AEW has brought in a ton of big-name talent recently. Massive stars like Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Adam Cole, and others have created a crowded roster where television time is at a major premium. Tony Khan has had to work hard to figure out way to balance it all.
The promotion is expecting a big revenue increase when their television rights deal expires in 2024. That would allow them to compete with WWE for high-priced contracts like the one Kevin Owens recently signed. AEW is currently unwilling to go to a bidding war unless the talent in question would be a monumental game changer.
On the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer discussed AEW’s current budget restraints. The company isn’t afraid to spend money now to compete. If and when their television revenue increases, Tony Khan will have a lot more flexibility.
“I don’t know what the whole situation is. What I can tell you is they 100% absolutely have a budget and I also know that there were at least two people who tried to get an offer and were kinda told, they were not really given a huge offer. And I think that the basic gist of what I’ve heard is that if and when this next television deal comes in, which would be the start of 2024, which is a ways away, and they can get a big increase, then, you know, they’ll spend to get guys.
Again, I’m sure Jeff Hardy’s not coming cheap. I’m sure he’s not. Tony Khan said, there’s more people coming in. Keith Lee and Jay White are not just it. The budget for talent is still going to be pretty high. A guy like Josh Alexander, I think that it just depends. They have a lot of good workers… The guys that would be really important are the guys that can be game changers. I know that, it’s probably to go in and dismiss Josh Alexander, going, ‘You know, he’s a good worker, but he’s not going to be a game changer,’ which is probably the case, but you never know. And somebody else can be a game changer, but you know, again… It’s like, if they’ve got plans or they’ve got something, but they are so loaded with talent that it’s like, ‘OK, let’s add another good worker.’
We’ve got all of these good workers sitting on the sidelines because there’s not enough television to get guys in matches more than every couple weeks. So, there’s not necessarily a need and everything like that. But, from a Josh Alexander standpoint, I would think that you might mentally want to take that step up as far as visibility goes.”
Some free agent wrestlers are being left in the dust simply because AEW doesn’t have a spot for them. Others are re-signing with WWE because the money just makes the most sense. Tony Khan and AEW are hoping to change that with a big new TV deal.
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Transcription by Ringside News