AEW boss Tony Khan said on a media call Thursday promoting this weekend’s Full Gear that the company’s string of successful shows is continuing and that the New York and New Jersey areas are proving to be a great market.
Sure it’s competitive, but Khan said AEW is more than holding its own, pointing to a successful Grand Slam show in September – one of the biggest television events of the year for them – and strong ticket sales in advance of Saturday’s Full Gear from the Prudential Centre in Newark, N.J.
“We hit over a million dollars in live ticket sales for the TV event Grand Slam at Arthur Ashe Stadium and we’re closing in on over a million dollars in sales here (for Full Gear),” Khan said, adding AEW has had great success of late with shows held in the northeast.
“I’m excited to move the show west too, but New York, New Jersey makes perfect sense to do pay-per-views and it’s good timing for us to have one of our biggest pay-per-view shows and looking like another million-dollar live gate which makes four straight AEW pay-per-views with over a million dollars in live ticket sales that I think we’re going to hit this weekend probably the way it’s going.”
Full Gear is headlined by Jon Moxley defending the AEW World Championship against MJF. It’s one of seven championship matches scheduled on the card with other compelling matches set as well.
Toni Storm will put the Interim Women’s World Championship on the line against Jamie Hayter. Khan was asked on the call if he’s considered removing the interim tag since Thunder Rosa, who announced her injury in August, may not return until the new year.
“It’s something we have considered and it’s something to consider. I’m still weighing the pros and cons,” he said. “Thunder Rosa’s a great wrestler and it’s unfortunate she’s injured and it’s kept her out a long time. It’s not an easy situation and I try to take everything on a case-by-case basis and trying to give Thunder Rosa every opportunity to come back and defend the championship.”
Also on the women’s side, Jade Cargill will defend the TBS Championship against Nyla Rose, who stole the belt. Khan is intrigued by the showdown.
“Nyla, the champ, as I call her, I’ve been calling her champ for years even though she hasn’t been holding the title and now she’s stolen the title and I still call her champ,” he remarked. “Jade Cargill is to date unbeaten, but I think Nyla Rose represents the toughest struggle she’s going to have to date, but for Nyla who’s used to being the most powerful, toughest woman in the ring in most of her matches now certainly finds herself with quite a rival in Jade and it’s been great.”
One of the most compelling non-title matches features the in-ring return of Saraya from what was thought to be career-ending injury during her time as Paige in WWE. She’ll take on Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D.
“I’m certainly hoping for and expecting a great match and I think we have reason to expect something great when Saraya returns to the ring,” Khan said. “It’s a great story, she’s been out of wrestling and many people thought she would never return to the ring. It’s very compelling and ever since she arrived at AEW Grand Slam in September she’s been on a collision course with Dr. Britt Baker. It was amazing news that Saraya was fully cleared to wrestle.”
Khan said a theme has emerged for the Full Gear pay-per-view as fans are going to see a lot of homegrown AEW stars that came to prominence wrestling on TNT and TBS every week taking on others who have come into the company with a lot of prior national and worldwide television exposure.
Saraya versus Dr. Britt Baker is a prime example of that, Khan noted.
“Saraya is somebody who’s arrived in AEW with an amazing compelling story and each of them is very different,” he said, adding Baker has worked her way into this position, battling through injuries during matches and being part of some of the most bloody and barbaric matches.
“Dr. Britt Baker is savage and she’s somebody that’s willing to go to war for AEW and for herself, frankly, and if not for herself, for her friend Jamie Hayter,” Khan said.
This Saturday at Full Gear, Khan is also excited for the AEW World Trios Championship match between champion Death Triangle – PAC, Penta El Zero Miedo and Ray Fenix – against the returning The Elite – Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks Matt and Nick Jackson – see related story, as well as the ROH World Championship four-way match with champion Chris Jericho defending against Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli and Sammy Guevara.
Also in action, The Acclaimed (Max Caster and Anthony Bowens) will defend the AEW Tag Team Championship against Swerve In Our Glory (Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland); Wardlow puts the TNT Championship on the line in a three-way match against ROH TV Champion Samoa Joe and Powerhouse Hobbs; ‘Jungle Boy’ Jack Perry takes on Luchasaurus inside a steel cage and Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal will face Sting and Darby Allin in a tag-team match.
One match no longer going ahead on the pay-per-view is the conclusion of the AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament.
Ethan Page has already advanced to the final, but the other side of the bracket has been impacted by injury as Ricky Starks was not cleared to compete last week.
“He is somebody who is a great wrestler in the tournament and certainly I did not just want to have Lance Archer move on and face Brian Cage by forfeit,” Khan said.
“Truly we could not clear Ricky to wrestle last week so it set that tournament schedule behind so I think what is going to happen is, of course on Rampage we’ve announced Ricky Starks versus Lance Archer.”
Khan said the winner of that match Friday night on Rampage will face Brian Cage on the Full Gear: Zero Hour pre-show Saturday evening.
“The winner of that match on the Zero Hour will then go on to Wednesday night (Nov. 23) Dynamite in Chicago, which is doing very well by the way and outselling our last trip to Wintrust Arena and looking like a great event on Wednesday night, the evening before Thanksgiving – a great tradition we started in Chicago,” Khan said. “It is going to be the final there with Ethan Page wrestling the winner of the match on the Zero Hour.”
You can watch Zero Hour at 7 p.m. EST on AEW’s official YouTube page before Full Gear airs on pay-per-view starting at 8 p.m.
TOP PHOTO: Tony Khan at AEW on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, in Total Mortgage Arena, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Photo by George Tahinos, https://georgetahinos.smugmug.com