Tony Khan didn't mince his words when addressing the topic of this week's heightened AEW vs. WWE competition in a new interview with Barstool Sports' Robbie Fox, promising that his company will do a better show than Vince McMahon's on Friday.
An extra half-hour starting at 10 PM ET means WWE SmackDown will go head-to-head with AEW Rampage for the first time this week. AEW has since announced a special 'Buy In' pre-show featuring Minoru Suzuki vs. Bryan Danielson for 9 PM ET, though this direct competition is something Khan had initially sought to avoid:-
"We have allowed the shows to coexist. I put my show on consciously after SmackDown knowing there's a huge audience that watches the show, and many of those people are going to watch Rampage. It's been a huge hit for TNT. We've had nights where we were number one, we've been in the top 10-20 consistently."
Continuing, Khan noted that this wasn't the first time WWE had entered direct competition with AEW, noting Dynamite's success in the Wednesday Night Wars. On SmackDown's extra hour-hour, he stayed bullish, hyping his own show while pointing to the poor critical response to this week's episode of WWE Raw:-
"They're going to do a half-hour head-to-head with us? That's fine, okay. We'll see what happens. I'm not saying for sure we'll win - and maybe the odds are against us in some ways - but we're gonna do the better show, I know. And if you don't believe me, watch the go-home show [Raw] they did last night because it sucked."
Khan tweeted the following earlier in the week, promising a strong show:-
If I’m not sweating it, you shouldn’t be either. This is what sports are about, set a goal & try your best. We’ve got a great #AEWRampage card Friday + big Dynamite matches Saturday. I expect to do well, but regardless of next Friday’s stats, it’ll be a great weekend for the fansAdvertisement— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) October 9, 2021
AEW has thus far announced the following for the Rampage going head-to-head with SmackDown:-
- CM Punk vs. Matt Sydal
- The Bunny vs. Ruby Soho
- Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, and Sammy Guevara vs. The Men of the Year and Junior dos Santos
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