Obviously, there are a lot of people in AEW who are happy after hearing about the news last week about their new deal with TNT that extends through 2023 with a fourth-year option for 2024 that would give AEW a significant pay increase.
The wrestlers and staff in AEW are not the only people happy about this news. The morale in WWE is much better than it was just a couple of months ago in part because there is a push from creative to build up the younger talent but also because wrestlers are making more money.
One source noted to me that wrestlers are happy for AEW because this ensures that WWE will continue to give out big money contracts for years to come and wrestlers have more leverage than ever before.
“Guys are making more and they are not afraid to ask for time off like before,” said the source. “We know these aren’t guaranteed contracts like WCW but Vince more accommodating these days because he wants to keep everyone happy so that wall has been torn down. Some people are getting offered more money with a better schedule. We have AEW to thank for that so I would say thank you AEW for being around.”
One person noted how years ago, Vince McMahon would only consider giving a relaxed schedule to guys like Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker but times have changed and some wrestlers on the current roster are working fewer dates, per the terms of their new deal. Randy Orton was already working fewer dates on his previous contract and his new deal calls for a better schedule with fewer than his previous deal.
One wrestler I spoke with had plans to retire with plans to transition into a different role in the business but that wrestler has had a change of heart and will be looking to sign a new contract for more money when their current deal expires. That would not have been possible without the leverage that comes with another major wrestling promotion on the scene.