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Could WWE's Recently Released Superstars Land At AEW? CEO Tony Khan Speaks Out

Tony Khan in the ring on AEW: Dynamite
(Image credit: AEW)

The WWE released another big batch of wrestlers this past week, and as usual, speculation is afoot regarding where each of the newly freed superstar may end up in the future. As it goes these days, the AEW is a potential home for Karrion Kross, Nia Jax, and/or any of the numerous names dropped from Vince McMahon's brand, but will any of them actually end up with the WWE's most direct competition? Luckily for those curious, AEW’s CEO Tony Khan shared his thinking on the matter. 

Tony Khan, who already poached a good deal of talent from the WWE, admitted to PWTorch (via WrestlingInc.Com) that of the numerous athletes who were let go from the rival organization over the weekend, he does theoretically have his eye on a few of them. While Khan didn’t specificy any particular superstar earning a guaranteed home at AEW just yet, he did indicate he’s interested in potentially signing a few, saying:

I do see a few in this wave. I don’t want to say who or when I would be interested in them, but I think there’s a few very interesting people they’ve just let go. The same goes in the last wave, and the wave before that, and the wave before that. So, each time they let, let’s say 20 people go, I think there’s a few interesting ones for AEW, and this was no exception to that.

It’s not surprising that Tony Khan was a proper businessman and wasn’t willing to drop any names of who he’d be interested in. AEW tends to keep its contract deals and negotiations close to the vest, but even if that wasn't the case, many of the WWE’s wrestlers are under a non-compete clause for a number of days. Meaning it doesn’t benefit AEW's head honcho to say he wants a former Superstar like Keith Lee, thus hypothetically inflating their value for other organizations to try and pull them away for a higher price. 

Tony Khan went on to talk more about the recent releases (which could very well continue) and the impact it has on the talented athletes themselves. Khan noted that these massive roster cuts, while horrible for the WWE and its talent, have historically worked out for AEW. Khan made sure to treat the newly jobless wrestlers with proper reverence, but could not exactly deny that his organization benefits from these massive cuts over time. 

Every time they cut like 20 people, let’s just say, it’s terrible. Every time somebody loses a job it’s affecting them, it’s affecting people around them. Some of these people, for all I know, might have wanted to leave, but I think in general these people probably did not so it’s terrible when anybody loses their work, I feel for them. Each and everyone counts. I’m going to take a ballpark number and I’m not trying to make light of anything because everyone counts, and I know this is probably not the exact amount of people, but every time they let, let’s say as a ballpark, they let 20 people go, there’s been one, two, three people in there that I am interested in and snatch up. They keep doing these mass layoffs where they let 20 people go, or more or less and each time I find a few people and the company gets a little stronger and stronger, in my opinion.

AEW certainly has to be happy with how it has handled 2021 in comparison to its main competish, especially with major signings like CM Punk and Bryan Danielson. On top of that, it’s also looking like former WWE superstar Bray Wyatt could join the company before the end of 2021, which would be another huge acquisition for Tony Khan’s growing company. It’s definitely possible its most promising new star going into 2022 will come out of the recently released batch of WWE wrestlers, assuming Khan is genuine about pursuing those few individuals he hinted at. 

AEW: Dynamite airs at TNT on Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET, and AEW: Rampage takes over the network on Fridays at 10:00 p.m. ET.  As AEW continues to gain ground on the WWE, one has to wonder how Vince McMahon’s company will rise to the challenge. Better yet, when will we see the WWE start poaching some home-grown AEW talent?

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.