The official launch of All Elite Wrestling has everyone talking across the pro wrestling world. It's seen as a promotion with a legitimate chance to one day compete with WWE which is something we haven't seen since WCW's demise in 2001.
Booker T was with WCW back then so he has a unique perspective on what it takes to avoid the problems that WCW faced. He talked about AEW's launch on his podcast and stressed that he hopes the Khan family doesn't make the same mistakes that Ted Turner made.
"Ted Turner, back in the day was the guy who had the dollars, you know what I mean? He was someone that can fuel the company and did it for a long time," said Booker. "I had a nine-year run and that is the question: does this family really know what they are jumping into with professional wrestling as well as the circus atmosphere of the professional wrestler?
"Pro wrestling is a different animal than pro football and pro soccer. There is going to be a lot of money going out before the bulk of the money can come back in. It is a huge gamble for someone to take upon themselves, but I commend them and give them big props. This is something that the pro wrestling world has been looking for since the demise of WCW in the early 2000s."
The independent wrestling world has made leaps and bounds over the last decade and it should provide a great feeder system to AEW. Booker said that AEW will have to rely on many of those indies guys to establish themselves in their company as they will have to create their own stars.
"Of course, everybody out there, all of those young guys are trying to get to NXT," Booker stated. "I mean, there are a few independent guys that can write their own ticket, but the majority of these guys are trying to get to NXT. But AEW coming into the fold, there's a lot of guys that are going to be able to make their way into AEW. They are going to need talent. A lot of these guys aren't going to become stars right away, they have to create stars. Everybody is not going to be a Cody Rhodes or a Hangman Page or The Young Bucks."
The Khan family is familiar with sports team ownership as they own the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL and Fulham F.C. of the EPL. But wrestling is a whole different ballgame and Booker talked about the differences in owning a wrestling promotion.
"It is a major toll to take because pro wrestling isn't anything like pro football," Booker said of the risk the Khan family is taking. "Of course, the Khan family is familiar with the entertainment world of sports, but pro wrestling is a year-round event. Pro wrestling is entertainment but people get hurt all of the time. Who is going to pay those bills? Pro wrestling is a sport where people have to get flown in on a weekly basis so that is a check that they have to write out. No doubt that this family has a lot of money, but the thing is, if the return isn't right, and I give them three years whether they are going to make it or not, because those first three years are going to be important for the investors and whether or not they are going to see a return for their money, I think."
Booker then mentioned that Ted Turner didn't seem to have a firm grasp on the expenses in WCW, in part, because he was going through a divorce at the time. He talked about wrestlers being flown out to South Dakota for the Hog Wild pay-per-view, but barely any fans showed up to the event.
However, Booker wants AEW to succeed as he is a big fan of the Rhodes family and he thinks competition in pro wrestling is a good thing.
"I am pushing for [Khan] and pushing for those guys to make it," said Booker. "Cody Rhodes is obviously a visionary. To come up with Stardust and then drop it to say that he is going to do his own thing with "The American Nightmare," trying to fall into the footsteps of Dusty Rhodes, a guy who I respected and admired so much. A guy who had done so many things for my career. I hope for the best for these guys and I hope AEW fulfills their dreams and becomes that one company to compete for the No. 1 spot here in America. I am really looking forward to it."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Heated Conversations w/ Booker T with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.