News of Vince McMahon retiring from WWE shook the wrestling world on its side Friday afternoon, quickly becoming one of the most talked about stories in the history of the business. Many shared their opinion on the news as it happened but no one’s reaction was heard louder than AEW Owner Tony Khan, who openly gloated about Vince’s retirement.
Khan claimed that he had now become “the longest-tenured CEO in pro wrestling,” while also promoting AEW Rampage later on that night. Wrestling fans have seen Khan take subtle shots at WWE in the past, questioning Vince’s habit of ripping up WWE scripts and also mocking their move to have WWE Money in the Bank the same day as UFC 276. As to why he decided to take another shot at the 77-year-old and the WWE, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman asked the AEW CEO during the ROH Death Before Dishonor Media Scrum.
“I was referencing that AEW Rampage was on and just the fact that of the big major companies, who I would consider ‘The big three,’ now I am the longest tenured [CEO] of course,” Khan said. “I think if you consider pro wrestling, it’s a fair statement. I just thought it’s a factual statement, a note to promote Rampage but that’s all it was. I can’t say anything else about it.
“Obviously hopefully got some eyeballs on Rampage and I really care about Rampage a lot. On a Friday, sometimes I will try to promote Rampage in fun ways.”
The retirement of Vince comes at a peculiar time for the 77-year-old as he’s currently under investigation for a series of hush money payments worth over $12 million that he reportedly made to former female employees of WWE. The payments were said to have been made to “silence” the females involved over potential accusations of misconduct, harassment, and abuse towards McMahon and former Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis.
Since the news dropped, Nick Khan and Stephanie McMahon have been named co-CEOs of WWE while Paul Levesque, aka Triple H, will be taking over as EVP of Talent Relations in replace of Laurinaitis. It was also reported that the decision to have Vince retire amidst these allegations came about a week ago and wasn’t decided over night.