You really can’t compare, the NFL makes both WWE and AEW look like lemonade stands in comparison. Just to put it in perspective, for the Thursday night football game which is just 1 single game a week, the NFL earns 1 billion per year. The NFL makes the same in 15 regular season (1 Pre) games per year as the wwe makes doing 104 Smackdowns. It’s not even close.
Also, the NFL has a salary cap which is directly tied to revenue, specifically 47%. Even the nfl controls payroll because payroll matters
The khans are not idiots, they are successful businessmen. They are not going to say “Well, we make money in the NFL, so we can do whatever” thats just not how people like this operate. Now I don’t see their financials, so anything is possible, but anyone who works in business knows that you can’t just pay out payroll like it’s nothing. Now, I’m not saying that signing Kevin Owens will bankrupt them or even necessarily hurt them, but they can’t just sign everyone. Even if they sign Owens, there will always be a next available guy, they can’t sign them all. I doubt even Tony khan himself believes they will sign every single wrestler who becomes a free agent, there is a line. Now maybe it’s not Owens, but they have to be aware, and Im sure they are.
I think the issue is when fans hear this, they take it as some type of shot at AEW. It’s not (at least from me) I’m just looking at it from the business side of things.
As for comparing to WCW, how can fans not. You have a multi Billionaire owner of a sports franchise getting into the wrestling business, then on the other end a narcissist who thinks he rules the business and can do whatever he wants. As a result, the sports owner is able to poach talent after talent which causes analysists, fans, and wrestlers to take note. Now WCW ended up going to shit because they gave the wrestlers too much control, because creative, and an incredibly high payroll. I dont see AEW going down that path, but at some point they will have to say no too a talent, or maybe not no, but not be able to offer them what WWE can.