As noted, AEW President & CEO Tony Khan hosted a media call earlier today to promote Saturday’s AEW All Out pay-per-view. Below are a few more highlights from the call:
* Khan was asked about how AEW has kept most of their surprises a secret, and if work goes into that, or if people don’t get hired unless they show trust and worthiness first. Khan said it’s a bit of both. They work hard at keeping secrets, and they keep a small circle within the company. He noted that AEW is a family business, and a start-up company, even though they’ve grown so quickly worldwide. He said AEW is the second-biggest pro wrestling company but they’re not a big machine like that, and there aren’t a lot of people to spoil surprises. He said the more people who are in on something, the more likely it is that the surprise will get spoiled. Khan said AEW is fortunate that they have trustworthy people and he keeps things close to the vest, but he does trust who he talks to and the people brought in have been trustworthy as well
Khan also said AEW has more surprises ahead in the coming weeks, and he is excited about those. He said there have been rare ties when AEW surprises have been leaked, but he doesn’t think it came from people in AEW. He’s tried keeping AEW surprises in the family, and they have a great family in AEW
* He was asked if there’s a working relationship between AEW and NWA due to Saturday’s All Out match between NWA Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa and AEW Women’s World Champion Hikaru Shida, for Shida’s title. Khan said the extent of the relationship is the good personal relationship between he and NWA owner Billy Corgan. They have had a good relationship for years, long before Khan got into wrestling.
Khan also said he’s friends with former WWE star Chris Nowinski. He believes in Nowinski’s work with his Concussion Legacy Foundation, and Chris has come in at his request to speak with AEW wrestlers. Nowinski is the one who introduced Khan to Corgan. He respects Corgan as a musician and sees him as a great guy. AEW and the NWA are different companies, but he wishes Corgan the best with what he’s doing. He sees this as a great opportunity and believes Thunder is great, and a great contender for Shida. Khan said he thought the match makes sense for both sides when he proposed it, and Corgan agreed. He’s not sure what the future holds but if Rosa wins the title on Saturday, we’d be seeing a lot more of her. He said Rosa vs. Shida will be one of the best matches on the All Out card. He also praised Serena Deeb for her excellent match with Rosa on Dynamite this week. Khan said he currently has no plans to use anyone else from NWA right now, and there are no talks with anyone but Rosa. He also said AEW World Tag Team Champion Kenny Omega is who first suggested Rosa to be Shida’s challenger, so he called Corgan and got the ball rolling
* Khan was also asked about possible changes that have been made to the card for Saturday’s All Out pay-per-view. He originally had Britt Baker vs. Big Swole in the “Tooth and Nail” on the main card but it will be on the pre-show now. He said Britt hasn’t wrestled in a long time, but this match will be great and will be cinematic-style. He said maybe one or two things changed for the card, but the rest has been the plan for pretty much the entire summer. He said some “international challenges” may have forced other changes, such as names for the 21-man Casino Battle Royale that he’s not able to get here
Khan mentioned how some unexpected things happened after Cody Rhodes had a list of names he wanted to defend against before he lost the TNT Title to Brodie Lee. Ricky Starks and Eddie Kingston were signed off that list. Khan said he’d never seen Starks wrestle and had only briefly met him, but was really impressed with the Cody vs. Starks match, noting that both of them hit a home run that night. Now Starks is a huge part of AEW and Saturday’s Battle Royale. He also praised Kingston, noting that he always thought Kingston could come to AEW but Cody had him on that list and wanted Eddie to come in, so Khan booked it and Eddie also hit a home run.
Khan said with PAC being gone in England due to COVID-19, that makes for a great opportunity for Kingston. He added that he really misses PAC, and the company in general misses him. Khan said unfortunately PAC is not here, but others have stepped up. He said Kingston can be a good mouthpiece for The Lucha Bros but can also work other roles