AEW President Tony Khan has given his thoughts as to why WWE has released so many members of their roster over the past year, saying that they’ve let good people go.
Since April, WWE has continually downsized their roster for what was given as budgetary reasons. Stars as varied as The IIconics, Braun Strowman, Lana, Bray Wyatt, as well as a whole host of others have found themselves out of a job. A “complete revamp” of NXT has been promised by WWE President Nick Khan after the black and gold brand cleared its decks somewhat, with the most recent round of releases coming in early August.
Now Tony Khan has had his say on the matter in an appearance on the Le Batard & Friends – South Beach Sessions podcast:
“Well, they had a really big roster and they’ve chosen to try to maximize their profit margins by letting talent go to reduce the amount of cost they have due to talent. So they had a lot of really good people and they’re making choices about why people have value to them. So I can’t say what number they’re trying to hit, but they’re definitely trying to hit a number there. So I think it’s about profitability, and they’re making choices I’m sure they don’t necessarily want to make, but they’ve let good people go in the process, absolutely.”
Khan then explained why he felt he was the ideal person to start up a new major wrestling company, saying he’s been booking AEW Dynamite in his head for a quarter of a century:
“I think I can actually put them over and give them some credit here because they can’t keep every wrestler under their thumb, they just couldn’t do it. They tried to sign so many people and had cast such a wide net for so long, that inevitably, somebody with money and connections was going to be able to come in and start a wrestling business. The disconnect [for any other potential start-up], would be they were probably going to have to pass it off to somebody else to run the business.”
“One of the real things I had going when we launched this company was all the institutional knowledge I’d built up over the years. You know, Dynamite is a show I’ve been writing on paper for over 25 years for 26 years, and Rampage, its sister show, is a show I conceived over 10 years ago. So I’ve been wanting to do this my whole life and I really just needed somebody to believe in me, which was TNT/WarnerMedia. I don’t think it was really possible to stop me in this case, because, you know, I would have found a media partner, I would have found wrestlers who wanted to work with me, and I would have been able to launch a show.”
Some of WWE’s released stars have already found a new home in AEW. Andrade El Idolo and Malakai Black both left WWE earlier this year and have since made their presence felt in the land of All Elite.