Vince McMahon took part in WWE's quarterly investors' conference call on Thursday and was asked to give his thoughts on All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan's rising promotion based out of Jacksonville. The caller made a note of AEW's "significant investments in their roster" (recent signings include Andrade El Idolo and Aleister Black while CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are both rumored to be arriving soon) as well their progress in viewership and the target demographic (AEW Dynamite once again broke one million viewers this week). The caller closed the question by asking if "the rising tide lifts all ships" while comparing the success both WWF and WCW had in the late 90s during the Monday Night Wars. McMahon did not see AEW in that light at all.
"Well it's certainly not a situation with rising tides, that was when Ted Turner was coming at us with all of Time Warner's assets. That was a different situation. AEW is where they are," McMahon said. "I don't know what their plans are, I only know what our plans are. I don't consider them competition in the way I would consider WCW back in the day. Not anywhere near close to that. I'm not so sure what their investments are as far as their talent is concerned, but perhaps we can give them some more."
Vince says I don't consider them [AEW] a competition in the way I considered WCW back in the day. I'm not sure what their investments are.
Nick says "it's sort of like a horserace where the horse has blinders on" At the same time everything is competition. Sleep is competition.— Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) July 29, 2021
Nick Khan, WWE's president, took a much more diplomatic approach to the question, saying that all forms of entertainment are competition to the WWE. The comparisons between WCW and AEW are nothing new, but Tony Khan has openly said in the past he doesn't want to follow in the defunct company's footsteps.
"I don't want to be the next 'blank' wrestling company of the past — fill in the blank," Tony told Forbes back in mid-June. "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."
"I'm glad that WCW failed because it created a vacancy for us to come in and succeed," he later added. "But it made it a fairly bleak period for the wrestling business."