SteelChair Magazine was invited to take part in AEW’s post-Revolution virtual media scrum, just after the show went off-air. Here are some highlights of what TNT Champion Darby Allin, Paul Wight, Hangman Adam Page, and AEW’s CEO Tony Khan had to say just after an epic night at the Daily’s Place.
- On teaming up with Sting
“It means the world to me to be teaming with Sting because to have any part of his legendary career, especially possibly the tail end, is a huge thing. If I have anything to write that story, it’s a complete honour, and we did a lot of work. We busted our asses out there.”
- On working with wrestling veterans like Sting and Taz and what’s he going to take away from them, going forward
“A lot of it goes into them trusting me and like seeing my vision, and we’ve been putting this work into about a year now with Team Taz, in six months with Sting. It’s like me and Tony Khan just sticking to the vision and them trusting my vision because I visualized a lot of this match tonight, and then to put it out there and not second-guess my directing. It meant a lot to me. I’ve got to take a lot of it, they had a lot to say during this whole process.”
- On how involved he was in the creation of the match
“I would say I was involved in 90% of it. I was doing damn near everything that night, there was a lot of work put into this. I was up for weeks helping produce this, so it was a lot. It was a good experience because my ass dropped out of film school, so this was kind of a test to see my directing skills, so it was fun. I had a good time, then everybody trusting me, and then Ricky (Starkz) busting his ass too and making everything, so it was an honour to be a part of this.”
- After the cinematic match with Sting, what is he looking to accomplish with Scorpio Sky
“The biggest thing is I’m the TNT champion, and I want to remind everybody about that. Even though the TNT championship wasn’t on the line tonight, I want to remind everybody why I am the TNT Champion in the first place, so Scorpio Sky’s going to be the first step into showing everybody why I deserve to be champion because I see the messages and everybody says, “Well, Darby’s not defending it.” Well, no, I wasn’t defending it because I was stuck with Team Taz and having to work with that. There was a lot of work put into that, and I want to remind everybody while I’m TNT Champion, and it all starts against Scorpio Sky.”
- On kind of picking Sting’s brain while working with him
“It was good. Like I said earlier, having him coming to AEW, having a lot of trust in me, a lot of faith in me meant the world, and for us to have this big match, this big blow off, it meant everything that he trusted me with his career because coming in here is no small task and there was a lot of trust put into it, and that meant the world to me. I respect the hell out of Sting.”
- His thoughts on the show and the big announcement of Christian Cage signing
“I haven’t seen any of the reactions of the fans. I watched this pay-per-view backstage, and this is the first one that I really had to sit and study. This is where I’m working now. I thought it was great storytelling all the way through. I like how the pay-per-view built. I was really impressed with the tag team [battle royal]. I thought they did a great job with the finish at the end, where you wound up with [Rey] Fénix, [PAC], and Jungle Boy. That was a great story. Those are very hard matches to have, let alone a tag team battle royal. I thought there were some great stories in there. I thought all the tag teams involved, everyone came out with a little bit of a shine, which is hard to feature that many guys. I thought they did a great job with that. I was really impressed with the cinematic match with Sting and Darby [Allin]. Brian Cage just looked like a monster tonight. All I kept referencing was Cage looked like Incredible Hulk from Avengers with the shadow and the lighting. He did a great job of establishing himself. Darby’s actually on my list. Hopefully, one day I get to work with him. You know me, I’ve had more turns than NASCAR, so hopefully, by then, I’ll be a heel, and it’ll be a lot of fun.
“The main event tonight, incredible. That’s one of those kinds of matches where there’s such a potential for things not coming off the way you want them to, and everything that needed to come, I think they did a fantastic job with. Their story, the fight, the cringing moments with Mox landing in the barbwire. I thought it was really intricate how a lot of things were protected, even with Kenny’s finish where Mox kicked the ropes, and it blinded Kenny, so the finish was still protected. A lot of those things that are put in a match are things that I look for, and I really enjoy the effort those guys put out, even the referee. A referee does their job, you don’t notice them, but the things I paid attention to, the ref did a great job of selling the action that was going on. I think both of those guys really told that part of the match and that story. They really knocked it out of the park. It was really enjoyable, and you heard the people backstage reacting to it with the different pyro and the barbwire being tangled up. I’ve had a few of those hardcore matches in the ECW days. I haven’t had a barbwire one. I had a thumbtack one. I think this one definitely beats the thumbtack one for sure.”
