• 10/11/2021 (11:48:17 am)
  • Bob Mulrenin

With AEW, 38-year-old CEO Tony Khan has built the first real threat to Vince McMahon’s WWE in more than two decades. Inside the billionaire vs. billionaire smackdown.

Khan started AEW with a major investment from his father, billionaire Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, that was reported to be up to $100 million. Its first three months on TNT were successful enough to secure a four-year, $175 million deal with WarnerMedia to air Wednesday night Dynamite, a title he picked a quarter-century ago when he sketched out episodes in his junior high notebook. The two-hour program has shaken pro wrestling’s power structure by going head-to-head with—and beating—McMahon’s WWE.

The pro wrestling business, of course, was built on such mock machismo, but Khan has shied away from actively trash talking the competition since launching AEW in 2019. Perhaps because of his babyface personality, his tone in the video came across as more tongue in cheek than piledriver. And Khan would be wise not to gloat too early. After two years of modest growth, AEW is still experiencing early growing pains while trying to avoid the grim fate of everyone else who has dared to challenge Vince McMahon’s WWE over the past four decades—but he has already made a big impact on professional wrestling.


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