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 President, CEO, head booker and head writer Tony Khan had to say just after an epic night at the Daily’s Place.
This second part will be dedicated to AEW President and CEO, Tony Khan. For Allin, Wight and Page, click here.
- On Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega conditions after the match
“Both guys are great. Honestly, I’m glad neither guy came out with a serious injury because it was a really scary match, and they both really put their health at risk for a huge pay-per-view main event. It was awesome. It was a great spectacle, and I think we’re all lucky that the bomb going off, in the end, didn’t really hurt anybody there. Kenny’s master plan, he built a dud. Who would have thought when he drew up the big plan with crayons that the bomb failed to take out both guys. The battle really delivered excellent action. Both guys came out okay, which is great because, on paper, it looked like the kind of match where somebody could get hurt.”
- On Darby Allin directing and producing his promos, vignettes and tonight’s match
“I’m really glad he asked. Darby is a really great gifted young filmmaker, and I’m so glad you used that term to describe him because that’s the term I used to describe Darby also. He’s a great filmmaker, and working with him on this was a pleasure, and that’s accurate. He did do 90%. Darby really was effectively like co-directing this. We had a vision for it, this story I’ve been working on with him going back almost a year now with Taz, and we’ve had plans for a long time to bring Sting into it and do this match, and it all paid off in a really spectacular way. Everybody put their body into it. I can’t say enough about the effort all everyone gave and particularly Sting coming back from such a long layoff. It was awesome. As a filmmaker, Darby envisioned a great spectacle and organized all these shots, and every time we called cut, he was right there, making sure we did it right. There were times where it involved him doing something insane to do it a second time, and he was that willing to do it because he’s so passionate about it. He’s a very gifted filmmaker indeed, and he’s also a great wrestler and a really important person to this company.”
- About the “missed” explosion
“The plans we saw in crayon, and all through the match, we saw it. It looked very cool, and it’s a very deadly, painful match, but in the end, I mean, I don’t know what people really wanted, unless you actually wanted us to explode the guys at the end, there’s only so much you can do. So without blowing the ring and both guys up, I think the basic explanation is that Kenny’s ring set to explode, his plan, as a heel, to build this thing with a hammer and nails as we saw, the final bomb just didn’t go off.”
- On Hikaru Shida as the Women’s Champion
“I thought she was sensational tonight, she was excellent in that match, she’s had a great history with Mizunami going back to the beginning of AEW, going back almost two years to the very first AEW Double or Nothing. They had an excellent match, Mizunami had several great performances through the Eliminator tournament, and Shida has been a great champion for us through the pandemic. She’s had so many great matches on Dynamite and on PPV. She is a great champion and has been one of our most consistent wrestlers over the past year.”
- On Maki Itoh in AEW
“Maki Itoh is tremendous. I hope to see her here often, and we’ll definitely see her on Wednesday night live on dynamite in this six-woman tag, she’ll be teaming with Brit Baker and Rebel, Brit’s assistant. She is slated for the match but already I’m hearing that she’s trying to get out of the match, so it’ll be interesting to see if she’s able to participate, but we’ve got great opponents lined up for them with Thunder Rosa, Shida, and Mizunami. So Maki Itoh is going to be involved in AEW this week on Dynamite, I’m very excited about that.”
- On the construction of the barbed-wire match and the influence of Onita
“Onita vs Funk match, everybody would watch that and we did several barbed wire matches to get a good feel for him, we did a lot of tests and safety precautions with the Fire Marshall The story kind of gave us an out for the ring, not completely exploding and killing both guys because again it was Kenny’s construction, this thing he built to be the Moxley extermination chamber You saw him kind of build it crudely with a hammer and it looked like a great plan and, to be fair, it worked all through the match. Kenny’s such a great wrestler, he survived it, he got to the finish, he was in trouble, The Good Brothers came out to help him, so there was a story there. The construction of it was such that you know we’re using barbed wire and I had to take a lot of precautions and treat it with great care. We had to do a lot of rehearsals of the explosions but again, there’s only so much you can really do with explosions without really hurting people so I think that’s why it was good to give us an out with a story when we didn’t actually explode the ring. Maybe Kenny’s craftsmanship as a bomb builder is not his forte, maybe he should stick to wrestling.”
- On Christian Cage’s signing
“He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. I met Christian Cage seven years ago, he’s a great person. I’ve always really liked him as a person, but long before that, I was a huge, huge fan of him as a wrestler. I think he’s one of the great wrestlers of the last couple of decades. He’s had great matches in different companies. He’s a great singles wrestler, a great tag champion. I think he adds a lot here. He’s one of the best minds in wrestling, and he’s in great physical condition. We saw him very recently compete on pay-per-view, and there was a lot of interest in it. It generated a lot of interest. He was interested in wrestling on a regular basis, and he gave me a call. He said, ‘I’d really like to come to wrestle in AEW.’ And I said, ‘I’d really like to have you come wrestle in AEW for me, that sounds awesome.’ It all came together great.
“It came up in the last few weeks. Paul [Wight] and I had been talking and were trying to put together a deal while I was trying to launch Elevation, and that took a little bit more time to come together as we were putting that deal together, and that one I kept a secret a little bit longer. This one came together pretty quickly. Christian Cage had just recently returned to the ring and looked incredibly impressive, and I was not aware that he did not have a contract and was going to be interested in wrestling for us. He’s a friend of mine, and I didn’t know he would be [interested in] coming here. Never in a million years would I have imagined it. Now I’m kind of kicking myself he wasn’t here when I saw him come back [at the Royal Rumble]. He got a great reaction. I can’t say it enough, I have so much respect for him.