- On the AEW’s locker room, its atmosphere and how it differs from where he was previously
“The atmosphere is completely different. I think any time you start over new somewhere, it’s automatically going to be refreshing, but even more so here. The one thing that is different here that I really enjoy is the support and the fight that the talent have over here, the respect and recognition and the drive. That’s the heart of professional wrestling and doing entertainment. It’s not guys stepping on each other’s toes, cutting each other’s throat to get a position. You want a team where everybody is trying to get over, and everybody is trying to make the best possible product for the fans, and that kind of environment I thrive on, and I love this environment.
“I haven’t seen a locker room with this kind of positive energy in a long, long, long time. I’ve heard the stories from some of the guys. I heard the stories from [Chris] Jericho about how nice it was here, and I talked to Cody and Billy Gunn and people I’ve known for a long time. They said, “It’s different over here Paul, it’s different.” To come over here and actually see that and see that support and see just the attitude in the locker room, it’s so invigorating. It’s like getting a blood transfusion, I would have to say. I feel like a young kid all over again. I can’t wait to get out there and do my job, and then lace up my boots and get to perform with these athletes and get to know them.”
- On possibly keeping doing some ambassador work outside of wrestling and commentary
“Absolutely. One of the things that I was fortunate for being with WWE for so long is I got a chance to build some great community relationships and some great partnerships. One of the partnerships that’s very dear to my heart is Special Olympics. That’s one of the conversations I have with Tony coming over here, I said, “I know it’s going to be a little bit awkward, but I’m still going to be involved with Special Olympics even though that’s kind of a brand that’s teamed in wrestling with WWE. I think everybody involved, WWE, Special Olympics, and AEW, understands my passion and commitment to Special Olympics, so that’s not a problem going forward.
“That’s one thing about Tony. Tony understands what I bring to the table. I can only help AEW’s product by getting involved with community projects and organizations I care about. Plus, there’s a lot of opportunity for me now that, in essence, we’re building the Paul Wight brand, so I got the chance to do a lot of positive things with my own brand for things in the future as well. And I’ve got the freedom to do more movies, to do more television, to do more community aware things that I’ve wanted to get involved with. Before, a lot of those opportunities were limited because there were so much talent and so many people striving for the same things. Now, I’m not competing against the other people around me. Now, I’ve got this wide-open atmosphere, and the positive reinforcement and encouragement behind it are just unreal. For me, it’s very surreal to come from a competitive market to now where it’s competitive, but it’s also very supportive.”
- On the wrestlers he wants to face in AEW
“Well in AEW, there’s such a tremendous amount of talent here that I’ve already kind of scoped out if you will and put on my list. One of them is definitely Darby Allin. I love his presence in the ring and his character. We’re such opposites in size and careers that I would love to work with. Kenny Omega, of course. I would love to team up again with Jericho or Billy Gunn. I would love to work with those guys in a team. There are some big guys here that I would definitely like to work with. Lance Archer is probably at the top of my list right now, Luchasaurus, Brian Cage, Wardlow, these are all big guys that I think, if I get a chance to work with them, I could do the best that I could for them by being the ring and working with them. You can talk to people in the back and all that, but actually getting in the ring and letting the guys experience a different pace, a different tempo, and a different kind of action really can help them come into their own. That’s why I’m still doing what I’m doing because I love helping the talent. Don’t get me wrong, I love performing too, but also making the business better.”
- On his first contact with AEW and his farewell conversation with Vince McMahon
“Here’s the thing, Vince actually called me the day it was announced that I had signed with AEW. He wished me a lot of luck. He agreed that I am going to be a fantastic asset to AEW, thanked me for all the years I had worked in WWE. There’s no animosity, there’s no anger, there’s no dirt so to speak. This just came down to, you know, contract negotiations and opportunities. Let’s face it, over 20 years in WWE. I have done everything there is to do in WWE. I needed a fresh start, and for me, I think Vince understands that and understand me as a talent, and this was that opportunity for me to do that. When you follow the rules, like, I couldn’t reach out to AEW or Tony Khan when I was under contract, and I didn’t. I came to terms with a mutual dissolution of services, and I left WWE. There’s no anger in it. I needed the freedom to pursue different opportunities. When that contract came to an end, that was the thing where I took a big leap of faith and hoped that my reputation in the industry and the work that I’ve done would earn me a meeting with Tony Khan. He would understand that I would be an asset to AEW.
