “evil juggernaut” of professional wrestling.

Historically, WWE dominated the American wrestling scene for nearly seventy years, setting a high standard that only a few, like TNA, dared to challenge. Despite once being dismissed by WWE’s Chief Content Officer, Paul "Triple H" Levesque, as a “piss-ant company,” AEW has not only survived but thrived, surpassing the longevity of WWE’s once-stiffest competitor, WCW Monday Nitro.

AEW’s launch heralded a fresh chapter in U.S. wrestling, sparking intense debates and fan-led rivalries reminiscent of the infamous “Monday Night War”. The announcement in May 2019 that AEW would air its prime-time show "AEW Dynamite" on TNT—the same network that aired "Nitro"—rekindled memories of past showdowns and fueled new comparisons.

The rivalry deepened when "Dynamite" premiered on October 2, 2019, igniting discussions of “tribalism” among fans. As AEW approaches its fifth anniversary, marked by the Double or Nothing pay-per-view in Las Vegas on May 26, significant contrasts between AEW and WWE become apparent.

AEW’s programming often features graphic bloodshed, from subtle to excessive, a stark departure from WWE’s more sanitized presentations. AEW also grants wrestlers more leeway in their televised language and actions, including the freedom to engage with merchandise in ways their WWE counterparts cannot.

Global Cross-Promotion Policies

One of the most striking differences is AEW’s policy on partnering with other wrestling promotions globally. A notable example is Jon Moxley, formerly Dean Ambrose in WWE, who holds the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship and has defended it on AEW shows.

Moxley, active in New Japan Pro-Wrestling since 2019, has even participated in their prestigious G1 Climax tournament. Such cross-promotional activities are forbidden in WWE, where talents like Seth Rollins or Charlotte Flair remain exclusive to the brand.

WWE has made occasional exceptions, such as collaborations with TNA for specific events, but these are rare and tightly controlled. AEW’s permissive approach extends to its annual crossover event, Forbidden Door, with NJPW.

This year’s event is set for June 30 at the UBS Arena on Long Island, promising another showcase of inter-promotional talent—a concept virtually unthinkable in WWE’s insular environment. Moreover, AEW’s use of "blood and guts" in matches, often criticized by WWE’s leadership, led to the inception of their unique Blood & Guts matches, which push the envelope further than WWE’s classic WarGames.

These matches, featuring explicit violence and visible bloodshed, starkly contrast with WWE’s post-2008 PG-rated programming, where deliberate bloodletting was banned. AEW’s liberal use of language also sets it apart.

While WWE has curtailed profanity to maintain its TV-PG rating, AEW wrestlers occasionally use expletives on air, albeit sometimes censored, depending on the broadcasting platform. This freedom reflects a broader ethos in AEW, where expressions and actions are less restrained, offering a grittier, more authentic wrestling experience that starkly contrasts with WWE’s polished, family-friendly facade.

As AEW continues to carve its niche, these freedoms not only define its brand but also challenge the norms established by WWE, inviting wrestling fans to experience a different kind of spectacle—one that harkens back to wrestling’s more unrestrained days.