Tony Khan, President of AEW, recently talked to ITV Box Office, that will air Double or Nothing in the UK, which will also include the pre-show and a special documentary that covers the build-up to the event. Khan candidly talked more about the upcoming PPV and what the future holds for the partnership between AEW and ITV.
About choosing to work with ITV, Khan explains ITV has been the number one network in the UK. He says he has been in talks with the network for quite a while before he could measure what AEW was going to be. He’s really excited about the partnership and, since the announcement was made last week, the response has been “unbelievable.”
Khan reveals this partnership is also important for the wrestling fans: “This partnership gives people an opportunity to spread the wrestling virus. I’m a big wrestling fan. I was one of those fans as a kid like, if I was at school, I couldn’t wait to tell people about wrestling and get people to come over and watch wrestling with me or watch it at their own home. I hope people can do that and spread the love.”
He adds : “Maybe we can recreate what in many ways was a golden era because, right now, I think we’re in a golden era, in terms of work rate and in terms of personalities, and the calibre of wrestlers and the athletes in the industry, it’s unparalleled it’s never been like it is right now and I think nobody could argue that.”
Asked about how much he knows about ITV’s historical involvement with wrestling, Khan seems to be familiar with World of Sports Wrestling. He reminds the great tradition of wrestling in the UK, characters like Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks, but “from a work rate perspective, nothing could be completely opposite to that then Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, The Lucha Bros, Cody, Hangman, Chris Jericho of all people, these are the high work rate people that are here at AEW.”
About his long-term vision for this partnership, Khan said that his ultimate goals are to air pay-per-views like from the U.K. which would air in the U.S. in the afternoon. “We’re going to be
offering a lot more shows after Double or Nothing. I think there’s never been a better time to try and get people into wrestling because the product is so good. I think what we’re going to offer for free is really going to get people enticed to buy the pay-per-view. It’s really going to be the most widely available show to a live audience that we’ve had in the UK, many people have come up to me excited about that concept and told me they’re going stay up and watch it.”
He adds: “I think something that we can offer, I hope we do, and I plan to offer is shows here because there’s a great fanbase here. There’s a definitely a proven live audience that will come attend the shows. There’s a great television and pay-per-view audience here as well. Also, there’s a great chance to market that content back home to the American fans. If there was a show that had an 8:00 p.m. start time, it’s a pay-per-view here in London and at one of the great arenas that we would like to work with, that’s a still a very reasonable start time on a weekend. You could see a 3 p.m. start time on the US East Coast, a noon start time (on the US West Coast). These are great times to watch wrestling on a Saturday or Sunday. So I definitely think there’s a lot of potential to expand the partnership in a lot of ways and then obviously, in terms of our television product, there’s a lot of opportunities there as well.”
On what sets AEW aside from other industry giants, Khan bets on a great sporting centric product and focusing on athletes. “We have some of the best wrestlers in the world and I really want to showcase them but they also are some of the most dynamic personalities. It is going to be a lot of great matches but it’s also going to be some of the most entertaining people and wrestling. These guys are gonna be unleashed there and you’re going to see their personalities.”
He continues: “Shows are going to be great and they’re not going be what people are going to expect. We are going to take the matches seriously, like I want wins and losses to matter. I’m really excited to see you know how people react to it. I think it’s going to be a very different wrestling show. I plan to draw from a lot of what’s worked outside of wrestling.” Because Khan owns a large variety of sports properties, he thinks AEW is uniquely positioned to have wrestling, as a sport, take off.
Pics and videos courtesy of AEW and ITV Box Office