“When my contract expired, which is really great, I actually got a chance to drive up to Jacksonville, and Tony and I had a meeting at like 10 o’clock at night in his office. We talked about wrestling and psychology, and what I wanted to do in AEW, and one of the big passions that I’ve had for a long time is getting to colour commentate. Trying to bring my experiences from the ring like a great Gorilla Monsoon or Jesse Ventura were able to bring to commentary to help get the talent in the ring over more, and help tell their stories, I was looking forward to that opportunity. And also the opportunity to compete with some fresh talents,” Wight said. “People that I haven’t had angles with. Some people that I can also help become better. And also, a new environment, a new place to work helps reinvigorate yourself, you know? Believe me, leaving WWE was scary because I had so much tenure there and so much experience and had basically paid every due I needed to pay there in WWE. To leave that stock, and basically put a lot of faith in yourself and say, if you’re really passionate about this and really want to do this, you need to put your big boy pants on and see if it works out. I’m very grateful and very thankful that it all worked out, and hopefully, the AEW fans will be happy as well.”
Hangman Adam Page
- On working with Matt Hardy
“I’ve known Matt obviously since I was a kid watching wrestling on TV. He and Jeff were legitimately my favourites being from North Carolina. I remember reading their book and it just felt so much like my life. I got to meet him years and years ago, he’s obviously a different person now or maybe more willing to show it. To get to have this pay-per-view match with him and see that he can, for as long as he’s been in the game, still go just as hard as anybody else, so good.”
- On the arrivals of Ethan Page, Christian Cage and Paul Wight
“With Paul and Christian, obviously you bring years and years and decades of tenure here, so I think there’s a lot that they can teach guys around here. Ethan Page is a piece of shit for heaven, my last name. I’m just kidding, we’re cousins so we meet in Dallas for family reunions, so it should be good and exciting to see what he brings to the table. He’s in great shape too, he’s got in tremendous shape, so hats off to them, I guess.” (Note from the Editor: Page and Page are absolutely unrelated)
- On his chemistry with Dark Order
“I’m having the most fun I’ve had in a long time, honestly a long time. It feels very new and very different but gets very familiar in some ways but I’m having a great time. All those guys have so many great ideas and stuff and it’s just so good to get to work with those guys. I think they’re people who were maybe undervalued, underappreciated a lot from the offset here in AEW, and even before but, just like me, they used every bit of creativity and passion and determination and wit to find themselves a channel, to kind of get their personalities out there. That hard work has paid off a lot and I’m having a really good time working with those guys.”
- On the locker room getting through Brodie Lee’s passing
“It’s incredibly difficult, knowing the situation from the get-go and for weeks and weeks hoping for some news and ultimately losing Brodie. I didn’t personally know him that well and I won’t claim to but my heart goes out to just everybody else in this locker room who did and people elsewhere who obviously spent years and years with him. He was a tremendous person and the show goes on. We came here on that Wednesday to pay tribute to him, I was tremendously honoured to be a part of that because i don’t feel like I deserved it. There are so many more people who deserved to pay tribute to him that just didn’t get to and I did, so I’m eternally grateful for that.”
- On what he’s going to do with Matt Hardy’s money
“That was my winnings tonight and I recently just got the figures, it’s about what I expected. Honestly, I’m gonna take a little bit of it and pay a little bit on the mortgage. I’ve been in the market for a new lawnmower for quite a while. Coming here to Jacksonville, you go up and down the street and you see people camping on the side of the street. With the way this year has been, kids out of school, people out of work, I don’t need the money, just give it to somebody who needs it. Honestly, I don’t need it and I think it. Give me something else to keep fighting for.”
- On joining the Dark Order
“No, I think we’ve come to a mutual understanding. I did the group thing with Matt and Nick and Kenny and it just didn’t work out well for me. I just don’t want that for myself again and I don’t want that for them again. I don’t have to be a member of the Dark Order to have their back and obviously tonight you saw that. I don’t have to be a member of the Dark Order for them to have my back quite literally. Maybe this is the way things are supposed to be.”
All pics, screencaps and videos courtesy of AEW