AEW founder, President, CEO, Head of Creative Tony Khan conducted a media call today ahead of this Sunday’s All Out PPV. He talked about a vast array of subjects, like partnerships, working with CM Punk, the possibility of adding trios titles, or the Forbidden Door. SteelChair Mag took part in the call, so here’s a recap of the call with some noticeable quotes.
- On All Out
“I’m very excited about All Out. This is going to be the biggest pay per view event we’ve ever done.”
- On putting together the PPV card together
“We have so many great stars, we have a great roster. And it affords me the ability to be able to book a lot of big matches.” He added there will be a great card for AEW Dynamite Grand Slam, but All Out is the best PPV card they’ve ever presented. A lot of it was planned way ahead, and it was a long time in the making. He explained CM Punk and Darby Allin was basically a year and a half in the making when Khan began to talk with Punk about a potential comeback. Khan sent praise towards Allin, saying that he managed to keep rising up the card even without fans, earning the spot to be facing Punk in what is Punk’s return match to professional wrestling. “It’s been the most work to put a card together, but I think it will be the most rewarding for the fans and for all of us.”
- On taping AEW Dark at Universal Studios
By moving Dark to its own taping rather than the same night as Rampage, he and the other AEW coaches will have the opportunity to devote more energy and time to the characters and talent on that show. He said that AEW Dark: Elevation will still be taped before Dynamite. He mentioned the differences between AEW’s “A” and “B” shows and lists talent like Red Velvet, The Acclaimed, Varsity Blonds, and more who were losing matches on AEW Dark and eventually earned contracts. He compared the upcoming AEW Dark tapings in the studio format to WCW Worldwide and how they used it to develop talent. “And I want to bring back the spirit of those worldwide tapings, which were, which hold a very plump place in my heart.” He paid tribute to Bobby Eaton and noted he had great matches in that setting. “We’re going to do a lot of fun stuff there. And I think the fans that come we’ll see some top stars and great wrestling.”
- On adding a Trios Championship
Khan still thinks it would be great to add it, but right now, there’s a lot of stuff to get in. It would make sense, but that they already fit a lot of stories into Dynamite and Rampage, and nothing is imminent. He said that he used to book more trios matches for a variety of reasons, especially when Dynamite was running out of Daily’s Place every week. “We have a lot of great trios undoubtedly, and I think a Trios championship would really kick ass. So it does make a lot of sense, and it’s something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about.”
- On shows during the Jericho Cruise
If the Jericho Cruise is not an official AEW event, it’s Chris Jericho’s deal, Khan said they had a time-shifting situation where TNT had conflicts, and they’ll do the Saturday Night Dynamite, which conflicts with Jericho’s Cruise. He says some of the people for the cruise won’t be at Dynamite necessarily, but he’s talked to Jericho, and if there are injuries and such and they need people for Dynamite, he’ll fill in the gaps where necessary. But he doesn’t want to take anyone away from the Jericho Cruise that has been advertised. He said some Dark and Elevation matches could be taped on the cruise.
- On the goals and targets he set when he started AEW
Khan said, “very much so.” He just wanted a contract extension for Dynamite, and they did that faster than anyone anticipated by getting an extension less than four months into their run. “The company is at an all-time high for ratings. We’re about to do our biggest pay-per-view. I expect this to have great success. But, absolutely, some things have fallen into place faster than I ever would have expected. And I think it’s to the benefit of certainly all of us.”
- On working internationally
He is planning to expand into doing international work and on the west coast of the USA for AEW next year. He doesn’t want to put a date on it, but Craven Cottage (Fulham FC soccer stadium in South-West London) is a place he wants to make a home for AEW, but that they are at the mercy of circumstances as the last couple of years have shown and that he didn’t want to give a timetable.
- On AEW being close to have a full roster
He doesn’t think there’s any such thing as a full roster. One of the things he enjoys about AEW compared to Fulham or the Jaguars is that there is no salary cap to deal with and no limit on the size of the roster. He said that there are many different philosophies when it comes to building a roster and he wants AEW to continue to grow and evolve. He brought up 2point0 and Daniel Garcia as examples of people fitting a need that AEW had. He said not every signing has to be CM Punk, some signings can help fit certain parts of the puzzle.
