Tony Khan Talked TBS & TNT Boss Out Of WWE Bid

Tony Khan AEW

Tony Khan has revealed when he began planning to launch AEW and that he talked the President of TBS & TNT out of bidding for WWE SmackDown.

Being The Elite was the place where the formation of AEW was announced on New Year’s Day 2019. The company held its first event in May of that year Double Or Nothing took place in Las Vegas and saw Jon Moxley make his debut just weeks after leaving WWE.

Since then, Tony Khan has launched AEW’s flagship show Dynamite, as well as Rampage and Collision on TBS and TNT but the wrestling landscape could have been very different.

Tony Khan Reveals Origins Of AEW

Speaking on Locked on NFL, Tony Khan revealed he talked the TBS & TNT President out of bidding for SmackDown as he expected WWE’s blue brand to be snapped up for more than Warner Media were willing to offer:

It’s something I started working on in 2018. The idea to launch AEW, a lot of things came together, and I believed there were enough great wrestlers that would be available in the beginning of 2019 to launch a wrestling league.

In April 2018, I started working on this. I was at a party in Beverly Hills on a Friday night. I saw my friend, who at the time was the President of TBS and TNT [Kevin Reilly]. I walked up to him, I was visiting with him a little bit, and I said, ‘Kevin, are you looking at bidding on wrestling TV rights?’ He was, and he was looking to bid on SmackDown. He told me what he was willing to pay, he said, $150 to $175 million a year. I follow the industry closely, so I knew that it was going to go over $200 million, and it did.

I pointed out, ‘I don’t know if that’s going to get it done. For a lot less than that, we could launch a new wrestling league on TNT and eventually TBS, too.’ That’s what happened.

Tony Khan was proved right as WWE SmackDown went to FOX for a five-year deal worth $205 million per year. That deal will end in September 2024, with WWE’s blue brand heading to the USA Network.

h/t Fightful