Chris Jericho has praised AEW President Tony Khan for running Arthur Ashe Stadium instead of Madison Square Garden for the promotion’s New York debut.
Speaking with Jen Eckhart on the REINVENTED podcast, Jericho recalled Khan arguing that the the Dynamite and Rampage Grand Slam specials didn’t necessarily have to emanate from The Garden to be huge events.
Discussing the historic wrestling shows, Jericho said:
“It was unbelievable. There was a little bit of genius on Tony Khan’s part because everyone was talking about Madison Square Garden. What people don’t understand is, to play the Garden is very expensive, for one. You don’t really make money at the Garden, you just do it because it’s Madison Square Garden.
“Everyone was saying, ‘AEW has to go to the Garden, that’s going to be your coming out party in New York.’ Tony was like, ‘What if I don’t want to do the Garden? There must be somewhere else.’ He found this Arthur Ashe Stadium. The moment I went in there, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this place is amazing. It’s better than the Garden.’ The seats go straight up in the air, so all the noise comes right down to the ring.
“People are over top of you and it was really cool to see this place. This atmosphere was off the charts crazy. We don’t need to go to the Garden now because we created a new place for us because there’s never been a wrestling show at Arthur Ashe. We were the debut for that and what an amazing venue and building. We do things outside of the box.
“‘Let’s do a show in New York.’ ‘If you want to be big in New York, you have to go to the Garden.’ ‘I disagree, what if we find our own place in New York, make it the AEW homebase in New York, and turn that into the place to be.’ I’ll bet you there will be other wrestling companies in Arthur Ashe. They’re probably already negotiating it now. We did it first and it is ours.”
Over 20,000 fans were live in attendance for the September 22 show, making it the most highly-attended non-WWE pro wrestling event in North America since July 5, 1999, when WCW held a Nitro episode in the Georgia Dome.
Transcription via Fightful.