“All the wrestlers here, this locker room has so much respect for Christian Cage as one of the great minds, the great wrestlers. So many people here consider him one of their heroes, and it’s great that the younger generation is going to get to wrestle against somebody who is known for being one of the best minds, not a selfish person at all, who’s looking to share their knowledge with all these young wrestlers because we have so many wrestlers in their 20s, and we’re expanding our content this year. We’re doing more shows with the Dark extension now, and Elevation launching in a week on the 15th but also launching another hour on TNT. So we’re expanding the roster, and having someone awesome and a great headliner like Christian Cage is amazing, and also against some of our main-eventers, there’s some of them he has a great history with, and other main-eventers on this card that he can have great dream matches with that people thought they were never going to see. And I know there’s great interest in him because I know there has been great interest in him in just the past several weeks.”
- On when Shida will main-event a show
“It’s going to happen incredibly soon, like in the next several weeks.”
- On the pressure of trying to top an exploding barbed-wire match
“It’s a very physically taxing match. I’m glad we didn’t actually have to blow the guys up at the end and that Kenny’s master plan to exterminate Moxley. Thankfully, he didn’t finish it. It would be a very tough match to top, I don’t like beating the guys up and taking so much out of the guys, I’m a wrestling purist at heart, but doing crazy stuff like this on pay-per-view sometimes is cool. It’s fun and it’s different. It’ll be difficult to come up with something that would beat the guys up this much but I think we were coming up on Double or Nothing and then got some great matches playing for Dynamite and some really fun stuff and that’s kind of the fun thing about wrestling is watching the best wrestlers try to come up with new ways to beat the hell out of each other and do crazy awesome things. That’s one of the great things about the art form of wrestling is always finding ways to top itself so I’m not sure yet how the guys will find a new crazy way to beat each other up.”
- On Ethan Page signing
“Ethan Page will be here a very long time. I think Christian Cage is a great signing but they’re both great signings. Ethan page is definitely something we’ve had up our sleeves for a while and I’ve been really looking forward to him getting that work visa, being over here for Revolution as we plan to feature him. On the heel side, he’s going to be a big help to us here and he’s going to make a big splash and so I was really excited to get Ethan Page in. He’s a great wrestler and a great promo and he’s going to be a great addition for us for the long term.”
- On cinematic matches working well for Legends like Sting
“This was a perfect match for Sting and I had planned to do this cinematic match for several months, dating back to when Sting and I first started talking about Sting debuting in AEW in late 2020. When I told Darby about this, he and I began kind of planning it out and I gave him the basics of it, the finish and some key stuff but, like he said, he really did the heavy lifting on planning shots and storyboarding this thing, he’s a great visionary. The great connections in wrestling like when you really see the great creative partnerships, when there’s somebody like that a great star who has like a visionary and has a plan and what I can do as a booker and a promoter and a TV producer is not only given the resources but like share a vision with him. Like I always say, there’s not a person alive that I have less in common with than Darby in real life but I know when he’s got something that’s cool and he’s often got really cool ideas. I really like collaborating with him, it’s just a really great pleasure to watch him work and I’ve enjoyed working with him on this.”
- On the importance of having people like Paul Wight, Christian Cage, or Sting when launching new programming and getting new eyes on the product
“The combination of Sting’s arrival, his comeback match, all the great matches on this card and then the star power coming in with Paul and the arrival of a new star, plus a debut in the ladder match with Ethan Page, I mean familiar faces. I said we’re going to come in and some new faces and I think that’s true and that’s going to be consistent the rest of the year. I would be remiss if I didn’t leave the scrum without promising everyone this, which is that in this year 2021, I guarantee you I am going to have some aces up my sleeve this year. You are going to see some cool stuff, you are going to see stuff you did not expect to see. This is the beginning, I promise it’s going to be a great year for AEW. I’m glad we got out of the show tonight without any really serious bad injuries because there’s a lot of scary matches on the show and everybody did a great job in the ring.
“Those guys, they had a lot to do with it and I think, as we develop more programming, as we launch a new extension of the Dark brand with Elevation and later this year we’re launching another new show on TNT, so absolutely having some fans favourites and familiar faces to all wrestling fans is important. These are all guys that are going to be important to us, Sting and Christian Cage in the ring, and Paul white at first as a host but also I do expect he will return to the ring for us as well. Then we have this great roster of stars that are on top of their game right now great stars and also all these young wrestlers that are on the verge of breaking through and really, even behind them, guys that are on the verge of being on the verge of breaking through; which is pretty awesome. I think everyone can see the depth here and it’s a great time for us to expand our programming and so having more star power is a very good thing and it’s not going to stop. Christian Cage is a huge addition, Paul Wight was a huge addition, Sting was a huge addition. Early in the year, we made huge additions. We added Matt Hardy, Mr Brodie Lee and Brian Cage in the first half of last year and I think we’ll add big names in the first half of this year and then you’ll see a lot of crazy stuff throughout the year, I promise.”
All pics, screencaps, and videos courtesy of AEW