Tony Khan’s first reaction to the news of Vince McMahon’s retirement (which we’ve since learned was a resignation, apparently due to mounting legal & regulatory pressure caused by his hush money payments to women’s he’s had affairs with and/or allegedly abused) was somewhat lighthearted. Like many tweets from the AEW & ROH owner, it also received a very polarizing reaction.
Because the future of WWE, and the pro wrestling business in general, is a matter of great interest now that the figure that’s loomed over it for the last 40 years has left the public eye, everyone is going to be asked about it in every interview for the foreseeable future. It came up for TK again while promoting this week’s AEW shows in the Boston area.
“I believe there are a lot of great wrestling fans all over the world who are following pro wrestling closely, and there’s obviously been shake-ups. I’ve definitely followed that promotion [WWE] since I was a small kid, and it’ll be interesting to see how things turn out in the world of pro wrestling.
”I’m a big fan of pro wrestling all over the place, not just AEW and now not just Ring of Honor either. We work with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and a lot of other great companies all over the world. So, we’ll see what’s to be held for the future of the pro wrestling business, but I’m glad AEW and Ring of Honor are both a huge part of it...”
Giving it another shot, Fall theorizes that new co-CEO Stephanie McMahon and head of Talent Relations & Creative Triple H would be more open to a Forbidden Door-like crossover event between AEW & WWE. Tony’s not necessarily buying that premise, but says he’s open to the possibility:
“I’m not sure if that’s the case, but I would certainly be open to talk to pretty much any wrestling promotion in the world about how to work together if the circumstances are right.
“We’ve worked with, I would say, in terms of either securing footage or providing talent with probably a dozen companies around the world — including Ring of Honor before I was the owner...”
What’s after the ellipses in each of these quotes is Khan plugging his shows, by the way. That’s what promoters do, after all.
Beyond being professional and public relations-savvy, there’s not too much to these answers. If you want to really read between the lines, it could be interesting that TK is keeping the focus on his own companies. In the past, and even last Friday, he’s taken almost any opportunity to poke the WWE bear.
Does avoiding that here mean anything? Speculate away, and check out Steve Fall’s entire conversation with Khan here.