In a climate of escalating tensions between AEW and WWE, AEW CEO & General Manager Tony Khan's recent remarks have led some WWE insiders to dub them as nothing short of a "declaration of war." This past Tuesday, WWE NXT went all out to compete against AEW Dynamite's special Tuesday night airing, which was rescheduled due to MLB playoffs.
NXT pulled out big guns, featuring special appearances by wrestling legends such as John Cena, Paul Heyman, Asuka, Cody Rhodes, LA Knight, and The Undertaker. Despite this star-studded lineup, NXT couldn't surpass the 1 million viewer mark, settling for an average total viewership of 921,000 and a 0.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic.
Meanwhile, AEW garnered 609,000 average viewers with a 0.26 key demo rating, albeit with fewer legends but two title changes and Adam Copeland's AEW in-ring debut.
Khan's Controversial Tweet
The viewership numbers led Tony Khan to take a pointed jab at WWE via social media, highlighting that Cena and The Undertaker had appeared on a WWE show that drew fewer than 1 million viewers and fewer than 400,000 in the key demographic.
The tweet stirred controversy among fans and critics, some of whom accused Khan of sour grapes. Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that WWE insiders contacted him shortly after Khan's tweet went live, indicating their perception of it as a battle cry.
"It's as if they saw this as a continuation of a war that began back in January 2019," Meltzer wrote, referring to the month AEW was founded and began signing WWE talent like Chris Jericho, Jim Ross, and eventually Jon Moxley.
Khan clarified that his tweet was both a retort to fans who criticized AEW's less-than-a-million viewership and a strategic move to boost engagement for AEW's upcoming match announcements. Despite this explanation, his comments have clearly hit a nerve within WWE, adding another layer of drama to an already heated rivalry.
While the wrestling community remains split on Khan's public outbursts, what is clear is that the war for viewership, talent, and industry supremacy between AEW and WWE shows no signs of slowing down. With each ratings report and social media barb, the stakes are continually raised, keeping fans glued to this unfolding saga.