AEW president Tony Khan was the most recent guest on the podcast Oral Sessions with Renée Paquette. Here are the main talking points from the show.
On the Brodie Lee tribute show
“I thought it was the best episode that the crew has ever put together. I am so proud of everyone that works in the company and how they handled the situation. People knew for a long time that Jon Huber was sick, we told every wrestler that he wasn’t well. His wife Amanda said that Jon needs your thoughts and prayers, but to not tell anyone. A lot of us were worried, but everyone kept it a secret and supported them. When the tribute came, all of the wrestlers wanted to do something. When the news came out that he passed away, the first thing people said were how much he loved his family and how much he loved wrestling. Those themes just came out, it was the Jon that everyone knew.”
On signing Brodie Lee JR (the late Jon Huber’s son) to an AEW deal
“Many people on the roster really enjoyed him being around, being so supportive towards him. We are just trying to give him great stuff to help expand his wrestling mind and to occupy his mind in a difficult time. We will celebrate his birthday live on Dynamite.”
On the first year of AEW and adapting to the pandemic
“I am very proud of the success we have had, but I’m not surprised. We are going to have a great 2021. We have learned a lot and had great progress. One of the biggest moments was when Jon Moxley came in. Hopefully we will be able to get fans back soon. But what I think we have been doing at the moment is the best thing in wrestling in my opinion. Jacksonville is the only place you can safely attend a wrestling show. The setup was inspired by a drive in movie. I stole the idea from Tonight show of wrestlers in the crowd and stole the current setup from drive in movies. A lot of wrestling is about innovating and problem solving.”
“I am really excited about adding a third hour. This will be something separate, not a third hour on Wednesdays. There’s going to be more opportunities without over saturation. We will keep our big 4 PPV’s as our core. We may do special episodes of Dynamite, but I think expanding our talent will be a big thing in 2021. Throughout 2020, Dynamite maintained their audience better than anyone. TNT told us how great we are doing.”
On booking Dynamite when a top star is unavailable
“It’s really important. We try to showcase new people when someone big is off TV. It’s hard when you don’t have one of your top stars there, but we try to cover it by using the other big stars that we have. The two big ratings peaks on our most recent show were when the big stars returned. It was great to build up other stars when Jon Moxley was out. We are building up some new tag teams.”
On competition in the wrestling business
“I think it’s great. Before the pandemic, you would have said a year ago what a great time it is to be a wrestling fan. When the arenas are full, the competition is very good. I can only imagine how frustrated fans would be if there was no AEW. We all push each other, competition is good for us and the fans. I don’t watch WWE as far as creative goes, but you don’t want to be doing what another company is doing. There’s been great wrestling all over the world. I take a lot of pride in maintaining and growing our staff during the pandemic.
On being an on screen character
“No it’s not. I’ve come as close during the Brodie Lee show. Other than that I’ve never come out. We have a limited amount of TV time and a great roster. We don’t need to feature the general manager on TV. There are times where if I need to make a statement I will. For me, the role of general manger is a device not a character.”
Full episode available here