AEW CEO and President Tony Khan was a guest on Chris Jericho’s podcast Talk Is Jericho recently, where he shared several interesting comments and opinions on the formation of AEW, the buzz it has generation and the battle plan going forwards. (Thanks to Michael McClead from WrestleZone for the transcription)
Khan on the buzz that AEW has created since launching in January of this year:
We’ve created a lot of buzz in a short amount of time with the involvement of yourself [Chris Jericho], and now Kenny Omega, and The Elite. Since the initial rally in Jacksonville, we’ve put together a tremendous roster. We’re gonna launch with some of the best wrestlers in the world competing for us and I think it’s really exciting.
On how he pitched the project to his father Shahid Khan:
I had a business case, and a business plan, and it made sense. I wouldn’t have asked him to fund it, if it wasn’t a logical plan, and frankly he wouldn’t have funded it, if it wasn’t a logical plan.
I put together a business plan, and showed him, and he was interested. He’s not interested in wrestling, but he’s interested in good business, and this is a good business plan, so it intrigued him, and he got involved and helped me put this together….I don’t think he did this to make me happy or because he knew I was really going to enjoy it. I am happy with it and I do enjoy it. It’s gonna be a lot of hard work, but I think he truly funded it because this was a good business. What we’re about to do is going to be a huge huge success and he wanted to be a part of it.
On what the key to building the hype and excitement around AEW has been:
Everybody, at this point, knows it’s a work, but what we’re doing here is real and everybody knows what we’re doing is real and it’s getting people really excited. I think that’s what’s the key to building this buzz, to re-creating that feeling from 20 years ago when there was actual competition.
Am I saying my goal is to have all those revenue streams in place where it’s like a true legitimate competition? No. I think what I’m saying is that when you’re trying to present the best possible show you can, when you’re trying to get a production team together, when you’re trying to get top networks interested in your product, having stars like Chris Jericho, and having the top up coming stars like The Elite, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Cody, it gets people really excited. It gets people fired up.
On AEW’s hiring policy:
We’re spending a ton of money on talent. We’re building a great roster, a big and diverse roster of talent. I think what’s important is that everybody brings something different, but additive. The key thing is that we’re not gonna sign up every single talented person out there. You can’t and it was one of the problems with WCW. It was that there were too many people under contract. A lot of them were super talented and super great. If you were gonna cut down their contracts, you’d be making some really tough decisions because there were a lot of great people under contract in WCW, but you just don’t need that many people under contract.
For us, we need to be discerning and make this a sustainable business. To me, I want to learn from mistakes people made in the past. Let’s sign up every valuable talent we can that we have a plan for, but let’s not sign up too many people. We can’t push everybody we like. Let’s not be guilty of the same thing we mock other people for. Let’s not live in a glass house. Let’s really try and focus on the people we sign, and make sure we’re giving them a good chance, and not just sign people up for the sake of having them because when you get into that, that’s when you really damage the business, and also hurt those guys’ ability to grow.
What do you think of Tony Khan’s comments? Let us know in the comments section below.