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The following is a recap of answers Tony Khan gave to questions during the AEW Double or Nothing 2022 media call including PWTorch’s own Sean Radican asking a question on the call:
Sean Radican:The numbers for Dynamite and PPV are very good, but there are more wrestling fans out there you could potentially reach. What innovations or edits can you make to tweak dynamite or rampage and make it more accessible to the next million fans you’re trying to grab.
Tony Khan: Tony said for us the best thing is we’ve seen growth on PPV. Tony said the best thing they can do is they can continue to develop and he doesn’t want to say nurture, but try to continue to grow the talent. Tony talked about adding top names like Punk, Danielson, Cole, and Storm and having their homegrown talent work with top talent that have made big names for themselves in the industry already.
He said there are ways in which they can hit new outlets and find revenue streams. Tony mentions a streaming service will help them find new fans. Tony mentions they have a partner like Warner Bros and Discovery with huge streaming capabilities to work with them on that.
-Tony is asked about MJF vs. Wardlow. Tony says people are excited about MJF vs. Wardlow and bringing in real life elements like MJF’s contract has made it more exciting.
-Tony is asked about the Warner Brothers and Discovery merger. He is asked about if he’s been given any reassurances about AEW programming going forward. Tony says they’re featured in the best way possible right now on Rampage and Dynamite. Tony said top executives are coming in to get to know AEW and hang out with them, which he says is a good sign. He said they want to host them and spend time with the wrestlers and staff. Tony mentions other shows haven’t gotten that reception and mentions some are no longer on the network. Tony feels like they will survive, thrive, and grow under the merger.
-Tony is asked about Hangman Page vs. C.M. Punk. Tony is asked if there was a temptation to push Punk into the main event scene right away. Tony says no because it was easy to have Punk come in and fight top flight wrestlers and earn the top spot in the rankings. Tony says Punk has put in the work in and out of the ring in the company. Tony brings up how Punk vs. MJF took the company to new heights on TV, PPV, merchandising, and live events.
Tony says they have the best champion in all of wrestling in Hangman Page who also worked his way to the top. Tony mentions the gate is over a million dollars and people all over the world will come together to watch this event.
-Tony is asked about All Out in Chicago. Tony says he loves the Chicago market and it’s home to him, AEW, and great wrestling. He says the Forbidden Door PPV will be at the United Center. He says that doesn’t mean you won’t see All Out in Chicago. He says Chicago is so important to AEW.
-Tony is asked about the Owen Hart tournaments. Tony talks about bringing in Owen Hart’s family and them being there to honor Owen Hart. Tony talks about being a fan of Owen and how he’s looking forward to Martha Hart saying something to the fans at Double or Nothing. Tony mentions some of the standout mathes from the tournament including Darby Allin vs. Jeff Hardy and Kyle O’Reilly vs. Samoa Joe amongst others.
Tony talks about the Samoa Joe vs. Adam Cole final for the men and we will find out the women’s final tomorrow on Rampage. He said the matches have made for great programming on TV and he said because of the flow of the tournament it’s similar to the NCAA in how you don’t know who will be in the finals until the end. Tony says they will do it every year.
-Tony is asked about doing a one night tournament. Tony said he wouldn’t necessarily ask that of anyone on the roster in terms of doing three matches in one night. He said he’d like wrestlers to be able to give their all in one match while spacing them out.
-Tony is asked about having what it would mean to have C.M. Punk as his champion. Tony mentions what Punk has meant to the company. Again he calls Hangman Page a great champion. Mentions his match against Bryan Danielson. He said Punk vs. Page will be exciting because of the roll both men have on in recent months. He said he can’t speak to what kind of champion Punk would be because Page is the best champion in wrestling.
-Tony Khan is asked why ROH was purchased separately and Tony said he was on the phone and it was easy for him to buy it personally once he made the deal. Tony said he was looking out for AEW and it makes sense for ROH to bring its own brand and be on its own feet. He said ROH won’t be a subsidiary to AEW. Tony mentions supercard being a critical and commercial success. He also mentions the buyrate for Supercard of Honor was 20x the last ROH PPV number.
-Tony is asked about the relationship with DDT Pro and whether or not they will see DDT Pro’s women. Tony mentions they’ve had a lot of great male and female wrestlers come through AEW and he’d like to get more women and men from DDT Pro.
-Tony is asked if Page went off script talking about Punk behind the scenes. Tony says they want to get in the ring and fight. He says they’re not friends and they want to fight. He said it makes sense that Page feels that way about Punk behind the scenes, so the promo made sense in his eyes. Tony mentions Punk using the Buckshot Lariat against Page’s friend John Silver as a reason for some of the animosity between them.
-Tony is asked if a women’s match could main event a PPV. Tony mentions they’ve had great women’s main events on TV. He mentions Battle of the Belts being headlined by women twice. Tony mentions Grand Slam was main evented by Britt Baker vs. Ruby Soho last year. Tony mentioned that Baker and Thunder Rosa headlined St. Patrick’s Day Slam twice. Tony said if the right women’s match comes along like Punk vs. Page being in the main event this weekend, he’d love to put that match in that spot.
-Tony is asked about allowing the talent to express themselves about social issues on TV. Tony said that because of the connections the wrestlers have with fans, people know the wrestlers are expressing their authentic thoughts.
-Tony Khan is asked what the winners of the respective Owen Hart tournaments will get. Tony said we will see on Sunday. He said they’ve shown Martha Hart and the Hart family what the winners will get and they have approved of it.
-Tony is asked about AEW coming to Canada. He said he’d love to bring AEW back to Canada. He mentions they have been on tour less than a year. He said they are servicing markets in the U.S. they planned to go to in 2020. He said it will happen in the near future. Tony mentions they have great wrestlers on their roster like Chris Jericho, Kyle O’Reilly, and Kenny Omega from Canada.
-Tony Khan is asked about signing Johnny Elite full time. He said he really likes Johnny and he had a great match with Samoa Joe. Tony brought him in with the thought that he’d like to bring back in the future. Tony said he’s more interested in John coming back.
-Tony Khan is asked when fans can expect some news about ROH on TV and live events. Tony said they’re still working on it. Tony said they’re being hosted in LA by Warner Bros and Discovery. He said he’s talking with them about the future of ROH and things they can do to expand AEW and the way content is delivered to fans. Tony says he is hopeful they’ll have ROH TV and continue the calendar of ROH PPV events. Tony said the company is in the strongest position it has ever been in.
-Tony is asked about bringing in women’s trios titles and women’s tag titles. Tony said he’s considered it and would love to add more titles and champions as they go if they make sense.
Contact Sean at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch
CATCH-UP: Owen Hart Foundation Tournament men’s final set for Double or Nothing
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