SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Ok, let’s all take a deep breath and recap. Here’s where we stand.
After aligning with Impact Wrestling’s Don Callis, Kenny Omega secured the AEW World Championship by beating Jon Moxley on last week’s Winter Is Coming episode of AEW Dynamite. Omega broke his vow to have a clean match against Moxley and used a microphone that was tossed into the ring by Callis to gain the upper hand and leverage the victory. Callis and Omega left Daley’s Place after the match, but not before hyping the fact that they’d explain themselves further on this week’s episode of Impact Wrestling.
Nope, I wrote that right and you read it right. Kenny Omega, the AEW World Heavyweight Champion, on Impact Wrestling television this week. Strange, I know, but remember, it’s 2020 after all.
On the show, Omega cut a beautiful promo that served as the real coming-out party for his character and solidified himself as the premiere act that loyal fans had come to love – but had not seen throughout AEW’s inaugural year.
He’s certainly here now and the message in the promo was simple. World domination. Omega spoke of collecting championship belts, traveling the world, being the best, and basically doing whatever he damn well pleases. Omega was the mouthpiece, but Tony Khan was the man doing the real talking.
Khan flashed his aggressive nature with this maverick Kenny Omega move and in case anybody had doubts, he’s a surefire promoter now. He’s a wrestling guy, folks, and the training wheels are off him and his plan to take over the wrestling business. Sure, they’d probably hate him, but the ghosts of wrestling’s promoter past would be proud – Vince McMahon too.
Ok, maybe that’s a little much, but deep down McMahon must be proud. Why? Because he should recognize this type of aggressive maneuver when it comes to blowing up the wrestling business. He’s been there and he’s done it. He didn’t know if mowing down wrestling’s territory system would work, but he looked at the landscape in front of him and made a choice. Khan has done the same thing.
Even before the global pandemic, the wrestling business was changing. Fan habits have adjusted, technology was again changing the game in terms of how people consumed the wrestling product, and money available to wrestling companies revealed itself in the form of gargantuan content partnerships and streaming deals instead of true ticket sales and PPV buys. The pandemic simply hustled those realities along. With Kenny Omega, Tony Khan is trying to live in that new world. Like Vince McMahon did, he’s trying to define it too.
In the rough scenario that Khan told the world about through the mouth of Kenny Omega on Impact this week, he’s started to create a wrestling environment that is greater than the sum of its parts. AEW doesn’t have the money or bandwidth to sign all the talent that they’d like on their roster. All the talent that they’d like wouldn’t want to sign with them – even if they were able to offer the world to get them in their ring. Building a wrestling environment where stars transition across companies alleviates that problem. It affords Khan the ability to grow his talent pool for AEW at a smaller cost while also expanding the AEW brand simultaneously due to its presence in other companies and on other television or streaming channels, regardless of how big or small they might be.
The Khan wrestling environment also inevitably will keep his product fresh. WWE will tell you: If you’re stuck having to book 52 weeks of television with a single roster, things can get stale very quickly. In Khan’s world, that is less of a concern. Conceivably, he’d be able to inject his product with a brand new wave of stories just by bringing in or featuring a crop of new talent from another company. No added investment and no risk. In this world, he doesn’t need multiple primetime AEW shows that yes, increase his revenue, but also dilute his own brand and the star power within it. His world allows for AEW to show itself off throughout the week and year across various channels, but without saddling himself with overexposure.
In theory, this true new world order of wrestling can work. Who knows though? Nothing is guaranteed. Kenny Omega is probably the only guy in the world Khan can ride to get it accomplished successfully though.
Omega is a world-renowned performer. He’s wrestled in America, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Japan, and has fine-tuned his style to pull from all of those places. He’s relatable across the globe. What a better way to put a stamp on his already Hall Of Fame career by having a championship run that brings his worldly wrestling flavor together as one.
Omega is an artist. Yes, he wants money, but he also wants a legacy. Carrying the load of Khan’s vision to a successful end point would solidify one for himself. He’d be Tony Khan’s Hulk Hogan.
The infancy of Tony Khan’s vision for wrestling revealed itself this week. After the NWA and now Impact Wrestling, one has to believe that visions of AAA, ROH, and New Japan Pro Wrestling partnerships are dancing through his head. What really happened, though, was the real Tony Khan stood up. He’s soft spoken, but fierce. He believes he’s ready to lead this business his way. Man, the grapefruits on that guy. Where have we seen those before?
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S TAKE: HEYDORN’S TAKE: AEW gambling on tonight’s “gateway” match to boost audience