wrestling / News

Tony Khan Says AEW and WWE Are Worth More If They’re Competing

October 14, 2021 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Impact Wrestling Tony Khan Tony Schiavone

In an interview with the New York Post, AEW President Tony Khan spoke about Rampage going head-to-head with Smackdown tomorrow night and how competition benefits both companies. Here are highlights:

On calling out WWE in a tweet last week: “From the beginning of the launch of AEW, before we even had TV, a lot of the strategy was rallying the fans on the internet, rallying the fans online around the company and our wrestlers. And people really liked AEW, the people who watch the shows, they like the wrestlers. We have a very positive sentiment and in the position that we’re in, like I said, actions speak louder than words and I’ve always wanted everyone to watch all the wrestling they want. So if somebody’s going to put a show head to head with us I want people to know, very much in the spirit of wrestling competition. (With) the “Monday Night Wars” there was a lot of pride in the companies and people wore that on their sleeve. In this case, there are a lot of AEW fans and a lot of them are online. That’s how we were built, through a digital fan base.

We can build a big audience for this weekend. We’ve never had anything like this before with three hours of live wrestling on TNT on a weekend other than a pay-per-view. There are a ton of things happening at this time of year, there’s a lot of sports. There’s a lot of competition outside of wrestling. So if we’re going to start trying to directly head-to-head compete with each other at this time of year where there are all these other things happening in sports, let’s go. I’m not the one who threw the gloves off, but if somebody has to do the talking and sell the fight I will be the one to do it. In this case, I am doing all the talking and all the selling of the fight. I do think we need to go back to an era where there is all this excitement about the shows. It’s clearly built buzz because a lot of people are talking about it.

We got a great opportunity to draw people on the weekend in a new position for us. Rampage has launched very recently and we’ve had this great run of Wednesdays where we’ve had six straight weeks as the No. 1 show on all of cable television on Wednesday. And now Dynamite is being moved to a relatively unfamiliar Saturday night time slot. Three hours of weekend wrestling is very different. I put together the Buy In as a response, but that took some time. I wasn’t able to do that right away. So I wanted to let people know the gloves are off.”

On trying to create competition between the companies: “In wrestling, we’re worth more against each other and we’re better off against each other. I believe there is greater value in the wrestling market when we’re fighting and people want to see competition in wrestling. I think it’s one of the reasons people lost interest in wrestling was because there was not true competition for 20 years. Now with AEW in the mix and competition back in wrestling, I think there are more people excited about wrestling than there have been in a long time with the free-agent movement and good shows. At the end of the day, it has to be good shows. Through the 90s there were a lot of great wrestling shows. Every week, every month there would be great stories and great matches and you couldn’t miss it. I think it’s starting to get that way again.”

On if he’d be interested in talking with Bray Wyatt for AEW: “Yeah. I really like Windham (Rotunda). I know him a little bit and I really enjoy him. The last time I saw him was at Chris Jericho’s birthday party and that was a long time ago. I like him as a person very much and he’s a really talented person. At the right time and place, sure I’d be interested to talk to him. I’m interested to talk to him in general because he’s a great person.”

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Tony Khan, Joseph Lee