I absolutely love AEW and I respect the hell out of everything that Tony Khan has been able to accomplish in the few short years that it’s been around, but the Khan family buying WWE gets the hardest of hard nos from this guy.
Wrestling has only just started recovering from the damage done by having been a virtual monopoly for the better part of the last 20 years. A “good” monopoly is still a monopoly, which is to say that even if the Khans did their absolute best to do everything right, it would still be a step backward in the long-term. NO matter what, it would mean less work for wrestlers and less choice for fans. Yes, I know that there are a million small to medium sized wrestling promotions around the world. That’s great and I love it. But none of them ever have or ever will dominate the market like WWE has just by virtue of being huge and having lots of money. We’ve seen that play out for decades now. An AEW run WWE, while perhaps being more creatively enjoyable, would ultimately put us right back in that spot. Try not to forget how much that spot sucks.
I feel for Triple H and Stephanie, too. If they want to keep the business in the family, they should get every chance to do that and to sink or swim on their own. The place isn’t exactly hurting for cash, so it’s not as though a sale should even be necessary. It’s something that, from the outside, seems driven almost entirely by greed. That shouldn’t surprise me as a citizen of the world who understands how things tend to work, but that doesn’t mean it’s right or that I have to like it. So many good things in life are ruined by this idea that you have to wring as much monetary value out of them as you can in the shortest amount of time, product quality and hardworking people be damned. I’ve seen it happen to things I care about over and over again, and it’s never not disappointing. I would love for wrestling, one of my favourite things in the world, to not go down that path any further than it maybe already has.
Axios reports that former WWE co-CEO Stephanie McMahon and current chief content officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque opposed plans to sell the company, according to its sources.
Stephanie resigned from the company on Tuesday, four days after Vince McMahon returned to the company as executive chairman of the board of directors.
Elsewhere, both Barron’s and CNBC reported Thursday that AEW’s Tony Khan and Shad Khan have been linked to WWE’s “strategic alternatives” process as potential buyers for the company.
Barron’s states that AEW is a potential buyer, but “…the Khans will likely look for a financial partner to acquire the asset.”
CNBC couches a potential AEW and WWE merger as a longshot, but notes that the Khans would be open to discussing a continued role for executive chairman McMahon should AEW and WWE merge: