AEW President, CEO, General Manager & Head Of Creative Tony Khan recently spoke with Dan Gelston of The Associated Press and commented on the number of star talents that have been made available to the company.
Khan pointed to the signing of Jon Moxley, who he still sees as a great blessing for AEW, and said since then he’d attracted more top stars by making AEW a great home for wrestling and a place wrestlers want to work.
“I had a lot of wrestlers that were very well-regarded in terms of the hardcore fans,” Khan said. “But in terms of the very mainstream audience, not as many recognizable names, and I knew I’d have to really build that recognition. I didn’t expect somebody with so much recognition and as much experience wrestling on TV as Jon Moxley would become available so quickly. He has been such a great blessing for this company. He was a great champion through the pandemic. He’s still one of our most important stars today. I didn’t expect that at the time.
“Since then, absolutely. By making this a great home for wrestling and a place where wrestlers want to work, we’ve had so many people that want to come here, and have defected. It is more than I ever could have dreamed.”
Khan has signed several top stars this summer, from CM Punk to Adam Cole, Bryan Danielson, and Ruby Soho, with more stars rumored to be on their way, such as Bray Wyatt. Khan was asked how he can keep such a loaded roster happy in the future.
“I think that’s a good problem for any organization to have when you have a deep bench,” he said. “We have a very deep bench right now. I try to rotate who wrestles on television and give TV time to different wrestlers so we have a lot of people with momentum and can switch out the matches and keep things fresh.
“I think that serves you well in sports, too, when you can rotate and rest people and give experience to young talent and develop people and also rest your veterans so they don’t have to go out and do it every single week.”
Khan was also asked if he has WWE’s attention, and if he feels WWE might finally see AEW as true competition.
“I’m a big wrestling fan and I would say, objectively, AEW is the hottest wrestling company right now,” Khan said. “So many people who watch wrestling know that AEW’s gaining ground, AEW is hitting all-time highs. It’s helping us build new fans, it’s helping people want to take the leap and check the shows out. I’m sure other wrestling companies are paying attention to that. We have great relationships with a lot of wrestling companies that know what’s going on with AEW.
“I think if you work in the wrestling business, you’re following what we’re doing and the success we’re having. We’re catching a lot of eyeballs outside of the world of wrestling and mainstream attention, so you better believe in the world of wrestling people are paying very close attention to it.”