AEW is able to extend a wrestler's contract when they have been out of action due to injury.
Dave Meltzer addressed the issue in Friday's edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
"If you are wondering if when guys are out of action if AEW can extend their contract like WWE does, their contracts do allow for that and it has happened," Meltzer wrote.
Perhaps the most notable example of WWE "freezing a contract" involves Rey Mysterio in May of 2014. Mysterio's contract was set to expire but WWE extended it by a year due to the time he missed while injured. The company eventually granted him his release in February 2015. Mysterio then began performing for AAA and later Lucha Underground.
WWE's ability to freeze a contract also applied to Bryan Danielson's status with the company in 2016. Meltzer wrote about Danielson's situation in the February 15, 2016 edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
"Vince McMahon told [Danielson] he wouldn’t release him. Worse, he couldn’t even sit patiently by, let his injuries heal, get in shape, and wait for his contract to expire. The WWE in its contracts has the right that if a wrestler is injured for a considerable length of time, that they can freeze the time frame of his or her contract. The time left on the contract doesn’t start rolling until they are ready to work in the ring and fulfill it as an active wrestler."
In Danielson's case, however, he was not cleared to perform and could seemingly never work out the end of his deal.
"Danielson’s time left on his contract was frozen until he could return," Meltzer continued. "But, the ice age would never end, since he could never be cleared to return and fulfill that time left. He would get paid his downside guarantee until the company made the decision to fire him."