Tony Khan was at the center of a new Forbes article chronicling the rise of All Elite Wrestling on Tuesday. The story recapped a number of AEW's early successes while also listing out the millions of dollars in earnings and expenses the promotion has seen so far. The feature also talked about where AEW fits in the landscape of modern pro wrestling, bringing up the comparisons to the last major promotion that tried to rival the WWE here in the United States — WCW. AEW hasn't shied away from some of those WCW comparisons, reviving events like Bash at the Beach and referencing historical matches from the company's past, but Khan made it clear he never wants AEW to be known as "the next WCW."
"I don't want to be the next 'blank' wrestling company of the past — fill in the blank," Khan said. "We love wrestling of the past, wrestling of the present and wrestling of the future... That's what gives us a great chance to retain and gain audience share."
He also noted that, ironically, the downfall of WCW in 2001 was what eventually paved the way for AEW to step forward as an alternative promotion.
"I'm glad that WCW failed because it created a vacancy for us to come in and succeed," Khan said "but it made it a fairly bleak period for the wrestling business."
The story also mentioned the promo Khan cut on WWE president Nick Khan after reports broke that WWE was trying to become exclusive partners with New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
Ahead of tonight’s Live #AEWDynamite at 10pm ET/9pm CT, and #AEWDoN on ppv Sunday, AEW Owner/President @TonyKhan, aka the Forbidden Door, addressed rumors of a relationship between @WWE & @njpwglobal, + what this means to @AEW! Watch Dynamite tonight LIVE coming up on @TNTdrama! pic.twitter.com/atFTSrvyqZ— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) May 29, 2021
Khan made an appearance on Busted Open Radio last Friday, where he responded to Triple H's bold claim from last week's media conference call that, "the best female performers in the world are in WWE, and if they're not, they want to be."
"I think we already had, in my opinion, the best roster in wrestling," Khan said. "And I don't think there is anything wrong with - look, everybody's building their own roster. They're gonna have good feelings about the people they work with. I don't think there is anything wrong with saying you think you have the best show or the best company. I think where people got offended yesterday was when he [Triple H] said everybody wants to work there.
"People are confusing the two things," he added. "If you want to say, 'Hey, I think my show is the best. I think our product's the best,' there's nothing wrong with that. You should feel that way. That's good. But when you say 'Everybody wants to work here, anybody of any value wants to work here,' that's just not true. It's crazy. There's plenty of people that work in AEW that have no interest in working there."