Professional wrestling is a divisive business for many, including the wrestlers.
For decades, many words have been taboo when discussing the business. Words like “Fake”, “Scripted” or “Predetermined” would be met with derision by some, while wrestlers could even resort to violence when confronted with accusations of trickery.
However, it is now wildly known that wrestling is scripted (some even claim that it was always known), especially after Vince McMahon told the world it was “Sports Entertainment” in the 1990s.
However, a new wrestling company came to prominence in 2019, when Tony Khan formed All Elite Wrestling with the help of Chris Jericho and The Elite.
Are AEW Matches Scripted?
AEW matches are scripted, and the content of the match is decided beforehand.
The scripts for the match are laid out backstage, with the wrestlers and the producers of the match discussing what will happen in the match.
Just like any other professional wrestling match, AEW matches are predetermined. The winner of the match is decided by the “head booker” of the promotion, who in this case is the CEO of All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan.
The booker decides who wins the match, so that the wrestlers do not fight to try and win every match, potentially ruining storylines when the “wrong” wrestler win.
Some wrestlers, like Hulk Hogan and CM Punk, have had “creative control” clauses in their contract where they can refuse any creative decision they dislike. This includes the ability to reject any match outcome, effectively giving them the chance to decide if they win or lose a match.
While AEW matches are scripted and predetermined, the level of which they are decided vary from wrestler to wrestler. Some wrestlers, like Randy Savage and DDP, liked to have their fights completely laid out before they wrestled, knowing exactly what to do in any given moment.
However, many wrestlers (like FTR’s Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood) prefer a more “old school” method of wrestling. They prefer to improvise during their matches, deciding what to do based on the reaction of the crowd. This is referred to as “calling it in the ring”.
While they may have more control of the match on the fly, the winner of the match is always determined in AEW by Tony Khan, before discussion about the match can even take place.
However, sometimes injuries may occur during a match, and the winner must be changed on the fly.
This occurred at AEW Grand Slam 2023, when Jon Moxley suffered a concussion – potentially multiple – when defending his AEW International Championship.
Referee Rick Knox allowed the match to continue, but it is theorized that the winner of the match was changed during the match.
After Rey Fenix hit his Black Fire Driver onto Moxley, the champion laid his shoulders down for the three count. However, the referee refused to count the three, as it was Moxley who was planned to win.
Notifying the referee of the change of plan, Rey Fenix planted Moxley with another piledriver and won the match, despite the plan being for Jon Moxely to win.
So, while AEW matches are scripted, and predetermined before the match, there is always a chance that the plan may have to be altered in the ring.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.