When WWE announced a “Supersized” episode of Friday Night SmackDown on FS1 next week, revealing the show would run for 2-and-a-half hours, AEW President Tony Khan was ready with a response. The fact that WWE’s flagship program would be competing directly with AEW Rampage couldn’t go without some comment, right?
All he did, really, was welcome the challenge.
He walked that remark back just a tad in his follow up, but it’s clear Khan is all about the spirit of competitiveness, if only because he recognizes the benefits it has for his business. In fact, that’s part of the model:
Twitter’s the child of the boards/chat rooms that thrived during the 90s wrestling war; part of my business plan is recreating that competitive spirit while avoiding WCW’s errors, which is why I pace/don’t blow thru matches. @AEW has many years’ worth of big matches up my sleeve.— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) October 9, 2021
That said, there’s a fine line to walk with this kind of thing. One of the aforementioned errors WCW made was focusing too much on its rivalry with WWE. To that end, Khan has also made clear he won’t go as far as Eric Bischoff once did:
Dude, people online were absolutely furious over that in 98. Eric already had crazy online heat before that too. I’ll never take it that far; I’ve never claimed I could physically best Vince, I just think AEW can put on a better wrestling show than them & I want people to know it— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) October 9, 2021
Legitimate competition is something WWE has long needed, and AEW is giving it to them. We should all welcome Khan’s zest to rise to the challenge that is competing with Vince McMahon and WWE.