Tony Khan has commented on reports noting that the AEW EVPs have lost a significant amount of creative power since the company’s inception.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Radio later reported that roles of the AEW higher-ups haven’t changed since December 2019.
Speaking with PWInsider, Khan stated that he thought reports he had seen were ‘pretty disingenuous’. Explaining how the backstage environment has changed, Khan said:
“Yeah, I saw those reports this week and I thought that was pretty disingenuous stuff from some of the internet wrestling writers because nothing has changed in recent months and really, the structure changed for me at the end of 2019 and it was because of me. I felt like I needed to take over and be more accountable as the CEO and as the Booker. I was the final say, but there were probably too many different people with input on segments and this show wasn’t as organized at the end of 2019 as I thought it could be.
“So for the past two years, we’ve been a lot more organized and I’ve written every show by hand, which allows me to know which segments are where and I think the shows have gotten significantly better. The fans have enjoyed them more. They’ve performed better in terms of the ratings and it’s been a good change for us, but I saw somebody reporting that recently in the news and it’s not because, we talked about this, like over a year and a half ago we talked about this, and I went on the record.
“This is all stuff that came into effect at the beginning of 2020. I had said my New Year’s resolution, myself, (was that) I was going to get very organized or I told myself if there’s something I didn’t feel good about, I wasn’t going to do it and that I was going to create much more of the work product myself, that I was going to lay out the matches, the stories and format everything into a nice package, myself, and I’ve been doing it for over a year and a half with the collaboration and help of a lot of great people, including the people I started with.
“I think the biggest difference has been instead of five people getting in a room and putting a format together, I get in a room and put a format together. I also get very amused when people refer to QT (Marshall), like the guy on the creative team. He’s effectively my assistant and he’s great. He works his ass off. He’ll show up in my room whenever I need him, and I sometimes will call him up at one in the morning to come up and I want to reorganize the show or make card changes, or I’m putting stuff together for Elevation or Dark or whatever I need. He’s usually there for me, but I’m very hands on with this stuff and it’s been that way for a long time.
“Somebody talked about it this week, like it was news and then people acted like there’d been some change, but there’s been no change. I’ve been in that position for a long time. And I think we’ve had our shows, in my opinion, have gotten stronger, recently. And there are a number of things you can attribute that to. One of the things I think you can attribute it to is the great star power that come in, and we’re getting a lot of great wrestlers who bring tons of great attributes, including their experience, their great ideas, and trying to integrate those things.
“If you look at where we are going into the two year anniversary compared to a year ago, we’re up huge year over year, and we’ve added another show in Rampage. We’ve set new milestones for live attendance. Multiple times we’ve broken our own records at the gate in recent months.
“We’ve set new highs in pay-per-views multiple times. Each of our pay-per-views, all of the four quarterly pay-per-view specials have been up year over year, over the prior edition. And our TV ratings, as far as maintaining consistent high audience, it’s the best it’s ever been. We had never been the number one show on cable until April of 2021. We did this show for a year and a half before we ever hit number one.
” I knew that there were so many (fans) out there starving for something like AEW and it’s grown faster than I would’ve ever imagined, but I always believed that we could get to this point. I just didn’t know it would happen all inside of two years, that we would’ve accomplished this much and then so many great legendary stars in the world of wrestling would’ve come in the past year, in particular.
“So we’re really in a great place. And I think we have a lot to celebrate, but I thought it was a very strange story that popped up in the past week. And again, kind of disingenuous because sure, there were some changes and yes, I did take more control and become a more organized Booker, but I think those things started happening around the end of 2019 going into the January 1st, 2020 show, not so much recently.
You can read the full PWInsider interview with Tony Khan here.
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