SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Tony Khan, speaking to Hank Tucker of Forbes, said he was glad WCW failed because it created the vacancy for AEW to come in and succeed. Tucker profiled Khan and AEW, with comments from Khan, his father Shahid Khan, Cody Rhodes, and Brett Weitz (general manager of TNT, TBS, and truTV).
Tucker discussed Khan’s lifelong wrestling fandom, citing Khan overseeing internet message boards as a youth and dressing up as “Macho Man” Randy Savage for Halloween well into adulthood. Khan also spoke on his dad taking him to an ECW show in 1996 as a reward for taking an entrance exam and enrolling in the University of Illinois Laboratory High School. Khan said his father thought the show was a “mix between an underground rock show and a cult.”
Tucker then discussed Khan’s plan to start AEW. Khan said by 2018, he knew the contracts were up for Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, and Rhodes, and “all he needed was tens of millions of dollars to hire wrestlers and lay the groundwork for AEW.” This led to Khan receiving a reported 100 million dollars from his father to start AEW and how that led to the four-year 175 million dollar deal with Turner Media. On the investment he made in his son, the elder Khan said, “But I told Tony, ‘Look, when I’m dead and gone, I’m going to be leaving you and your sister a lot of money. Why don’t you blow some of that while I’m alive?’”
Tucker then discussed the unveiling of Rampage and the eventual move of Dynamite and Rampage to TBS in 2022 as part of their deal with Turner Media. Tucker noted AEW will be in the red this year only due to video game investments, but that business has gone well for AEW.
He also used this time to direct criticisms at WWE, saying their first counter-attack against AEW “failed miserably” with NXT’s move to Tuesday nights, or “retreated” as Tucker wrote. Tucker also wrote that the nearly 44 million dollars AEW received from TNT last year is a “rounding error” compared to WWE’s 974 million in revenue. Lastly, he quoted Rhodes, who said, “It’s not written as if it’s a soap opera,” says Rhodes. “Tony hired some of the best wrestlers in the world and he doesn’t change who they are.”
However, the piece ended with Khan saying, “There’s no reason why there only needs to be one wrestling company.”