Tony Khan On His Wrestling Fandom Fueling AEW, Weight Classes, Women’s Wrestling Diversity & More

Following last night’s monumental AEW Double or Nothing pay-per-view at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, company President Tony Khan took some time to speak with members of the press. Check out the video above, courtesy of Pro Wrestling Sheet. 

When did the Jon Moxley deal get worked out? 

“As soon as he was out of his deal and wanted to talk to people, he came to me and I was really excited to talk to him, when he was able to talk to me. He’s been great, and I’m very excited that he’s part of the roster.”

What was your personal highlight from Double or Nothing? 

“My highlight of the night was at the end of the show, after Mox took down Kenny, we go off and we realize we’ve done one of the all-time greatest pay-per-views. There’s nothing that can stop us now. Kenny is okay, and that was pretty much my only big concern at that point, because I knew we hit a home run of a show.”

Will we see you in any storylines going forward? 

“No. We have way too many good performers for that.”

What is AEW’s relationship with Cracker Barrel?

“They’re a sponsor. They provided some excellent catering. The catering was excellent, on top of being a good friend of AEW. They love our performers. They love the guys, and we tried to work in their props.”

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Can you speak on PAC being removed from Double or Nothing? 

“It would have been great if he would have been able to be here. I’m a huge PAC fan. We love PAC. Hopefully he’ll be working a lot of shows for us in the future. It just didn’t work out. There were a lot of reasons why, but I think the show turned out great. We all respect him as one of the best performers.”

How does your personal fandom of wrestling play into what you’re going to accomplish with AEW? 

“By loving wrestling and watching a lot of wrestling, I think it is going to help. By understanding what a fan wants to see, from top to bottom – I feel like today I was able to go sit with the guys, and everyone had great opinions on what was going to make this a great show. That’s what makes this such a . great collaborate process with the group we have, for booking, because we communicate really well. I think I offer a different perspective, not just as a fan but as a businessman too. It’s a little bit different from what the guys’ experience is. There’s great synergy. As a group, not just the top executives, but the whole roster and everybody together – the whole is great than the sum of its parts. We all bring something different.”

How do you want to implement the women’s division going forward? 

“What’s been great is we have really, really diverse amount of executives and coaches who are super knowledgable about women’s wrestling. Dave’s here, and I’ve honestly learned a lot about a lot of the great female performers from reading the Observer. The person who sourced the great joshi from Japan was Kenny Omega, who found a lot of names, sent me a lot of videos. Kenny, Brandi and I together have done a lot of work on that. There’s absolutely – internationally right now it’s a great time for women’s wrestling, and we’re going to be a huge part of it. The matches that we presented today were on par with all the great matches on the show. That’s no surprise to me. We expected that going in. We have really top people, and Kenny was proud of that. He was proud of his match, but he was proud that the ladies that he found for us delivered and had a great match.”

Are you looking for a direct competition with WWE?

“You know what’s funny is seeing people say that there’s a party line, like we need to have a ‘company line’. We don’t. Everybody’s trying to get something out of this. We all just want to do the best show. If any of us – if the competition feuds our fire, that’s great. For me, I’m just trying to do the best show possible. I’m not really thinking about their shows. I hope their shows are great, because the best time for wrestling, everybody was doing great stuff. There was a time 20 years ago where all the shows were great. Well, maybe 21 years ago more so than 20 years ago. 1998 was a great year. I think we can get there again. I’m so excited for when we get to weekly. We’ve done a show that we can hang our hat on. We’ve done one of the great wrestling PPVs. But I’m really excited for getting to weekly because it’s going to be a better quality of life. The work is going to be better than it’s ever been. You’re going to be able to watch a lot of wrestling, and it’s not going to be a chore either. It’s going to be fun, so I’m excited.”

Will AEW have weight divisions? 

“No. I’m not planning on weight divisions. It’s like shoot sports stuff. The weigh-ins are a neat thing about sports, and we’ll see a lot of elements like that. You’ll see more Tale of the Tape, as we build up, and as guys have win-loss records we can build up stats about what has, and has not worked in the matches. You’re going to see a lot more of that as we get into our weekly TV presentation. I hope it’ll be like what you’ve seen in combat sports. I think that resonates with viewers, and it’s something people like to see. We want to see the best wrestlers, who have the best records fighting the champion. I think we’re kind of past the point of weight classes. I want to have a world championship, and that’s going to be the world championship – not the heavyweight [championship].”

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