AEW lead promoter, Tony Khan, has responded to fan criticism of a message he posted on Twitter after the retirement of Vince McMahon from WWE.
McMahon announced his retirement from the company on Friday evening. He bought the then-WWWF from his father, Vincent J. McMahon, in 1982, and has run it ever since. During that time, the now-WWE has become a global giant, and the biggest promotion in the wrestling business.
McMahon’s retirement came amidst a WWE board investigation into misconduct allegations.
The Wall Street Journal reported in June that the Board was investigating the 77-year-old over allegations that he paid a $3 million settlement to a departing employee with whom he allegedly had an affair.
The report also stated that non-disclosure agreements had been found regarding claims of misconduct by other female employees, involving both McMahon and John Laurinaitis.
And this month, McMahon was the subject of more allegations from WSJ, who reported that he agreed to pay $12 million in ‘hush money’ to four women.
What did Tony Khan tweet?
Shortly after McMahon’s announcement, Tony Khan took to Twitter to announce that he was now the longest-serving CEO in the top three companies in professional wrestling – WWE, AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW).
He wrote: “Thanks to you wrestling fans and your great support of AEW, I’m grateful to now be the longest-tenured CEO in pro wrestling.
“Thank you very much to every single person who watches AEW! See you for Friday Night AEW Rampage on TNT!”
Although Khan’s tweet did not mention McMahon directly, some fans took it as a reference to the significant news from AEW’s rival promotion.
And whilst some fans saw the tweet as a joke, others weren’t entirely so complementary.
Tony Khan responds to fan backlash
Speaking before the ROH Death before Dishonour live event last weekend, Khan addressed criticism of his tweet.
He said (quotes via Wrestling Inc): “I was referencing AEW Rampage is on. And just a fact. Of the big three companies, of what I would consider the big three, I am the longest-tenured. [NJPW President, Takami] Ohbari. There is a new [WWE] CEO there also.
“If you consider it pro wrestling, I think it’s a fair statement. I thought it was a factual statement. A note to promote Rampage. But that’s all it was.
“I can’t say anything else about it. I thought it was a great show, and obviously, hopefully, maybe got some eyeballs on Rampage. And I really care about Rampage a lot.”
Featured Image Credit: Getty