On a Friday appearance on Busted Open Radio, AEW CEO and President Tony Khan spoke about the massive release of talent WWE has made so far this year, and the differences in philosophies between AEW and WWE.
Khan said that he does not believe that anyone who signs with WWE now is signing a real contract. He referred to it as a “temporary arrangement.”
“…anybody who signs a contract there these days is not signing a real contract, in my opinion. It’s a temporary arrangement…people who come wrestle with me, a lot of these people are frankly lifers and they know that…there are some people who are here, and work really hard…there’s some people here who come in and work more than really hard. Some people come in, and I feel like this is their actual life and they will be with me for the rest of my life…I don’t know if everybody who works for my competition can say that. I think there are people who work there and they aren’t even sure they’re going to be there next week.”
Khan also went on to say he may not be able to extend every contract, or bring every person back, but he will feel really bad about it when that happens. He further stated that is one of the reasons why AEW has not let many people go since the company launch.
“…I just think there’s a lot more security with a contract here…I can’t say I’m gonna extend every contract or bring every person back, but I also through the last couple years have not been doing mass layoffs even though I’m not the most profitable company of all time. I don’t brag about being the most profitable company of all time. I do brag about bringing in a lot of revenue for a start-up and being a real success story. But what I will brag about is that we haven’t been doing mass layoffs and we haven’t fired 15 people last week or 18 people the week before that. It’s not anything to be proud of when a company lets all those people go, and when you’re putting press releases out like that frequently, I don’t think it’s a good thing. And so, to me, I don’t want to make light of that kind of thing ever….as we keep going, I think some of the people who have contracts here are going to expire, and we may eventually not be able to keep everybody. But I don’t take any pride in trying to cut costs or let people go. I really do take a lot of pride in how many people we kept working through the pandemic. So I just take a lot of pride in all the people that work here and I know that not everyone is gonna work here forever, but if somebody’s not gonna work here, please know that I’m gonna feel really, really bad about it. And that’s one of the reasons why we haven’t let a lot of people go yet, and I’ve eaten some of those costs, especially through the pandemic when there was really nowhere else to get work in wrestling. I expect AEW to be around as long as I’m alive, and hopefully I’ll have kids someday and they’ll be a part of it too. So I expect to be in the wrestling business the rest of my life, and like I said, there are people here who will be here with me for the rest of my life. I can’t say everybody will be, but there’s a lot of people like that. Then there’s a lot of people that know I would be there for them the rest of their life. So anybody who leaves AEW is leaving that…I don’t know if people on the other side have the same feeling of loyalty or family.”
You can listen to the full interview segment with Tony Khan below:
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