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5 Moves Tony Khan Can Make To Improve Business

Welcome back to The Grevas Report! Today we’re going to be discussing Tony Khan and some ways that I think he could substantially grow the wrestling business. Tony Khan has become a controversial figure in wrestling. Some love him for creating true competition for Vince McMahon and WWE, as well as employing a lot of wrestlers when other companies like WWE and ROH are downsizing in big ways. Then some find Khan to be a bit egotistical, questioning comments he makes about how great AEW is doing compared to companies such as WCW and coming across as standoffish in a recent press conference for the upcoming Full Gear PPV. Like him or hate him, TK has become the most influential person in the wrestling business not named Vince McMahon and with that power, comes great responsibility.

Keep The Forbidden Door Open

”The Forbidden Door” has become an overused catchphrase but let’s not overlook its significance. Major wrestling companies historically don’t work well together. Maybe a talent exchange here or there and some cross-promotion but what we’ve seen Tony Khan do with Impact, NJPW, and the NWA is the most important relationship-building we’ve seen in wrestling in many years.

For those long-time wrestling fans and scholars alike, you’ll remember that in the pre-WCW days, the NWA was a governing body, designed to keep territories all overworking as a collective. Sure, they were their own businesses and the concept had many flaws, but they exchanged talent, helped each other’s businesses stay afloat, and had a traveling World Champion who made appearances in all of the territories to help drive ticket sales from town to town to town. Do you see what I’m getting at here?

NWA Logo

Would a modern-day governing body work? No, probably not. The world has changed. But what could work is a formal agreement among promotions to help each other succeed. Tony Khan has the political power to bring company owners to the table and create a system where Impact, the NWA, Warrior Wrestling, OVW, the United Wrestling Network, and anyone else that wants to form a working agreement to keep the business from being monopolized ever again, as well as ensuring that talent from all over has a variety of places to work, grow and develop. There’s power in companies working together and if Tony Khan were to use his position to bring several companies together, the wrestling business, fans and those who work in the industry would all benefit.

Maybe Not A Union But…

While a Union might not ever happen, the wrestling business would benefit from certain standards being held to so that the business and those who work in it can be healthier. While WWE has its Wellness Program, Tony Khan is in a position where he can work with the top companies in the business to set standards on how promotions handle mental health, allegations of sexual abuse and abusers in the wake of the #SpeakingOut movement and other ways to clean up some of the darker elements of wrestling’s past.

Let’s face it —- wrestling has come a long way since the horror stories of how the business was run in years past but it’s still not where it needs to be. The days of hazing and bullying, non-stop drug and alcohol abuse, sexual misconduct, and purposely stiff working to drive rookies out of the business defined generations of the wrestling business. A lot has been done to change things for the better but there’s still work to do. Vince McMahon and WWE aren’t going to work with others to work on the industry as a whole but Tony Khan can and should. Meet the top brass of any company willing to participate, identify areas for improvement and present a united front. We are the companies coming together to make this business a better place. Tony Khan can organize this kind of movement if he so wishes to.

Buy the ROH Video Library

For years, Vince has bought up any video library he’s wanted and become the guardian of wrestling’s history. This was always a problematic notion but is now exponentially worse with Peacock in control of the WWE Network. Wrestling’s history is part of a giant corporate conglomerate and could disappear easily if the powers that be at Peacock no longer find value in it. As a wrestling fan and historian, this really bothers me.

Vince McMahon in front of WWE Network logo

If Tony Khan wants to be the kind of visionary in the business he claims he wants to be, it’s time to take the fight to Vince on a bigger level. It’s one thing to sign stars and have competitive ratings. It’s a whole other thing to start acquiring properties that Vince might want to purchase and challenge his authority as the one who owns the most libraries.

Now, I know the argument here will be that Vince is downsizing and probably wouldn’t aggressively pursue the ROH video library (if it were available). That’s technically true but it’s also ignoring how fickle Vince is, how vindictive he can be and how large his ego is. And if you don’t think the ROH video library is for sale if someone throws the right figure at Sinclair, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

The Wrestling Fan’s Dream Streaming Service

Perhaps the most ambitious idea on my list. It’s been rumored that Tony Khan and AEW are thinking about launching their own streaming service. I’m going to be blunt and call a spade a spade: That’s a bad idea. In the modern world where there are more quality streaming services than there are hours in the day to watch them, who wants to pay for a service filled with hours of squash matches from YouTube shows and TV shows that you guessed it…we watched as they aired weekly on TV? The company simply hasn’t run enough PPVs for the backlog to be a big draw either.

If Tony Khan wants to enter the streaming world, it’s going to require the Forbidden Door to be kicked open and taken off the hinges. There can’t be a door to speak of anymore. Make the streaming service a wrestling fan couldn’t dare turn down. Make Impact an offer to stream some of their library. Get Warrior Wrestling, the NWA, and everyone else out there in a room and sell them on the idea of buying into the ultimate wrestling streaming service. All of their products under one roof. The smaller companies gain exposure greater than they can dream of getting now. The bigger companies in the deal have a new financial revenue stream to help during these tougher times economically. Wrestling fans rejoice because they’re getting the most bang for their buck and look at what streaming services they’re going to ditch to pay for this one instead. And Tony Khan has pulled this all together, changing the wrestling business and world for the better.

Don’t Be Vince, Be Different

This is the biggest one. Vince McMahon is an institution in the business. He’s not going anywhere. His competitors go away, but he doesn’t. If Tony Khan wants to be the one to stick around and not be WCW 2.0, then he needs to be different.

AEW has to always keep its marching orders of being different than WWE. They can’t desire to put others out of business, they have to be the ones to make the business around them better. So they can be better. Monopolies kill industries. Growing your competition only makes you stronger, if you’re willing to work with your competition that is.

Vince has lived in an isolated world built by ego and pride for many years. You could argue that he deserves it. The man has done a lot in this business and is truly the Walt Disney of wrestling, even if he prefers sports entertainment. Tony Khan represents a true alternative for the first time in a generation. People like me who’ve lived through a lot in this business, want to see change. If Tony Khan is going to be the change he claims, he has to go the opposite way of Vince in many ways. I listed a few of them above. Is TK be a flash in the pan or a beacon of light? We shall see I suppose.

Written by Andrew Grevas

Andrew is the owner & CEO of 25YL Media, the parent company of Sports Obsessive, Lifelong Cincinnati Bengals fan, obsessed with dynasty football leagues and former pro wrestling commentator who finally got his one more match from CM Punk.

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