REPORT: Ben Carter signs with WWE

I don’t want to vilify them for anything. I want them to live their dreams and be successful. I love WWE. I want all these guys to go to WWE and all have dream matches and all be used proper and make as much money as possible.

But I have 20 years of it just not happening like that, for many of the performers. So I can’t have sympathy for these guys who bitch and complain when they leave.

Well it depends on the performer. I’m sure people like AJ, Becky, Charlotte, Roman, Drew, Seth etc love it there. Even someone like MVP is probably loving it. Depends on the performer.

I hear you in regards to the sympathy part, though I don’t think the wrestlers are asking for sympathy.

Injuries are a thing, so you take that 60k and blow out your knee before you earn more then you get $60k. Also some people need mo way now to support family etc. Betting on yourself that you might earn more later isn’t always the right move for everyone.


The counterpoint to this argument that I haven’t seen made yet by another poster is that both sports and pro-wrestling is a high risk job.

Any wrestlers career could be ended in one mistake in a match and they only have maybe 10-15 years to do it full time at an extremely high level before bodies start breaking down and injuries become more common.

Every young wrestler should absolutely be signing with WWE to earn a nest egg they can fall back on in case they get injured. If a young wrestler signs a five year contract when they are 25 then it will be over with at 30 and they then have lots of options available to them and have some financially stability.

There’s a big difference between signing with WWE for the first time and being there 15 years like Dolph Ziggler and complaining about how your used.


Lol you just made my point as I was typing it it.

This has spiraled and I am obviously a capitalist who has gone on to argue things such as WWE should be running for talent who need or want the work and choose to risk their health, etc.
that said, my position against guys signing there is that it just is evidence for the eventual argument as to why WWE is allowed to keep their talent classified as is and co TJ UE to devalue the worth or workers:

Future government: Youre talent needs to be reclassified and you have to do X Y Z.
WWE: hey don’t tell us it’s unfair to talent, when given the choice talent signs here and has recently so it must not be that bad, etc.

Don’t make the other sides argument for them is all I’m saying and new signees accepting the new terms of agreements do just that.

It’s ironic that people are getting angry at a guy supposedly picking “money over satisfaction” (obviously, opinions) to sign with WWE, when the news in that story that seems pretty important here is that…he worked AEW for free?

That seems notable for a few reasons. First of all, isn’t that what got Evolve in hot water a year ago? I know we’re in a different time and place right now and there’s always “reasons” why someone might be in favor or against a specific iteration happening, but both are kind of explained the same way - talent getting a shot they otherwise wouldn’t have.

And just taking that as a baseline and not really sharing what my opinion on "being paid in “experience and exposure” is, doesn’t that run contrary to the idea of a guy just running towards the money?

I know if someone’s instinct is negativity towards WWE, that’s a great explanation for what happened here. I don’t even blame someone feeling that way or for that educated guess! But what we’ve found out since - that he’s probably going to NXT UK - also probably goes against this very thought as well. He’s about as far away from Vince McMahon as possible. He’s also working for their…what…Double A club approximate? We think they’re handing out golden deals to be taped wrestling once a month over there? Something doesn’t really equate there.

Anyway, if someone like Johnny Gargano can have entirely satisfying careers in NXT alone, there’s no reason why a guy like Carter can’t hope for that either. We have no idea what his dreams and goals are. He found an opportunity. I hope it goes well.

Lord though it must be frustrating to have people who have seen you wrestle a handful of times criticize you upon making the biggest professional decision of your life.

From what I’ve read, the “working for free” was a result of Visa issues. They couldn’t legally pay him.

Maybe he also wants to be with his trainer, I know I would.

This is the great dilemma facing the pro wrestling profession. While WWE tries to devalue their talents worth they can simply sign individuals who want to get paid whatever for their services. This is an instance where unions would fight against employers on the behalf of all talent. But at the same time, the more the profession of pro wrestler becomes commoditized (And that’s been accelerated with less promotions able to run in the Covid era) there is always going to be talent willing to do more for less. That’s what I am against. But it’s inevitable in the business it would seem until talent band together in a meaningful way.

Catching up on some other points: I guess what this comes own to is whether or not as supporters of the talent, we choose to gripe when WWE does things like eat into their out of ring earnings (i.e. third party deals) OR if we take a position that the talent is getting paid by WWE and therefore subject to anything WWE says or does, making them somewhat indentured to WWE, despite the classification of Independent Contractor.

IF I wanted to argue with myself, I’d say, WWE Talent will get paid exactly what they are worth, as deemed by the largest employer in the industry - likely above market value from other promotions - and if WWE decides to force them into more services, more trips across the world, less freedoms to pursue other avenues of income, they deserve that because the are also getting paid by WWE. Really if they were signing at-will employment contracts, the argument would be mute. This all stems from a classifications of talent and whether or not future talent understand what they are signing up for.

