11/11 TONY KHAN FULL GEAR MEDIA CALL HIGHLIGHTS: Possible addition of ROH talent, why now for Omega vs. Page, more

BY SEAN RADICAN, PWTORCH COLUMNIST


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

-Tony is asked about the length of shows. He says they have had great reviews for their PPVs. He mentions that All Out from September is the best feedback and most revenue they’ve ever done. Tony mentions it was the best received show from both fans and critics.

-Tony is asked why now is the time for Hangman Page to face Omega. Khan says this is the epitome of the handmade star. Tony said he didn’t have a lot of national TV experience when he was signed and he has blossomed. Tony says the fans have seen Hangman grow. Tony mentions Page wrestled in the first ever AEW World Championship match against Jericho. Tony says he’s always believed he’s a top wrestler. Tony says the rivalry has really developed from forming a tag team to wrestling at Full Gear last year in front of a socially distanced crowd. Tony mentions there were 1,300 fans at Full Gear last year.

-Tony talks about seeing Hangman’s drinking character on Being the Elite and wanting to use it on TV to connect him with the audience. He also mentions using aspects of what John Silver does on Being the Elite on TV now.

-Tony is asked about bringing PPVs to pacific and midwest time zones. Tony says they will come to the west coast for Double or Nothing. Tony says they are making up dates now that got cancelled in 2020. Tony says they’re catching up on dates they missed and now they’re planning on going to Vegas for Double or Nothing. He says they will also do Dynamite and Rampage on the west coast as well.

-Tony is asked about ROH talent and the ROH library which includes All In. Tony is asked if he’s interested in the library or the talent. Tony says there is a lot of great stuff in the library and they have a lot of great talent. He says he will see how it goes from the business side for the video library. He said stay tuned when it comes to the talent from ROH because you never know who will show up. Tony says he’s good friends with a lot of talent in ROH and the agent that represents them, but he can’t say what will happen on the business side.

-Tony is asked about doing an all women’s show in AEW. Tony says he doesn’t get enough credit for what he did for the all women’s NWA show. Tony said he paid the highest paid women on the NWA show and they didn’t do a good job of telling people that Tony paid the wrestlers on the show. Tony says it’s like when you pay for dinner and nobody thanks you.

-Tony said he’s made a big effort to grow and improve the women’s division in AEW. He says he’s excited about the big additions to the roster like Thunder Rosa and Ruby Soho. He mentions the TBS Championship Tournament. He says he recently talked to Ruby and says she is a straight shooter. Tony said she loves the tournament and she loves the story in the tournament. Tony mentions the promos between Kris Statlander and Ruby Soho. He also mentioned how they’ve had each other’s back during the tournament. Tony mentions he’s excited for other matches in the tournament going forward.

-Tony is asked about bringing Bray Wyatt into AEW. Tony says he’s never talked to Windham about it. Says he saw him at Jericho’s birthday party briefly last year as he was coming in and Tony was leaving late at night.

-Tony is asked if there will be any presentation changes when Dynamite moves to TBS. Will it have a different format and look. Tony says the great wrestling and the great wrestlers will be the same. Tony says they may do some tweaks to the presentation and it will be fun. Tony says if people don’t like it they will go back to what they have. Tony mentions Battle of the Belts next year and that they will start the year in a big way.

-Tony is asked how he develops the matches for PPVs and TV. Tony says he works hard and stays up late Tuesday night and Thursday night most weeks. He says he thinks about it all day until the good ideas come to him. He said he talks to people that have good ideas and he has to sort out his ideas and others. Tony says he tries to pick the good ideas and book matches that make sense for the fans, the flow of the show, and fitting commercial breaks in.

-Tony says he writes out his ideas for PPVs on a notepad and talks about how some things come to fruition and some things change. Tony talks about how he’s had to deal with people being sick during the pandemic and the travel issues. Tony said a lot of people weren’t comfortable traveling during the beginning of the pandemic. Tony says he told everyone they could stay home and get paid if they want. Tony said he had a volunteer crew and booked the shows to make sure they had great shows to stay on the air.

