Why WWE's Vince McMahon Is Likely Worried About AEW, According To One Former Referee

Vince McMahon addresses the crowd at SmackDown
(Image credit: YouTube)

In early August, Vince McMahon went on the record in an earnings call and stated he’s not worried about AEW as a viable rival in the pro wrestling sphere, but not everyone believes him. I don't just mean fans, though there are plenty of those, but rather former WWE referee Mike Chioda, who recently shared his thoughts on what McMahon’s true feelings probably are, going by his personal history with the WWE CEO. 

Mike Chioda fielded questions from wrestling fans on the Monday Mailbag podcast from AdFreeShows, which is where he addressed AEW’s upward momentum. When asked if he believed Vince McMahon is worried about the growing success of WWE’s latest rival organization, Chioda confirmed he is very much of that belief, and explained his reasoning (via Ringsidenews.com)

Yes, I think he is. He always wants to be on top. I have seen him demolish and step on a lot of territories around the country and around the world. He wants to be #1. Everybody wants to be #1, whether it’s in their sport, in their career or owning a company. I definitely think he’s very concerned right now because they’re picking up some good talent. I know Vince. Vince is concerned... AEW’s ratings are going up. People are interested. I’m interested in watching AEW. They’re selling out arenas. The energy in the crowd is just phenomenal now. They went from one show to two shows now. Everybody is talking AEW.

Nothing said here is controversial. AEW's major signings of superstars, its growth in ratings, and its ability to sell out arenas should be concerning to WWE, even if the budding organization still isn’t at the financial level of Vince McMahon’s organization. These growing successes show that AEW could, in time, stand on equal footing to WWE if it wants to, which presents a level of competition the organization hasn’t seen since the days of the WCW

And yet, Vince McMahon didn’t welcome any comparison to WCW in the much-talked-about earnings call comment about AEW (via Ringsidenews.)

Well, it certainly is not a situation where ‘rising tides’ because that was when Ted Turner was coming after us with all of Time Warner’s assets as well. That was a different situation. AEW is where they are. I don’t really know what their plans are. All I know is what our plans are. I don’t consider them competition in the way that I would consider WCW back in the day, not anywhere near close to that. And I’m not so sure what their investments are as far as their talent is concerned, but perhaps we can give them some more.

In the time since that earnings call, the WWE gave Big E the WWE Championship live on Monday Night Raw, launched a rebrand of NXT, and signed Olympic Gold Medalist Gable Steveson to a contract. Regardless of whether or not Vince McMahon will ever publicly admit he’s worried about AEW, these moves may indicate WWE is willing to pull out all the stops to compete with its rival. 

As AEW and WWE wage war, there’s no denying pro wrestling fans are the winners in this situation. For the latest example of that, read up on what’s happening with Bray Wyatt and where the soon-to-be free agent may land in the coming weeks.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.