WWE announcer Michael Cole fired a shot across the wrestling divide with a thinly veiled barb aimed at AEW boss Tony Khan, and it all centred around “combat sports journalist” Ariel Helwani.
Ariel Helwani and Tony Khan have had a frosty relationship ever since Helwani took issue with the AEW boss after he felt he was being stonewalled by him during a recent interview:
“He didn’t want to answer anything. You’re going to come on and promote X, Y, and Z, great. And I’ll play that dance with you. I did, at the beginning. But you got to give us something, to not even tell me how you were feeling.
I’m not asking for specifics, alright fine I am, but is Punk going to wrestle for you, is he coming back, you don’t want to get into it, fine. But tell me how you were feeling. Give me something.”
On SmackDown in Montreal, Ariel Helwani was in the crowd discussing Sami Zayn’s upcoming title shot against Roman Reigns at Elimination Chamber. But Helwani’s appearance for WWE did not go unnoticed by Tony Khan who took to social media to label him “a fraud”:
“You’re a fraud @arielhelwani You’re as legitimate of a reporter as @tonyschiavone24”
Helwani responded to Khan while seemingly making quite the unsavoury allusion to the AEW CEO:
“Thanks for watching, old friend! Can’t wait for our next chat. (Also, don’t listen to the snowman, Schiavone. You’re a legend in my books.)”
Khan responded by doubting Helwani’s impartiality in his pro wrestling reporting:
“Good luck with the unbiased journalism.”
At Elimination Chamber in Montreal, Helwani was shown in the crowd with UFC legend George St-Pierre when Michael Cole made a point to call him “unbiased” and added that he “asks the tough questions whether you want to answer them or not.”
There may well be a response to Cole’s comments when Tony Khan makes an “important announcement” on AEW Dynamite.