-Tony is asked about inviting a fan into the ring that was cancer free after Dynamite last night and how the moment happened. Tony says he loves booking when it’s fun stuff like that. Tony says he was in gorilla and during commercial break during Pac vs. Dax. He said he was by Cody and he planned for Punk to go out because he hadn’t been seen by the fans yet. Tony mentions Cody and how he does the community outreach work. Cody mentioned to him that the fan was in attendance. Tony said Punk mentioned to him that he should bring out Ruby Soho for a hometown pop.

-Tony is asked about the Owen Hart Memorial Tournament. He said updates will come after Full Gear.

-Tony is asked about Eddie Kingston’s article in the Players Tribune and whether he could foresee Kingston having the impact he does now in AEW. Tony says he connected with Kingston right away and he could see him having the impact he is having now on the roster. Tony said Cody brought up Eddie Kingston’s name as one of the people he wanted to work with when he was doing the open challenge. The other name was Ricky Starks. Tony says he developed a strong relationship with Kingston quickly.

-Tony says Eddie has come a long way in the last year. He said he’s talked about how Eddie was in the past and people that knew him say he’s come a long way both in and outside of the ring.

-Tony is asked about Inner Circle vs. American Top Team match at Inner Circle and protecting AEW guys vs. the outside talent. He’s also asked if he’s asked Paige Van Zant about wrestling. Tony said it came about because he’s friends with Dan Lambert who is a big wrestling fan. Tony said he went to Jericho with the idea and he loved it. Tony talked about the heat the feud has gotten in big arenas all over the place like Arthur Ashe. He said the feud has also gotten AEW mainstream coverage. Tony said the coverage they got was on the level of when they used Snoop Dogg and Shaq. Tony said he’s a big fan of Paige and he’d love her to do more.

-Tony is asked about how he likes doing the Dark tapings at Universal Studios. Tony said he plans on doing Dark when they can at Universal. Tony mentions the tapings have been fun and a lot of big stars have been generous with their time doing the shows.

-Tony is asked about Lio Rush making his in-ring debut. Tony mentions it is his birthday today. Tony is asked if Lio will continue working as a tag team with Dante Martin. Tony says there’s a story there and he doesn’t want to spoil it. Tony said he’s enjoyed it and he feels strongly about the team. Tony says Lio is a tremendous talent and he’s gotten great coaching from Tony personally and Sonjay Dutt.

-Tony said Lio did one show with AEW and retired from wrestling. Tony says he recruited him to come back and he told Lio to trust him. He said Lio had had a tough go of it in other places, but he wanted him to try wrestling in AEW.

-Tony is asked about AEW’s relationship with NJPW. He said they didn’t like Tony at first, but Tony mentions Jericho was a go-between him and AEW. Tony mentions that Jericho vs. Tanahashi in NJPW became a championship eliminator match. He also mentions he built a rep of being a good guy. Tony mentions how he let Jon Moxley work dates there. He said he’s a fan of NJPW and he mentions Rocky Romero coming out to his Rappongi Vice theme.

-Tony is asked if the TBS Championship Title will be on the same level as the AEW Women’s Championship. He said it will be siblings with the TNT Championship. Tony mentions how the TNT Championship matches have done great numbers and mentions matches like Cody vs. Brodie Lee doing big numbers on TV. Tony talks about how he built the field of 12 out of the contenders list and now it is down to eight.

-Tony is asked about attracting non-traditional wrestling audiences in the last six months. Tony said wrestling speaks to everyone and brings lots of people together. Tony mentions he’s speaking on his own experiences as a fan before he became a promoter. He mentions wrestling brings together a lot of people with different interests. Tony mentions signing names like C.M. Punk, Ruby Soho, and Adam Cole and how the company has grown as talent has been added.

-Tony said Hangman Page taking time off impacted the main event scene. Tony said he had to pay close attention to it. Tony said he made lemonade out of lemons given the situation. Tony says he thinks he made the best of the situation given that All Out was well received by the fans with Page not announced for the card. Tony mentions that people didn’t know for sure that Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson would be there either.


CATCH-UP: AEW EVP’s still enhancing the business of AEW, Tony Khan talks creative strategy shift

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