“Every signing doesn’t have to be CM Punk or Jon Moxley, big names like that you can also sign talent that can really come in and enhance the quality of the show and stack up and help your roster. I think there’s a lot of different philosophies about roster building, you’re really looking to build from the top and the bottom. And that’s how you grow, frankly, all the way through. So there are all different spots in a wrestling company, and there are all kinds of different people that can fill the spots. As we expand our programming and grow, we’ve expanded the roster a lot. So I don’t know if there ever is really such a thing as a full roster.”
- On AEW partnerships and the “Forbidden Door”
Every relationship is different, he said, from Scott D’Amore at Impact, to Billy Corgan with NWA, to Gedo and Rocky Romero with NJPW. They’re all good relationships but unique. It’s been great exposure for those companies, and that he’s done a lot of favours in the past few years. He isn’t doing that to get something out of it. He thinks it’s good karma for AEW.
- On working with CM Punk on a creative level
Khan said that they’re having a great time, and Punk has a great mind and a lot of interesting ideas. He has a great relationship in discussing Creative with a lot of talent in AEW. He compares it to Sting and that it’s all about pacing and said Sting is very comfortable now doing more physical stuff. With Punk, it’s been cool collaborating with him and that he’s a good person to discuss ideas with. He has told Punk to let him know if he ever asks him to do something he’s uncomfortable with or that would be bad for his career.
He noted no one in AEW has creative control, but he doesn’t want to put people in bad situations that don’t make sense for them or the fans. Khan also added that he never wants a talent to feel uncomfortable with what they are doing, allowing open talks with the talents at all times. He also brought up his relationship with Jon Moxley and that he thinks he’s a genius while also hyping up his upcoming book, “one of the best wrestling books in many years.”
- On building stars and elevating Women’s wrestling
He’s trying to help other companies with it as well and brings up the NWA EmPowerrr show. He said he’ll be the agent on the Women’s Battle Royale at All Out, just as he was for the previous one. He thinks the roster is much better now and expects it to be a better match. He brought up Dark as a big part of the process of finding talent that fits what AEW wanted to do. He noted it was fun and exciting to see the reaction Anna Jay got with her return on Dynamite. He wants to continue to build the women’s roster.
He put over Kenny Omega’s eye for talent, saying that their meetings have been good in trying to improve the division. He put Britt Baker over as one of the great World Champions in wrestling. Khan also announced that Riho has been added to the Women’s Casino Battle Royale match at All Out. He also says he has something “pretty fun” planned for the surprise too. He also discusses the improvement of Penelope Ford and others in the women’s division.
- On the TNT Championship
For him, the TNT Championship is not a mid-card title but a top title. The key to the belt has been hot matches and PPVs. He noted the champion has always been a main eventer and a protected star. He never intended the TNT title to become a mid-card championship. Khan made it known that Darby Allin could not have won the championship right off the bat, but it was better when he became a red hot commodity to give him the title. He said there are belts in wrestling that used to be protected but were retired and brought back. He will never allow the TNT title to be that.
Here is the card for All Out:
- AEW World Championship: Kenny Omega (c) vs. Christian Cage
- CM Punk vs. Darby Allin
- AEW Women’s World Championship: Britt Baker (c) vs. Kris Statlander
- AEW World Tag Team Championship steel cage match: The Young Bucks (c) vs. The Lucha Brothers
- TNT Championship: Miro (c) vs. Eddie Kingston
- If Jericho loses, he must retire from the in-ring competition – Chris Jericho vs. MJF
- Jon Moxley vs. Satoshi Kojima
- Paul Wight vs. QT Marshall
- 21-woman Women’s Casino Battle Royale: Thunder Rosa, Nyla Rose, Penelope Ford, Jade Cargill, Anna Jay, Riho, The Bunny, Big Swole, Tay Conti, Hikaru Shida, Red Velvet, Julia Hart, Diamante, Emi Sakura, Kiera Hogan, Abadon, Leyla Hirsch, KiLynn King, Jamie Hayter, Rebel, a mystery participant
- The Buy-In pre-show match: Matt Hardy, Private Party & TH2 vs. Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, Wheeler Yuta & Jurassic Express
All Out is airing live this Sunday at 8 PM EST (1 AM BST) on Fite TV. The Buy In Free Pre-Show is airing live at 7 PM EST on AEW social media and Fite TV – All pics and videos courtesy of AEW