It’s no surprise that AEW President Tony Khan had been a huge wrestling fan himself before actually running a professional wrestling company. Khan was featured on the show Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette and they went on to discuss a variety of topics.
One of the questions addressed to Khan dealt with the current state of pro wrestling when there are so many promotions which we see are thriving in a COVID-19 pandemic environment.
Khan responded by saying “[I think] it’s great. Before the world had to deal with the pandemic, which has obviously changed the way wrestling is presented, you would have said a year ago, or even 10-11 months ago, that what a great time to be a wrestling fan. I still think you feel that way, but there’s nothing anybody can do to control the pandemic to stop COVID. But certainly, I think when the arena’s been full, the competition has been very, very good and it’s been a great time for wrestling,” Khan said.
Khan knows how frustrating this has been for wrestling fans not being able to attend AEW events. Khan in his personal opinion thinks their show has been the best through the pandemic. He admits he’s biased toward AEW obviously. Khan admits to seeing other good shows and I’m not saying it’s the only good show. But it all comes down to consistently having been the best show.
“I’ve seen other people do great stuff and I think we all push each other. [I feel] …competition is a good thing for them and also for the fans. Just before COVID hit, Jon Moxley had won the AEW title. I was saying this is the best time to be a wrestling fan.”
Renee agreed with that last statement of course and then she asked him if he watched any other wrestling products to get creative inspiration.
“Not as much for the creative process, but you don’t wanna be doing the exact same stuff. I think it’s important to make sure you’re not doing the exact same stuff that somebody is already doing,” Khan responded. “However I enjoy just watching wrestling too.” Some of the shows Khan takes in are New Japan and those big Triple A shows. He praised Kenny Omega’s match against the Laredo Kid as an excellent match, “I watched it on Twitch and it was great.”
Khan does appreciate promotions who are trying to keep fans entertained and also to keep everyone employed.
“That’s something I take a lot of pride in. We’ve maintained a lot of our staff and the integrity of our staff has actually grown as a company through the pandemic,” Khan revealed. “We actually have more people now that we started with,” Khan laughed. Tony Khan is more than just a wrestling executive as he’s a legit pro wrestling fan and that passion has followed him since he was a kid. Every wrestling fan, he explained, has their list of matches and Khan shared his favorites when Renee asked him his go-to matches would be to an incoming wrestling fan.
Khan described his answer by stating, “It’s changed a lot over time. When I was real young, it might have been Steamboat vs. Savage at WrestleMania III or it might have been Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect at King of the Ring in 1993,” Khan said. Then he got to watch those Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat matches; “I would have said those. The Chi-Town Rumble was a tape I had when I was young, before I had ever seen the Music City Showdown in Nashville or the New Orleans Clash. Then later, I might have said the John Cena-Brock Lesnar match when they beat the hell out of each other. Not the short one, I’m talking about Brock’s first match at Extreme Rules back in 2012 where he absolutely beat the sh-t out of John Cena.”
Khan would choose matches which featured a few wrestlers who work for him in AEW now.
“Then I would have to say a lot of matches that involved The Young Bucks and The Golden Lovers. I had seen the Golden Lovers and I really liked The Young Bucks a lot and I thought these guys we’re gonna be the next Hardy Boyz in 2009-10. That’s what I thought and I think a lot of wrestling fans felt that way,” Khan talked about. “They’ve come to transcend tag team wrestling and they’re important for our division. And the emphasis we put on it, so much comes down to The Young Bucks and their belief in it and how great they are as tag team wrestlers. Their mind for tag team wrestling is so great.”
Credit for the use of quotes in this article go to Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette.
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