Tony Khan Says AEW And WWE “Truly Hate Each Other”

Tony Khan Says AEW And WWE "Truly Hate Each Other"

Tony Khan Says AEW And WWE “Truly Hate Each Other” – The AEW president was a guest on The Dan Le Batard Show recently and spoke about the tumultuous relationship his company has had with WWE. Khan mentioned allegations of WWE executives tampering with contracted AEW talent and WWE seeking an exclusive partnership with NJPW in 2021 as examples of the “wrestling war.” 

Khan said:

I’ve had a lot of wrestlers come to me and allege that WWE reached out to them to tamper with their contracts and ask them to break their contracts. I can’t confirm that specifically. I can only tell you what the wrestlers have come to me and said but I’ve had multiple wrestlers and staff report that to me. It was very disturbing. I’ve had to go out and try to put on good shows despite this alleged tampering and stuff like that. Frankly, I don’t think it’s stopped us because the quality of the product and the quality of the shows is at an all-time high right now.

Khan held a talent meeting in August 2021 to address the allegations. He said that Chief Legal Officer Megha Parekh sent an email to Nick Khan and Stephanie McMahon before the meeting telling them “not to tamper” with AEW talent.

Again, I don’t know if these things have happened, I only know what people have come to me and alleged. But I do know that it’s a real war between AEW and WWE and the fans are interested in it and that was part of the original business model of AEW, was I knew wrestling fans, frankly, are very interested in wrestling free agency and wrestling wars. And I believed we could create a free agent market that is definitely a real thing now and that would be a big part of the story.

Khan would continue to say that the “wrestling war” between WWE and AEW leads to exciting television.

I think wrestling fans, at the end of the day, appreciate that a lot of what happens in wrestling shows is sometimes story and that’s why people like watching the shows, they like the stories and the exciting matches and especially the combination of the two when the stories lead to exciting matches and vice versa. Now, what’s interesting is the story that is the most real, the most intense, and the most hatred in all of pro wrestling is that between the two wrestling promotions. I think we truly, truly hate each other and I think it makes for really exciting TV and it makes for an exciting wrestling war.

When asked for an example of the hatred that exists between the two companies, Khan spoke about the reports from May 2021 that WWE was seeking an exclusive partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling.

About two years ago, there was a rumor I read on the internet that my business partner, New Japan Pro Wrestling, had gotten a phone call from Nick Khan about switching over to work with them. And I was really just getting started with New Japan, we’d only been working together a short time and that also had been, frankly, a tumultuous relationship but it was getting pretty good and to this day it is an amazing partnership.

I called the New Japan executives and said, ‘Is this true? Did WWE call you and try to get you to turn on me? And they said, ‘Yeah.’ And I said, ‘Okay, well, are we still doing the stuff we had planned?’ Because at the time we had a match set up for Wednesday Night Dynamite where there was going to be a New Japan title match in AEW. It was the first of many of those such matches. And they told me, ‘No, we don’t trust them, we want to work with you and we want to stay with you.’ And ever since, our relationship has been incredibly positive.

Again, I don’t know if that’s true or not, I only know what my business partner alleged to me and what I read on the internet and they were both the same thing. So, following up on that, if that’s the case, I know they’re out there to get me, I know they’re out there to hurt AEW’s relationships with our business partners, if that’s the case, allegedly. And it made me want to work that much harder to make AEW stronger and that ended up being the biggest year for growth we’ve ever had.

At the end of the interview, Khan was asked to “say all the things that would get aggregated.” Khan responded:

I mentioned that AEW and WWE, it is a real hatred and competition, I think that will probably get picked up.

He also added:

I’ve never had this kind of support and interest in AEW on a business level, sponsorship and licensing since this Bloomberg story that came out about AEW last week.

It was the best coverage I think we’ve had in the business world and it’s really raised a lot of eyebrows and I’ve never had more interest in partnership, and sponsorship, and licensing for AEW.

Tony Khan Says AEW And WWE “Truly Hate Each Other”

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