During his media call promoting this weekend’s All Out event, AEW kingpin Tony Khan curtly and staunchly ruled out AEW working with or forging a relationship with the WWE for the foreseeable future as he has in the past with AAA, NJPW and Impact Wrestling.
“I was pretty optimistic when they (WWE) first made the changes but I am less optimistic now given how they have treated me,” said Khan possibly referring to the rumours that WWE has reached out recently to several AEW wrestlers who are still under contract to the promotion.
Hobbled in recent months by a slew of injuries to the AEW roster which included CM Punk, Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson, Khan is pumped to have those popular superstars healthy and back in the line-up. He is proud though of how the promotion has pushed forward to meet the challenges presented by those absences.
“Despite a lot of the top stars being out we kept the company strong during the summer because the flagship show, Dynamite, continued to have really strong ratings,” he said. “A lot of the biggest stars in AEW have been out and the stars I did have, I had to put them on Dynamite every single week.”
Khan is looking forward to the AEW landscape after All Out which he sees as the company firing on all cylinders once again.
“I am really excited because I want to reset things. We are at the point where almost the entire roster is back. This week’s live Rampage will be a preview of what to expect after All Out. After All Out, the roster is going to be in the strongest place it has been in a long time. It will be the strongest it has ever been,” he said.
Khan compared managing a wrestling roster as the same as managing a sports team. You have to be prepared and be willing to adapt to the inevitable injuries that will occur during the course of a season.
“Similar to sports where you have roster depth, in a way that you build that roster depth, that is your back-up plan. It is not always that simple. Forbidden Door was more of I needed to take this plug out, switch it with this one and rewire things. Whereas, when it comes to All Out, I was still able to get to the big matches that I really wanted and thought would be amazing headline matches for this show but we had to find a different way to get there,” he explained.
AEW received both positive and negative reactions to how Punk recently lost the reunification match to Moxley quicker than Randy Orton can hit an RKO out of nowhere. The way Khan sees things though, last night’s Dynamite put things firmly back on track.
“I knew it was going to be a fast and furious build-up but I think the anticipation has been even stronger. I wouldn’t say we should do it like this every time but I believe this is the 15th pay-per-view for AEW and we have never done anything like this. I think it made the build very exciting. It has raised a lot of questions going into the match. There is a lot of speculation about what the future holds for both men, what the future holds for the championship in Jon Moxley versus CM Punk round two based on what happened during that match on television,” he said.
Khan believes the CM Punk and Moxley match is a must-see bout on an upcoming weekend which promises to be full of great wrestling and matches.
“I think the promos that Jon and Punk did reeled a lot of people back in and in particular what CM Punk had to say in Chicago. I think people are up to see this great title fight,” he said.
TOP PHOTO: Tony Khan at the AEW Forbidden Door post-show press conference on June 26, 2022. Photo by George Tahinos, https://georgetahinos.smugmug.com