AEW Reportedly Bans Moves And Institutes New Rules

AEW is known for taking chances and presenting a much edgier product than its most notable competition, WWE. This coming Wednesday, the renegade promotion will present Blood & Guts. This WarGames-inspired match took its name from a 2019 WWE investor call where Vince McMahon noted his company didn’t need to present “blood and guts” as part of its product in contrast to the Tony Khan upstart. All Elite Wrestling jumped on the line and has gone on to present some brutal matches inside their double-wide cell.

Fightful reports that despite its anything-goes presentation, AEW has begun instituting some rules to protect their wrestlers and fans in attendance. An internal document has begun to make the rounds among All Elite talent, outlining protocols that the AEW medical team, coaches, and referees have put together to help minimize risks. Notably, chair shots to the head are banned, as are shots to the back of the head, buckle bombs, and any “blind” moves where you move backward into the turnbuckle.

Fencing responses, the unnatural position of your arms after a concussion, and seizure selling are also off-limits now, something that Bryan Danielson has played with in the past. Bodily fluids have also been reigned in as spitting is no longer allowed, nor is bleeding while in the crowd or throwing bloody items into the crowd. It was also relayed that no weapons or projectiles are to be hurled toward the audience, along with the guidance that fans are not to be engaged physically in general, including taking their food or drinks, something MJF has engaged in.

A broad array of other moves and interactions that are no longer allowed but occasionally permitted were also laid out. The caveat to this set of rules is that the medical team and coaches can approve of their use, but they must be performed in line with safety protocols.

Below are the verbatim moves and interactions listed in the document that fit that criteria, per the report.

  • Spots and bumps on the ring apron and outside
  • Table/ladder/chair spots in and out of the ring (Only allowed with padding)
  • Any elevated spots outside of the barricades (dives and ladder spots on stage, around the arena, and other places outside of the ring)
  • All piledriver/tombstone variations, including: sit down drivers, inverted/poison hurricarana and vertebreakers
  • High-risk dives or top rope moves (450, 630, double moonsaults, SSP, etc.) Intentional bleeding (of any sort, not just blading)
  • Throwing people into/through/over ring steps, commentary table, bell table, or guardrails/barricades Weapon usage:
  • Chairs, pipes, kendo sticks, hammers, ring bells, bats, chains, etc. Title belts
  • Thumbtacks, skewers, barbed wire, and other sharp/puncturing objects or powders, aerosol sprays, or liquids
  • Throwing any weapons or objects- chairs, etc.
  • Choking/strangling with hands or a weapon or hanging spots
  • Injury spots or angles, whether or not medical is involved/called to the ring
  • Any physicality in the crowd or crowd brawling
  • Any physicality involving referees, managers, extras, celebrities, or special guests

Talent is being encouraged to give the coaches and medical team as much notice as possible when coming up with creative stunts and spots. The timing of implementing these new rules is interesting, as it coincides with AEW inching nearer to a longer and more lucrative relationship with Warner Brothers Discovery.