WWE declared its quarterly earnings this week, with business finally looking up with the return of live fans and at least a temporary ratings boost to go along with it. During the call, as during every WWE conference call, Vince McMahon and WWE President Nick Khan were asked about competition from rival wrestling promotion AEW. While McMahon performed his usual dance of pretending WWE isn't bothered by the upstart company, Khan finally admitted what beleaguered WWE viewers have known for a long time: WWE's main enemy is sleep.
Sure, WWE may have tried to hobble AEW Dynamite's ratings by running NXT in direct opposition for a year before running like a scalded dog to Tuesday nights after losing the ratings war, and yes, the company may have been forced to fire half its roster during the pandemic because it had previously handed out massive, long term contracts to as many wrestlers as possible in an attempt to starve AEW for talent, but they're not sweating AEW, like, at all, according to McMahon. Though they just might fire a few more people, now that he thinks about it. In comments from the conference call transcribed by Wrestling Inc., McMahon said:
Well, it certainly is not a situation where 'rising tides' because that was when Ted Turner was coming after us with all of Time Warner's assets as well. That was a different situation. AEW is where they are. I don't really know what their plans are, all I know is what our plans are. I don't consider them competition in the way that I would consider WCW back in the day, not anywhere near close to that. And I'm not so sure what their investments are as far as their talent is concerned, but perhaps we can give them some more.
Ouch! Who is even left to fire? At this point, WWE will have to hire some of their recently fired wrestlers back just so they have enough people to fire again. But if McMahon's comments were obviously meant to deflect, Nick Khan took things to another level when he accidentally admitted that viewers have trouble staying awake during WWE's boring and repetitive seven to ten hours of televised programming each week.
I think the way we always look at these situations, you know, it's sort of like a horse race where the horse has blinders on. We're looking straight ahead at our lane and making sure that we stay in the front of the pack. At the same time, everything is our competition. Someone had a line a couple of weeks ago, that we all chuckled at and agreed with – sleep is our competition. Right?
Khan went on to express his desire to eradicate sleep entirely and force viewers to consume content 24-hours a day, presumably with those eye cuff devices from A Clockwork Orange, or maybe with pods like in The Matrix.
If it was up to us, people could be up 24 hours a day, watching content from different content providers, hopefully including ours. So, we don't look at any organization particularly as competition, yet we see everything as competitive with what we're trying to do, in terms of eyeballs.
Well thank goodness it's not up to you, you creep!