Ever since the embattled Vince McMahon forced his way back to the WWE board of directors, there has been a firestorm of talks over a possible sale. A few companies such as Comcast, Endeavor, and Fox have been rumored to be in play as buyers (as well as a wild rumor that buyers from Saudi Arabia might be interested). If there is one thing for sure, the wrestling landscape will be drastically different if the biggest wrestling (sorry, sports entertainment) company ends up under somebody’s umbrella.
In the barrage of potential buyers, one interesting name came up in a report by CNBC – AEW. There is some speculation that the Khan family would be interested in purchasing WWE, merging it, and possibly allowing Vince McMahon to have a role (although, I would highly doubt that would happen. One, the ongoing investigation, and two, Vince working for a competitor?). Although the prospect of the WWE being controlled by a competitor and the “evil empire” being conquered is a form of karma– trust me, you do not want that to happen. Creativity and competition don’t thrive under the thumb of one entity, and as much as people hate to admit it – WWE leaving the spectrum would leave a massive void in the wrestling world.
Remember on that faithful day of Mar. 26, 2011, when Vince McMahon cupped his hands and told the world he bought his competition? And then after, his son Shane McMahon showed up on a Nitro simulcast saying that he signed for it? At the time, it seemed exciting. What? WCW was (just plainly saying it) – not what it used to be and was potentially going to go through its own rebranding until the AOL/Time Warner merger said no.
There were talks of their being a separate WCW show, and in the beginning, there were different branded segments on RAW and Smackdown. Even as this was built up as an invasion angle (where ECW would join), many of the notable WCW stars didn’t end up coming over due to the massive contract buyouts it would require. Some, like Goldberg and Scott Steiner, did eventually, but not when their inclusion would be as impactful. While there were some bright spots and success stories, this didn’t work out. Even as a WWE company, anything WCW or ECW was looked at as the “younger sibling” of WCW.
People like Vince McMahon and the Khans will be fine – especially considering the potential TV rights deal coming up from WWE in 2024. However, a merger would potentially mean one less place for wrestlers and creative people to go. History tells us this would be a bad idea. Ultimately, consumers win with more choices. If you don’t like the style of wrestling WWE provides, you can seek out AEW and vice versa. Storyline presentation and writing should have different point-of-views.
Sure, places like IMPACT, NWA, and others would be around as a potential safe haven. However, there is no denying the attention and branding potential of WWE. There’s a reason why indie shows book events around Wrestlemania weekend. Everything is different now because the landscape of television has changed. Cable is almost a relic as streaming is becoming more prominent. Some never got to experience the thrill of flipping back and forth between USA and TNT on Monday nights at the apex of the Monday Night wars. AEW and WWE’s flagship shows are on different nights, but this lets wrestlers go back and forth to create other matchups we haven’t seen before.
AEW bought Ring of Honor in May of 2022, and they are still trying to figure that out. Streaming isn’t quite what it used to be, where you can sell another wrestling show like that, which would have a niche audience. It’s doubtful that this merger would happen anyway. But trust me; you don’t want it to. Yes, you might have issues with the storyline styles of the WWE, but it’s a luxury to do so because you can change the channel. Lavish that you have a choice in the matter.