Tony Khan Reacts to Vince McMahon; Becky Lynch Talks The Rock; AEW Video Game Update

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVOctober 12, 2021

Tony Khan, founder, co-owner, president, and CEO of the All Elite Wrestling attends an NFL football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE and AEW Universe.

Khan Responds to McMahon Not Viewing AEW as Competition

AEW President Tony Khan seemingly isn't buying the notion that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon doesn't view AEW as competition.

In an interview with DAZN (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Sai Mohan), Khan said:

"Do they see us as rivals or competition? They say we're not, but I've heard that AEW shows are on monitors in the Gorilla position over there, so I take that as a compliment if they're watching us whilst trying to run their own show.

"I also admire them for that because trying to run a show whilst watching another show is something else. I put everything into producing our shows so there's no way I'd be watching something else whilst trying to get on with things."

Khan was referencing a video from last year that surfaced in August. The video, which was shot during an episode of NXT, showed that a monitor off to the side was playing an episode of AEW Dynamite.

NXT and Dynamite went head to head on Wednesday nights for over a year before NXT made the switch to Tuesdays. It was often assumed by fans that WWE and AEW had a "Wednesday Night War" for ratings.

Khan was also responding to a comment made by McMahon back in July during WWE's earnings call for the second quarter of 2021.

During that call, McMahon was asked if he views AEW as competition. He responded: "I don't consider them competition in the way that I would consider WCW back in the day, not anywhere near close to that."

WCW was the toughest competition WWE ever faced, as Nitro beat Raw in the ratings for 83 consecutive weeks before WWE seized control and ultimately ran WCW out of business.

While Dynamite beat NXT in the ratings quite regularly, Dynamite has yet to come close to consistently matching the viewership of WWE's flagship shows in Raw and SmackDown.

McMahon and the higher-ups in WWE have long said WWE is sports entertainment rather than pro wrestling, meaning it views everything on television as competition rather than only other wrestling shows.

On Friday, some level of head-to-head competition between WWE and AEW will return, however, as WWE is running a "super-sized" edition of SmackDown on FS1 after it was bumped from Fox due to the MLB playoffs.

The final half-hour of SmackDown will run commercial-free and overlap the first half hour of AEW Rampage, which will air on TNT.

Khan tweeted that he "can't wait to finally beat your main show head-to-head" in reference to Friday. AEW will have the advantage in terms of its show airing on a far more popular channel, but with WWE advertising a Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch main event, Rampage may be hard-pressed to post better ratings.

Lynch Talks Conversation with The Rock Before SummerSlam

Becky Lynch divulged this week that she had a conversation with WWE legend Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson before her return at SummerSlam.

Appearing on Out of Character with Ryan Satin of Fox Sports (h/t Subhojeet Mukherjee of Ringside News), Lynch noted that she asked for and received permission from The Rock to use the Rock Bottom in her match against Bianca Belair:

"So I used a variation of the Rock Bottom before but it's just easier to get it and go. I asked The Rock if I could use it and he was very gracious and said that I could.

"Called him. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I told him how SummerSlam is gonna go down. And said, 'Look, here's what I’m thinking. I'm supposed to hit one move on her. Can I use this?' 'Yeah!'"

SummerSlam marked Lynch's first WWE appearance in more than a year after giving birth to her first child. Making her return even more exciting was the fact that it was a complete surprise.

The Man was a last-second replacement for Sasha Banks, who was unable to compete in her scheduled SmackDown Women's Championship match against Bianca Belair.

Lynch offered Belair a handshake before the match, but she took advantage of the situation by punching The EST in the face and then hitting her with a variation of the Rock Bottom to win the title in less than 30 seconds.

That moment cemented the start of a heel turn for Lynch, and it has seemingly resulted in the WWE Universe getting even more behind Belair as well.

On the heels of that huge moment in SummerSlam history, Lynch will put the title on the line at Crown Jewel next week in a Triple Threat against Belair and Banks.

Aubrey Edwards Provides AEW Video Game Update

AEW referee Aubrey Edwards provided an update on the upcoming AEW console video game this week during an appearance on Into the Danger Zone with Chris Denker.

During the interview (h/t Fightful's Robert DeFelice), Edwards was asked about her involvement in the game and how things are coming along:

"This is gonna blow your mind. I'm not working on the console game at all. I am 100 percent focused on Elite General Manager. All of the things that you have seen of the console game are the same things that I have seen of the console game. So if it's public footage, that's what I've seen. It's very, very close to the chest right now. I think part of [why] the expectations are so high is that Kenny [Omega] is very, very focused on this. When he's not wrestling, he's working on this thing. It's insane. I will be working on it eventually, that's a given, but with Elite General Manager shipping this year, and then us trying to get out our Season Passes and all these things, there's a ton of things for me to be focused on, right now, around that project."

Prior to becoming a professional wrestling referee, Edwards worked in video game development, making her a major asset for AEW in terms of developing that side of its business. Edwards told Denker she played a role in the shipping of six console video games before her foray into wrestling.

There is no official release date in place for the AEW video game, but gameplay footage was released in November, and player models of Darby Allin and Jungle Boy have been shown since then.

The game has a decidedly similar look to the immensely popular WWF No Mercy video game for the N64, which is still widely considered the greatest wrestling video game of all time.

While the console game is still in development, AEW Elite General Manager is available on mobile devices, and Edwards is continuing to have a significant hand in the progression of that game.

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