SteelChair Magazine was invited to take part in AEW’s post-All Out virtual media scrum, just after the show went off-air. Here are some highlights of what AEW Women’s World Champion Hikaru Shida, AEW World Champion Jon Moxley, and AEW’s CEO Tony Khan had to say just after an epic night at the Daily’s Place.
- On having to change her game plan, knowing she was fighting Thunder Rosa only a few weeks ago:
“Actually, I didn’t because she’s also a Champion in Japan (Rosa is the Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling International Princess Champion), and I know she knows the Japanese style well. Yes, I didn’t, but I just tried to hold on and stay strong. That’s just what I was thinking.”
- On her favourite part of working with AEW:
“They’re not. In Japan, independent wrestling is not so big work. I’m very happy because so many people can watch my match, and I can reach people from all over the world.”
- On working with Thunder Rosa:
“I wanted a strong, tough, and passionate partner. That’s what I was asking for, but Thunder Rosa was more than that.”
- On potential next opponents:
“Nyla Rose is number one, and I always want to do very much with against her. Big Swole is great too. I have so many wrestlers I want to fight, and I’m ready to wrestle anybody from the roster.”
- On the differences of preparation and matches between his last title defences, against Lance Archer and Brodie Lee, and MJF:
“That’s one of the fun things about wrestling, the different opponents and different styles. I think I can adapt to anybody’s style. I love working with a small guy like Darby Allin and doing Lucha moves, head scissors, arm scissors, and things like that. I also love working with just a straight-up ass-kicker like Brodie Lee and just have a tooth and nail fight. Then, a classic old school wrestler like MJF was pretty cool to work with because a lot of people think of me one way, but I was trained in the Les Thatcher system. I was trained called in a ring, old school, tackle, head down, tackle, get it again, the 60s style pro wrestling. So I love that old school classic style, so we were able to kind of blend our styles. It’s fun to kind of blend your style with somebody else’s and see what kind of wacky cocktail you can come up with.
It was interesting to have a different style of opponents in the light than some of these monsters I’ve been facing, and it was cool too to have a nice, however, long many weeks build up. The last pay-per-view, we didn’t know if we were going to do it. Guys were stuck in quarantine, guys were stuck in New York, I hadn’t even been on TV, and it was just like we got to throw this together. I love Brodie Lee, and I love that match. I love everything about that match, but a three-week build is not ideal, but we had a nice good build and a good story, and all the elements came into place. It was a nice little MJF first taste of what it takes to win a world title.”
- On a wrestler he lost to he would like to get some sort of revenge, on the loss he would like to scratch off his record:
“In AEW, there is nobody that’s pinned me or submitted me. I think the only loss I had was a DQ where I walked out of my own tag team partner, so there’s not really an AEW guy I can think of any repentance, but anybody who I got unfinished business with. There are so many guys I want to tangle with, and I’ll have to keep some of that close to the vest. I got my eyes on a lot of very specific opponents and specific stories I want to tell. Wrestling is a lot like surfing, sometimes you’re waiting for a wave, sometimes you’re riding a big ass wave, sometimes you’re riding a medium wave, sometimes there ain’t no wave at all, and sometimes you get off a wave, and you’re waiting for the next one to come in. Right now, I’m riding a really big ass wave, and I don’t know when it’s going to stop. It’ll stop one day, but right now, I’m really enjoying riding this wave.”
- On AEW working with other companies, like NWA:
“I love that idea. 2020, for me, was going to be an absolutely crazy and ambitious schedule, and I only had the first half of it worked out. In 2019, I only really had half the year, my first match as Jon Moxley was in June, so I only had really six months to work. I was like, now I’ve got a full 12 months to work. I’m the AEW World Champion. I’m going to take that belt all over the world, Europe, Australia, Japan, whatever it would be. I was going to kind of try to do like an old school world champion thing and take the belt around. I love that idea of working with the NWA or any other company. It’d be cool if all these companies like Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, New Japan have more talent trading back and forth. I’m not shy about the fact that I wish we had some type of agreement with New Japan. I’m obviously still a part of that roster. We’re obviously different companies, with different products and different business plans, so it’s not like we got to be married at the hip or anything like that. Maybe having a New Japan guy pop up for here or there or some of our young guys go over and do a Super Junior tournament to gain experience. I think that’d be great for everybody. I’m all about that. I’ll take this belt anywhere they want me to take it.”
