Since their formation in 2019, AEW have signed a number of top wrestling’s top stars, with the offer of creative freedom often serving as a major reason for talent joining Tony Khan’s ever-growing empire.
AEW World Champion CM Punk and TBS Champion Jade Cargill recently spoke to Skewed & Reviewed whilst at San Diego Comic Con, and shared their thoughts on the levels of creative freedom given to talent at AEW.
Prior to signing with AEW, Cargill reportedly also garnered interest from WWE, although states that the offer of creative freedom is one of the reasons she ended up in Jacksonville.
“That’s one of the reasons why I chose All Elite Wrestling. We have control of our character, we can represent ourselves, our real authentic self. We can work outside the company and you know everything that we’re doing is from our hearts. We’re showing you exactly who we are and who we want to be. This is what we approved you know, it’s just refreshing. I never worked for another company, but I wrestled sheer emotions. I play basketball so everything is just who I am. What you see is just an extension of who I am, and I appreciate that.”-Jade Cargill
Punk then chimed in, commenting on how Cargill’s only experience of professional wrestling has been in AEW, whereas Punk has experienced varying levels of creative freedom throughout his career, with his time in WWE offering a stark contrast to his current AEW run.
“It’s super interesting, right, to me it’s fascinating listening to somebody… she said she hasn’t worked for another company, it’s important for her to be able to work in a place where she can fully express herself. I think that’s kind of what to me, killed wrestling for so long. Everything was muted, and toned down, and based on one person’s perspective. When you can’t pick your own name, pick your own entrance music, it’s very limited, and very creatively stifling. I look at the old territory days and if you try and imply the way the other company runs things compared to the territories. You wouldn’t have The Road Warriors, you wouldn’t have Macho Man Randy Savage, you wouldn’t have these other things. As individuals, we are the ones that created the characters. Jade is Jade. We’re not trying to say ‘no, your name is Veronica Pepperstone. Some stupid ass name.”-CM Punk
Punk is currently absent from in-ring action whilst recovering from an injury, with little known about a potential time frame for a return. Cargill meanwhile, is currently undefeated in her last 35 singles/tag matches, and recently passed the 200-day mark as champion.
H/T to Fightful for the transcription