We are just in the second week of 2023 and we have a lot news regarding the world of profesional wrestling, and the biggest news of 2023 so far has been the return of Vince McMahon to WWE after being away for several months. While we can talk about the direct impact that Vince McMahon’s return has on WWE, an interesting perspective to analyze is that of AEW and Tony Khan regarding all this.
While AEW and WWE are direct competitors, they also have a symbiotic relationship, with things that affect one promotion do have an impact on the other, directly and indirectly, and the news of Vince McMahon is the case. The return of Vince McMahon to positions of power in WWE is some of the best news AEW and Tony Khan could’ve received to start this new year.
When Vince McMahon “retired” after the allegations made about him, the trio of Stephanie McMahon, Nick Khan and Paul Levesque took a front step and took over on most of Vince’s duties, with Stephanie and Nick Khan taking over some aspects of the business side of WWE, and with Paul Levesque taking over the creative side of things in WWE’s main roster (RAW & SmackDown). Up on till the return of Vince, the trios of Khan-Levesque-McMahon were handling things alright and WWE was able to live without Vince for almost 7 months.
As mentioned before, Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan took over some of the business side of things of Vince’s work, Levesque was in charge of creative in the main roster; and one of his first decisions was to try to sign as many ex-WWE wrestlers as he could, even those under AEW contracts. Paul Levesque contacting AEW contracted wrestlers created a bit of chaos backstage and AEW wasn’t at their best at this time and even AEW’s legal time had to call WWE to stop from contacting AEW contracted wrestlers considering it was getting close into contract tampering, and a possible lawsuit. While Levesque was trying to sign back some of the wrestlers AEW was able to sign, Levesque was also interested on those who remained free agents and that’s how we saw a lot of return of all of former under Levesque’s run as head of creative in WWE.
Months have passed and things backstage in AEW are back to normal, and with Vince McMahon return, AEW doesn’t have to worry, at least for now, about Levesque and his intentions of getting back released talent. When Vince’s return was official, Tony Khan even joked about it on Twitter, especially keeping in mind that with Vince return to WWE might stop for a while.
The return of Vince McMahon opens a pandora’s box of possible mass releases due to “budget cuts”, especially if his intentions of selling WWE are true, or even by the fact he doesn’t like a large roster and doesn’t view AEW as a direct competitor as Levesque and others do. People on social media are now speculating which wrestlers might be released soon.
A major positive aspect for AEW with Vince McMahon’s return to WWE is regarding signing indie wrestlers and free agents. WWE right now will not be looking to sign wrestlers for a while and will most likely start downsizing, as mentioned before, this puts AEW in a pole position to sign any wrestler they want out there. Even helps them regarding extending contracts with wrestlers, as working with WWE doesn’t look as a stable job as it did under Levesque’s regimen these last few months in WWE.
These next few months are going to be key for AEW and WWE; if Vince actually returns to creative, there’s no doubts any wrestlers will be released and others ending their contract with WWE will be looking other options and AEW