Why Vince Russo Believes Tony Khan Finances AEW's TV Slots

Inside the wrestling world, financial strategies raise new questions.

by Noman Rasool
Why Vince Russo Believes Tony Khan Finances AEW's TV Slots
© Chris Van Vliet/YouTube

In recent discussions surrounding the wrestling community, Vince Russo, a notable former WWE head writer, has intensified his belief surrounding the operations of AEW's newest show, "AEW Collision." Russo has long harboured suspicions that Tony Khan, AEW's chief financier, has been underwriting the costs to maintain the air show, despite the not-so-encouraging viewership statistics it has presented.

During an insightful "Busted Open" session, Russo shared his observations on AEW's progression—or lack thereof. He pointed out that the company's viewership hasn't grown significantly since introducing "AEW Dynamite" in October 2019.

Drawing from his experiences in the television industry, Russo commented, "It's practically unheard of for a show not to see an uptick in its ratings over four years. Absent any compelling justification, such shows usually get the axe."

Tony Khan's Financial Play

Elaborating further, Russo emphasized his core argument, stating, "Given Tony Khan's significant wealth and financial backing, it's highly plausible he's offsetting the costs for the airtime.

Instead of relying solely on traditional revenue streams, he might be in direct negotiations with the networks. By doing so, Khan could offer assurances to these networks, promising not only to mitigate any shortfalls in advertising revenues but potentially even doubling what they might anticipate as their standard profits, thereby securing a prime spot for AEW." Adding another dimension to his theory, Russo mentioned the recent decision of FOX not renewing its contract for "WWE SmackDown." The expectations were for the show to consistently garner over 3.5 million weekly viewers, a target SmackDown often missed.

Russo contends that, in light of such precedents, it's improbable for a station to retain two shows, namely "AEW Collision" and "AEW Rampage," each averaging fewer than half a million viewers weekly unless there's some undisclosed financial arrangement in play.

Russo remarked, "The metrics AEW pulls in surely can't resonate well with WBD." However, to provide a balanced perspective, it's worth noting that the recent "Collision" episode did witness a spike, pulling in an average of 562,000 viewers.

But, as Russo underscores, this marks only the second time since late July that the viewership has breached the half-million threshold, casting shadows over AEW's long-term viability.

Vince Russo Tony Khan Aew