Speaking on WWE’s second-quarter financials call, both Vince McMahon and Nick Khan appeared in bullish mood.
Ever since AEW launched in 2019 some fans have craved the same kind of rivalry between the fledgling company and WWE as existed between WWE and WCW through much of the 1990’s. Despite some jabs between the two, some more thinly veiled than others, both companies have generally remained civil and another “Monday Night War” has been avoided.
Although as speculation persists that AEW are set to sign former WWE Superstars CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, fans online have expected some escalation in tensions. However, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon says that the situation now is very different to that with WCW, adding that he doesn’t see AEW as competition.
“It’s certainly not a situation where it’s rising tides because Ted Turner was coming after us with all of Time Warner assets as well. It was a different situation. AEW is where they are. I don’t really know what their plans are, all I know is what our plans are. I don’t consider them competition in the way that I considered WCW back in the day. Not even near close to that. I’m not so sure what their investments are as far as their talent is concerned. Perhaps, we can give them some more.”
It should be noted that McMahon tails off slightly after this comment, making the context unclear. Nick Khan then picks up the conversation where McMahon left off.
Khan continued in much the same vein, saying that WWE don’t see any one organisation as competition.
“The way we look at these situations, it’s sort of like a horserace where the horse has blinders on. We’re looking straight ahead and in our lane and making sure we stay in front of the pack. At the same time, everything is our competition. Someone had a line a couple of weeks ago that we chuckled about, and agreed with, ‘sleep is our competition.’ If it was up to us, people would be up 24 hours a day watching content from different content providers, hopefully, including ours. We don’t look at any organization particularly as competition, yet we see everything as competitive in terms of what we’re trying to do in terms of eyeballs.”
In recent weeks and months AEW have signed multiple former WWE Superstars such as Andrade, Christian Cage, Paul Wight, Mark Henry and Malakai Black. As noted above it is also expected that CM Punk and Daniel Bryan will also follow suit.
However, one Superstar not heading to AEW is Brock Lesnar. Despite speculation to the contrary, a new reports says that Lesnar hasn’t signed a deal with the company.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.