One of the many narratives that’s emerged from the unprecedented past week in pro wrestling is that Triple H’s return to power at WWE makes it a much more attractive landing spot for future free agents. A recent rumor even said that wrestlers who have signed with AEW in the past year or so might have remained with WWE had The Game and Stephanie McMahon been in charge instead of Vince McMahon.
During one of his regular appearances on Busted Open today (July 27), AEW & Ring of Honor owner Tony Khan pushed back on that. He also clarified that two of the ex-WWE talents he’s signed are on five year deals and not going anywhere any time soon:
“There’s a lot of changes in pro wrestling. I think it’s gonna to be really positive for the fans overall. I am a little amused that changes in the competition, people think it’s just gonna magically change the landscape. Like, some of these accounts — Twitter can be a very fun place to follow, but some of the narratives I’ve seen every day for the last week are really amusing to me.
“I’ve got people signed here for five years, and people think that just cause the guy — the CEO, the Chairman, the head of creative, those positions changed in the competition, people I have five-year contracts with are just magically gonna switch teams? Like, good luck with that.
“Adam Cole is signed into about 2027 now. So I wouldn’t expect to see him going anywhere anytime soon. Malakai Black’s got like almost five years left on his deal. I wouldn’t expect to see him going anywhere anytime soon. So just because these guys had some success under a previous administration somewhere else, they’re not magically going to be going anywhere. Those are two people I really like, just as examples of people that have worked under that previous administration.
“I’m very amused by that. That’s a narrative I see so-called wrestling writers pushing every day. It’s pretty amusing.”
His answer mostly sidesteps the actual issue, as no one has claimed people under contract will be asking for their release to go work for Papa Haitch again. But he does plant other seeds of his sales pitch to actual current free agents elsewhere in the interview. For instance, TK also sought to differentiate his approach of working with other promotions and allowing talent to work non-televised independent dates “rather than go and try to shut ‘em down,” which was a criticism of NXT’s approach to smaller feds during Triple H’s last run in charge of WWE Developmental.