- On MJF after wrestling him:
“He’s obviously got a long way to go. The thing we learned tonight is pretty simple, cheaters never win. You don’t win championships by taking shortcuts. He was out-wrestling me at some points tonight. He was sticking to his game plan perfectly. He had my arm all messed up, shoulder popped out of the socket. If he would have just sucked it up and stuck to his game plan, he might have walked out as World Champion tonight. But he tried to take a shortcut, and that just never works out for you. It’s like all those things your parents taught you that you never listened to. Measure twice, cut once. Always break down your cardboard, stuff like that. As I’ve said before, he’s going to be on top of this company long after I’m gone.”
- On wrestling Lance Archer in AEW after NJPW:
“I was trying not to pay too much attention to that Battle Royal. I had to focus on one task at a time, that’s just how my brain works. Like I said, all different styles and opponents, I want them all. Seeing Lance Archer win, I’m like, ‘Oh, God!’ They just keep getting bigger. I’ve faced him before in a Texas Deathmatch in the Tokyo Dome, and it’s one of my favourite matches this year. We beat the absolute holy hell out of each other. If you go back and look at the end of that match, he was lying broken and bleeding on a pile of broken tables, and I walked out with the belt. Ultimately, I don’t see it playing out any differently this time, but I do recognize this is an even more dangerous Lance Archer than I faced eight months ago. He just keeps getting better, and over the last year, he has really stepped up his game and is a true dominant monster now. He’s got the coaching or expertise or advocacy of Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts now, who I’m sure is going to be trying to play some mind games with me. Maybe I get to trade some work on the microphone with the great Jake Roberts. That’s really intriguing. I’m going to go get good and drunk tonight, but tomorrow morning, we start working on Lance Archer.”
- Opening remarks on Matt Hardy’s situation:
“I just want to give a note here at the beginning and say that the health and safety of the wrestlers is always the most important thing at AEW. I just wanted to give everybody an update on Matt Hardy and say, most importantly, Matt is okay, and he’s going to be okay. What had happened was Matt had taken a fall in the match, and I stopped the match, paused the match, and sent the doctor to check on him. I was concerned that Matt could be hurt. I rang the bell to pause the match.
When the doctor checked him, he passed him and cleared him on the concussion protocol. He checked with Matt, and then Matt came back after and passed the concussion protocol, and he’s doing okay. I spoke with him after the match and talked to him again just now. He went, as a precaution, to the hospital to get some tests and check out that he’s okay but looks like he is okay, and that’s why the doctor cleared him to continue. It was not something that any of us enjoyed. It was a scary moment, but the most important thing is that Matt is okay. We’re all really glad about that.
— Italo Santana (@BulletClubIta) September 6, 2020
Yes, there was a good amount of time to make the decision. The doctor did clear him. Matt did not pressure him, and Dr. Sampson would not be pressured into clearing anybody. He’s pulled people from our shows without hesitation, whether it’s been something with a blood test or something with an injury. He’s really strict about that stuff, and that’s why when people have had injuries that he didn’t feel comfortable with people doing physicality type stuff, we never put those people out there.
I would never go against a doctor’s decision. Most importantly, Matt would not have been able to overrule the doctor’s decision. Not with the doctor himself, and not with me. That’s what happened. The doctor cleared him, which is the first and foremost important thing. Matt also did want to continue, but the doctor cleared him. At that point, when the doctor cleared him, and Matt said he wanted to continue, we allowed it to continue.”
- On All Out being the PPV he dreamed about:
“It was a great pay-per-view. I thought it was a great All Out, and this was a pay-per-view I dreamed about. We all had a scary moment. I was scared for Matt. I’ve never rung the bell on a match before, never paused a match before, and never been in that position. We’ve sent the doc out many times to check on people, but never I had to stop the match until I knew that it was good to continue and had the okay from both the wrestler and the doctor.
I thought it was a great show. In terms of the rest of the show, I loved it. I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the main event, Jon Moxley and MJF. It was just unbelievable. Those guys had such a great match, and I’m really happy for both of them because that was a great pay-per-view main event. It was a big show, there were a lot of big matches, there was some crazy stuff, but in terms of the wrestling, yes, I love this pay-per-view.
Britt Baker and Swole, what they did was really fun. The limitations Britt was coming off of with a serious leg injury and hadn’t done any physicality until this past week, and that was why, for a lot of reasons, I think it made a lot of sense to protect her in this match, but at the same time; I thought her ideas were great, and I thought it may be a polarizing match for some people.
The Young Bucks match was excellent. Jurassic Express and the Bucks have incredible chemistry. We’ve seen them in the six-man tag recently on Dynamite, and I thought that was a great match to start the live aspect of All Out at Daily’s Place. I really loved the World title matches across the board. Shida vs. Thunder Rosa was tremendous. The World Tag Team Titles match was tremendous. I really enjoyed it. It was everything I think we thought that title match could be and FTR be great Tag Team champs. Moxley and MJF killed it. I thought they were awesome, and it was a great main event. I loved the show even though there were a couple of moments where I was nervous.”