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I’m not saying that I’m against wrestlers working for free, nor employers offering the opportunity if that’s all they can do (for whatever reason), but ultimately the effect the same - monetizing a wrestler who wasn’t paid. It’s a little more invasive if you consider he was used on an actual TNT program instead of just Youtube. It’s a guy not getting paid for something AEW benefits monetarily from.

Like I said, each case of this is different than the other, but it’s frankly a bit odd for some fans to think one company is taking advantage of a price on a wrestler and another isn’t (and also isn’t limited to just these two companies…they’re just more exposed due to popularity). Ultimately, we should be weary of any business run by extremely rich people where we don’t really know the ins and outs of what they’re doing, no matter how long they’ve existed.

But also, Carter made a decision to sign somewhere. And we have no idea under what circumstances, or what he’s being paid, or what his future is. And it’s being somewhat criticized under general terms, so…seems perfectly fine to question those generalities while we’re functioning only in that scope and applying them more universally.

Doesn’t the WWE have an entire network using this policy?


One company has now put restrictions on an individuals ability to earn income outside of their business. I’m not sure why that is odd to think…it’s a factual statement. WWE has said it’s talent has to share income earned outside their company. Hence: “doing more for less”.

For new talent to sign there, whatever the personal circumstances is, it is an endorsement of this type of treatment and furthers WWEs case against any potential regulatory change in the future. It’s an admission that WWE has a right to do this because new talent are willingly signing such deals.

Think about the profession you work in and whether new employees agreeing to less conducive terms to you would be viewed favorably. It becomes a race to the bottom. How much can we get an employee to do while paying them less, and if we can keep getting talent this way, then it further supports the model.

If any company did this I’d have the same reaction.

To point out AEW using talent on Youtube, that is not mandated via an employment term. That is optional as to whether a talent wants to be on BTE or be on DARK and usually in the best interest of the performer to increase their profile and try to get over. What does AEW do to force talent to do more for less?
ADDING to this line of thinking: If a talent appears on AEW Dark and then gets booked on an Indy promotion because they got their name out there, AEW is not (to my knowledge) taking a cut of that revenue; nor are they sharing in the freelance wrestler’s merch sales if they are not sponsoring the production of said merch (obviously if they pay for the merch to be made, they should rightfully receive a cut). I’m just not sure what can be pointed to as an example of any company outside WWE in wrestling forcibly devaluing their labor supply.


Good points throughout. A union also wouldn’t have let Ben Carter work for free.

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Depends on whether somebody like Ben Carter would have qualified for a Union or Association membership when he decided to work in AEW. If he was not under contract and brought in as a freelancer, I think the working for free thing is totally fair game.
Take a newspaper union: it doesn’t step in on behalf of interns to negotiate wages as that is an understood exchange of services for experience, or in this case of Ben Carter/AEW, exchange of services for experience and visibility. In that exchange, AEW got somebody to wrestle a match and Ben Carter got his name out there more than it was, resulting in another organization offering him a deal. Just like non-wrestling industries. If AEW doesn’t find value in using him more or signing him to guaranteed money, they risk losing him. That would never extend to the entire workforce because you’d not be able to build a viable national promotion at scale with all freelance wrestlers.

I’d challenge anyone looking to debate this to first run the argument through whatever field they work in first. How would this shake out in an industry other than Pro Wrestling. One talent signing with WWE under the new terms is not going to make a shift. Heck, multiple talents doing it won’t either. However, where does that trend ultimately lead and is it good for the future talent pool or a court battle with the government trying to step in the issue.

—END of my contribution to this debate unless I’m @'ed—

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I think a wrestlers union would be much more like an actors union where it would want to cover all talent being employed, otherwise what prevents the companies from undercutting the union by bringing in contractors? At the very least the union would want to set the rates at which the contractors get paid to keep them from undercutting union talent.

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He’s signed a contract with WWE. Good for him.

The fact people expect wrestlers, that want to make living out of wrestling, to care about internet tribalism over wrestling is hilarious. And why are people talking as if he threw away the chance to be pushed to the moon on AEW…? Was that really his other choice?

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We don’t know what choices Ben Carter had or will have in the future.

For now, WWE can afford to park talent, which is what they have been doing for several years now.

If Carter is happy doing that, being parked, while getting a (relative to WWE Raw or Smackdown or even NXT returnee) small salary, then good for him.

However, Carter strikes me as yes another guy who is too small for Vince McMahon, who will want to type him as some sort of undersized oddity. Until there is a new guy calling shots at WWE, I don’t see why Carter will do any better than Ricochet has done in WWE.

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