An AA photo illustration of Bill Simmons and wrestler Test (Andrew Martin). An AA photo illustration of Bill Simmons and wrestler Test. (Simmons photo from the Recode Media Summit in 2017, Test photo from Mark Farthing in 2005, via Wikimedia Commons:

On the same day that WWE and UFC completed their long-awaited merger, Bill Simmons secured an interview with WWE President Nick Khan—a hell of a get.

But while most of the interview focused on the newly formed TKO Group Holdings, it did include one awkward moment in which “The Sports Guy” made a creative pitch to the former sports media agent.

Discussing the departure of former co-CEO Stephanie McMahon—who left WWE this past January following her father, Vince McMahon’s return to the company—Simmons playfully suggested that the wrestling company bring back her former on-screen fiancé, Test.

“Couldn’t she come back and do an angle where she and Test are having an affair?” Simmons asked.

The only problem? Test (real name Andrew Martin) died of an accidental overdose at the age of 33 in 2009, which Khan quickly pointed out.

“I think Test passed away a couple of years ago,” Khan said with a laugh.

“Oh no!” Simmons replied before pivoting to a new pitch. “Test’s brother or something?”

In defense of Simmons, he’s never fancied himself as a diehard wrestling fan. And like many (present company included), his interest likely waned in the time between Test’s run in the “Attitude Era” of the late-1990s/early-2000s and the wrestler’s death in 2009. Martin’s death, unfortunately, was also one of several premature deaths to have occurred in the industry in the mid-to-late 2000s.

Also, to Simmons’ credit, he pressed Khan regarding Stephanie McMahon’s inconspicuousness exit from her family’s company — something that still hasn’t been fully explained.

“She decided to step away. Initially she was on a leave of absence. Some of the Vince stuff started happening. She was asked by Vince, by myself, by the board to come back,” Khan said, referring to the sexual misconduct accusations that resulted in Vince McMahon’s temporary retirement. “She came back, which we were extremely gracious for her in doing so. And ultimately, when Vince came back, she decided that, hey, she was ready to step out. I respect the decision.”

“I wish she hadn’t done that and she knows that from me, personally. She’s a terrific executive and a terrific person. That’s her decision. Her relationship with Vince is theirs and once she made it, I have total respect for the decision.”

In addition to the TKO merger and Stephanie McMahon’s status with the company, Khan also weighed in on the upcoming NBA TV rights deal, sharing that he’s heard “rumblings” of NBC and TNT partnering.

[The Ringer]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.