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WWE's Nick Khan: Everyone has same opportunity to earn their way to the top

Khan talked about star treatment, Peacock and who their audience is.
Nick-Khan-WWE

During a podcast appearance, WWE president Nick Khan was asked about and addressed complaints from wrestlers that have left the company, citing negative experiences and preferential treatment.

Speaking on Matthew Belloni's The Town podcast, Khan said, "Everyone is treated humanely and deserves to be treated that way. I do think there are analogies with our company and other companies."

He compared their situation to when the NBA's L.A. Lakers had superstars Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal at the same time, nothing they weren't treated the same as some of their teammates.

"Was Shaq treated better than any other player other than Kobe? Yeah. That's the way it is," he answered, then bringing up that Will Smith wasn't removed from the Oscars following his slap of Chris Rock partially because he was a major star.

"It's the same way with us. It's a meritocracy. If you're at the top of the card, maybe you have a bigger dressing room than someone at the bottom of the card. Everyone has same opportunity to earn their way there," he said.

Khan also talked about their partnership with Peacock and how both sides are extremely happy about the deal they made. He again said the company is "open for business" when asked about a potential sale the next time TV rights are up, later saying that Peacock doesn't have the IP that other entities like Disney does.

"The way I like to think they look at us is as an entity that has a treasure trove of IP and a lot of it that hasn't been exploited yet," he said, adding that he sees a lot of similarities with WWE to Saturday Night Live head Lorne Michaels' world and Shonda Rhimes' Shondaland production company.

"Now it's up to us to monetize it properly and show the community what we have to offer," he said.

Khan also said when it came to negotiating with NBCUniversal on their details, he felt they should get a "hometown discount" and be considered a home team because of their longtime relationship with WWE.

Here are some other notes from the podcast which is embedded below:

  • Khan said the Vince McMahon Netflix docuseries is set to debut in 2023.
  • He said WWE is for the masses and that the company can never lose sight of that. He said the average WWE viewer is someone that grew up in the 1980s or 1990s and went to public school because of the availability, or lack thereof, of cable in many parts of the country.
  • Khan talked about how he came to WWE which stemmed from negotiating their U.S. media rights while with CAA. He was in Hawaii with his family when he got the call from McMahon, flew nonstop to New York the next day and shook hands on a deal.
  • He said the decision to license out WWE Network content was a refocused effort on being a content company and not a tech company.
  • Similar to SVP James Kimball's comments Tuesday, Khan talked extensively about how they want to recruit Division I and Division I-AA men and women, making it easier for them to transition to a possible career if the NFL or pro sports are just out of their reach.