Nick Khan ushers in WWE’s ‘Renaissance Era’ with support from Cody Rhodes

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For about three nights per week and generally on the weekends, WWE has eyeballs glued to the display screen to see what’s going to occur subsequent on RAW, SmackDown and NXT.

If Cody Rhodes’ loss to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39 and the returns of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and CM Punk over the past 12 months had been any indication, something may occur on this planet’s No. 1 professional wrestling promotion.

A whole lot of it has to do with a pacesetter most professional wrestling followers received’t get to see on display screen except they flip to a enterprise channel on TV. The person has helped steer the ship to viewership progress with key demographics on the corporate’s flagship exhibits “Friday Evening SmackDown” and “Monday Evening Uncooked” and its developmental model “NXT.”

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WWE President Nick Khan arrives on the pink carpet earlier than the 2023 ESPYS on the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles July 12, 2023. (Kirby Lee/USA At present Sports activities)

The credit score goes to Nick Khan.

Khan is an outsider relating to professional wrestling. He was a high-ranking govt at Inventive Artists Company earlier than becoming a member of WWE management. And he was named president of WWE after the corporate closed its $21 billion merger with UFC.

Rhodes was amongst those that praised Khan.

“I grew up within the business, so I’m aware of any time an govt from the skin world — I don’t imply this in a unfavorable connotation — a civilian, a non-wrestler steps into the world of wrestling and sports activities leisure,” Rhodes instructed Fox Information Digital in a latest interview. “When you have a look at Jim Hurd within the ’90s, that man mentioned he managed Pizza Huts, however I’m constructive he couldn’t even try this. He was detrimental and horrible and needed Ric Aptitude to chop his hair.

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“Whereas, on the opposite aspect of the spectrum, Nick is a superb instance as a result of he’s a wrestling fan. This man was an usher at WrestleMania in Las Vegas. He noticed Bret Hart and Hulk Hogan and Yokozuna. He labored himself up from the underside. He didn’t begin with cash. His connection to the business is present, and he’s modern. He’s not misplaced prior to now. He’s not wanting to date into the longer term. I feel that’s one of many issues that helps him significantly.”

Cody Rhodes in WrestleMania 39

Cody Rhodes hits the ring at WrestleMania Goes Hollywood at SoFi Stadium April 2, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Pictures)

Rhodes mentioned what caught out to him instantly was when he returned to WWE in 2022 at WrestleMania 38 in Dallas. He instructed Fox Information Digital there was “some confusion” initially on what his nickname — “The American Nightmare” — was at first. It was the antithesis of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, Cody’s late father.

“The one individual to essentially wave the banner for me and beat the drum was Nick Khan,” Rhodes mentioned. “I’d say him after which (Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque) have been my most vital teammates I’ve had since returning. However Nick was the one actually to inform the highest brass at WWE on the time what ‘The American Nightmare’ is who Cody Rhodes has grow to be and what he can do for WWE.”

Rhodes was removed from the one main return WWE has seen over the past two years.

The Rock not only returned however inserted himself into the primary occasion of WrestleMania 40 on evening one, though he hoped for an evening two showdown with Reigns.

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The Rock and Nick Khan

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, proper, with WWE President Nick Khan throughout a ceremony asserting Johnson has joined the board of administrators for TKO on the New York Inventory Alternate Jan. 23, 2024, in New York Metropolis. (Michelle Farsi/Zuffa LLC)

Johnson spoke glowingly of Khan in a 2021 Instagram put up with the manager and his sister as Khan entered the WWE realm.

“Within the mid 1980’s, Nick Khan, his sister Nahnatchka Khan and myself used to run round as youngsters in Honolulu, Hawaii each month when my grandmother would promote her professional wrestling exhibits at our native area,” he wrote on Instagram

“As youngsters we LOVED the professional wrestling enterprise and as adults, our love and respect for the wrestling enterprise has grow to be boundless.

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“Now years later…. Nick is WWE PRESIDENT. Life is unpredictable. Superb. Right here all of us are.”

The 2 had been noticed collectively round New Yr’s earlier this yr earlier than The Rock stunned the WWE Universe on the “Day 1” episode of “Monday Evening Uncooked.”

The Rock was most likely extra more likely to come again to WWE than the Second Metropolis Saint often known as CM Punk. However Punk shocked your entire business when he confirmed up on the finish of “Survivor Collection: Struggle Video games.”

CM Punk and Jey Uso

WWE stars Jey Uso and CM Punk smile throughout a recreation between the Calgary Flames and the Chicago Blackhawks on the United Middle March 26, 2024, in Chicago.  (Getty Pictures)

The pop from the group was so loud it was possible heard throughout Lake Michigan.

Punk mentioned in an interview on “The MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani it was Khan who reached out to him round Thanksgiving.

“I received a name from Nick Khan, and he was similar to, ‘Hey, we wish to discuss to you.’ And I used to be like, ‘Cool. (I am) on my strategy to the fitness center, and I’ve this arising. CFFC, I will be again.’ ‘Cool, you wish to discuss Monday?’ ‘Nice.’

“So, it was the week of Thanksgiving. I spoke to him Monday. … The decision, I am at all times so nervous about pulling the curtain again on stuff, however I feel the decision was extra about, ‘Hey, we wish to speak about you coming again. We would love you for Royal Rumble. They assumed that I most likely had some kind of non-compete or one thing like that and had been sort of floored after I was like, ‘No man, I am able to go. Let’s do it.”

Levesque might have mentioned it finest when he addressed followers on the T-Cell Enviornment in Las Vegas for WrestleMania 40 kickoff. It’s a “new period” in WWE. And it’s one with Khan and Levesque main the cost.

“I’ve heard it coined because the Renaissance Period, and I actually like that outlook on it,” Rhodes instructed Fox Information Digital. “For me, as a wrestler, I’m most excited that we not have to face within the shadow of the Perspective Period due to the final two years we’ve executed higher enterprise than they ever did — and so they did distinctive, unbelievable, superb enterprise. I’m solely making comparisons on a black and white degree, {dollars} and cents, when it comes to what WWE’s been in a position to do over the past two years.

Cody Rhodes wrestles Roman Reigns

Cody Rhodes wrestles Roman Reigns throughout WrestleMania Goes Hollywood at SoFi Stadium April 2, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Pictures)

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“I discussed Renaissance due to all of the issues we’re making an attempt, the altering of the programming and likewise the characters. They now enchantment in a different way. Yearly has its signature factor. There was Hulkamania — eat your nutritional vitamins and say your prayers. There was the Perspective Period — the (Jerry) Springer-type crash TV.

“Now, we have now a extra, reach-across-the-aisle and connect-to-the-audience-type relatable superstars. We nonetheless have bigger than life, little doubt, however that’s all going into this very, like I mentioned, Renaissance Period.”

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