- On Matt Cardona in AEW:
“We’ll have to see. I can’t say a hundred percent. I can’t speak for Matt, but I can speak for us, and I’ve had a great experience working with Matt, and I hope he’s really enjoyed it here. I think Matt would be a great person in AEW, but we’ll have to see. It’s not done yet either way.”
- On Thunder Rosa:
“I think she’s tremendous. I would love to bring her back. I can’t speak for the NWA if they’d like to send her back, but she’s a great wrestler, and she’s a great credit to her company. She did not win the AEW title tonight, but I think she is a great champion, and I would love to work with her again. It’s not all up to me, but if I could work something out with Billy, I’d love to have Thunder Rosa come back.”
- On Britt vs. Swole match moved from the main card to the Buy In, then back to the main card:
“I was at the dentist’s office when we were filming, and I was really enjoying it. I was there, and I was keeping an eye on the timing, and after we finished filming, I looked at the timing of it. I know what was in the show, I wanted to be conservative, and I also felt like, going into it, I wasn’t sure how much Britt was going to be able to do, so if it was going to be something where I didn’t feel comfortable asking people to pay for it, I wouldn’t have put it on the show, and that’s why I didn’t want to take a chance. It was definitely, for the storyline and for a lot of reasons, it was something we wanted to do, and I thought it was a great moment for Swole, and I thought it was an incredible performance by Britt, and I was really happy for both of them. As I was there watching it, and we’d gone through this, they were doing such an amazing job, the two of them.
I was there with Kenny Omega, Jerry Lynn, and Dustin Rhodes, and a camera crew. I thought about it, and I looked around. I had my show format, and I looked through and said, ‘Let’s put this on the main show. I think I’m gonna do it’. I really like what they’re doing. I think this was a great match and now that I know that there’s time, and we can work it in, then yeah, let’s do it. I think you saw it was a long show tonight, and I just wanted to make sure that we’d be able to actually literally fit it in the pay-per-view window, we were able to, and it was great.
Most importantly, they got through it, I was really glad Swole got such a big win, and I was happy for Britt because she’s cleared to come back. She had this big match, and even though she didn’t win the match, she was showcased in such a unique way, and there’s nobody else in wrestling that could have done what she did in this match. She is like the horror movie villain in so many ways, the evil dentist, but also she’s just a great performer, a great wrestler, and a great person. That’s why I changed my mind.”
- On Eddie Kingston and the new talents brought in recently:
“We have really good eyes for talent around here. The people that work here do a great job scouting, and people make suggestions. It’s not that easy to get hired here, especially at this point through the pandemic, people are getting hired on merit, and Eddie’s a great example. Cody had come in with ideas for possible opponents that he could work TNT title matches with. I looked at his lists, by far my favourite name in that first batch was Ricky Starks, and then we got into another one, and I really liked Eddie Kingston. I’d never met either one of them, but I’ve seen both of them on the NWA. I really liked both guys, but I wanted to see in person before we made a big commitment and both guys just crushed it. I mean, it was really like a tryout match, and we do stuff like that all the time, bring people in and give them an opportunity to sink or swim, and frankly, even if you don’t sign somebody, it doesn’t mean they sank. I’d say, you know you really have to swim at a very, very, very high level to walk back and have me want to sign somebody like that.
There are more great people coming into AEW. We’ve got something fun planned for Wednesday. I think everyone will enjoy speculating on who Kip Sabian’s best man for his wedding might be, and the wedding is a ways off. We have the bachelor party first, but that’s gonna be fun. I’m constantly looking at new talent. We have great eyes here. I can’t say enough about Cody, the Bucks and Kenny, all the people that they’ve suggested. Jericho, too. So many of the top people here are people that they’ve brought up in the first place, and those people have done an amazing job, and I’m really proud of the system we have.”
- On Women’s wrestling on Dynamite:
“The match that Thunder Rosa had with Serena Deeb this past week was one of the best matches we’ve had on Dynamite in a long time. It was really really a tremendous match. I think we are going to keep consistently great matches like the ones we’ve been having. For me, I am always looking to add more programming. I would always like to add more hours of programming. It’s no secret that we are looking to add a third hour of television on TNT, which will open up more opportunities for people on the roster, but we’re also looking at adding more series streaming properties. I’d like to expand the roster, and I’d also like to expand our programming to give more hours in the week for the roster to perform, and I think there’s a demand for it.”
All pics, screencaps and videos courtesy of AEW