Tony Khan and the AEW Galaxy find themselves in a very interesting spot at the moment. On paper, the promotion is doing great, with three soldout Pay-Per-Views already on the books, an ever-expanding collection of some of the best wrestlers on the planet under contract, and a new brand, Ring of Honor, folded further into the overall Khansian oeuvre to help give meaningful matches to performers who were once lost in the shuffle of Dark and Dark Elevation.
And yet, to paraphrase Obi-Wan Kenobi, there’s been a “great disturbance in the force” that has been bubbling up for some time now. From the Warner Brothers-Discovery merger that has resulted in $90 million films being shelved, to former champions speaking out about their poor booking, and the fantastic initial run of Triple H at the helm of the WWE Universe that includes the returns of Dakota Kai, Karrion Kross, and Dexter Lumis – even if it was semi-botched – things have never been more uncertain for AEW than at any point in the last few years, especially since NXT moved their weekly show to Tuesday Night.
Are the cracks starting to show in an infrastructure that was initially billed as being built for wrestlers by wrestlers? Or are these minor rumblings being unnecessarily packaged together, and folks are making a mountain out of a molehill?
Well, if you ask Tony Khan, it’s firmly the latter, as he’s holding firm that everything is fine.
Tony Khan assures fans that everything in AEW is fine.
Anytime Tony Khan appears on a podcast, YouTube show, or radio program, you just know there are going to be juicy details disclosed by the dapper co-honor of the Jacksonville Jaguars who loves to talk. Fortunately, Khan has been hitting the media circuit hard in the lead-up to Quake by the Lake, talking about the various rumblings around AEW, including the rumor started by Dustin Rhodes about AEW potentially moving to two-day Pay-Per-Views, which you can read his response to on Busted Open Radio below via a transcription by WrestlePurists.
“I saw a report that we (AEW) were talking about doing 2-day PPV’s, & I was like, ‘who said that?’ I looked and it was Dustin — I love Dustin so much and I was surprised that he said it because it’s not something we seriously internally discussed.”
Alright, all things considered, that isn’t too big of a story, or worthy of a story on its own; Rhodes specifically mentioned that he “heard” that the concept was being discussed, and whomever he heard it from could have had no real information on the subject. What’s far more interesting, however, is what Khan had to say about the state of AEW’s locker room via his appearance on Superstar Crossover, the iHeartRadio show presented by Josh Martinez via a transcription by Fightful.
“We have a great crew. We’re very happy with the shows we’ve been doing. We have a great team of people. I recently did some promotions and added to the team. With a new group, hopefully, the communication is only going to get better because I can only be in so many places at one time and talk to so many people with such a big team. I think that’ll help. In general, I think we have a really great environment and a great backstage. Overall, it’s been a great summer for us and it’s only going to get better. A lot of the biggest stars in AEW have been out, so it’s been great for us to maintain this position. Last week, on Wednesday night, AEW Dynamite, number one show on all of cable. That’s been the case six out of the last seven weeks. That kind of consistency has been thanks to our wrestlers, our staff, and most importantly the wrestling fans that have kept us going. Friday Night Rampage, we did our best number in a long time, being top five on Friday on cable.”
Interesting stuff, right? But wait, it gets better, as Khan continued on with a few very interesting lines that you can read below.
“There is a lot of really good camaraderie and momentum. I can’t get everybody on the show. It is challenging, in some ways, when you have three hours of television. I get that, if you’re looking at a competitor that has seven hours of television, the people in that company are twice as likely to be on TV if you look at it that way. It’s very competitive for spots, but it also means people have to do the most to maximize the time they do get, wherever it is, whether it’s on TV or streaming, and I do think our TV show and the participation we’ve had from fans and why we all feel so good this year to is, it’s great to be back on the road this last year after doing the shows in lockdown and a sometimes empty stadium. Overall, I think the vibe is positive and we’re all really excited. It’s a big time of year for AEW with All Out coming up, one of the biggest events on the calendar, and we approach one of our biggest TV event of the year, coming up to New York for AEW Grand Slam.”
So there you go; the biggest problem AEW has is that they only have three hours of television, not that they have a roster of some 150 performers who are all vying for time on those three hours of television. While WWE isn’t exactly a bastion of efficiency in the way of getting their performers on television in meaningful roles, with performers like The Usos pulling double duty across multiple brands, they do a good job of focusing on about two dozen performers across RAW and SmackDown and make them feel important. On AEW, a faction like La Faccion Ingobernable will look like the next big thing one week and then won’t appear on television for another month.
Really, it’s no wonder so many performers are starting to speak out about their booking; when there’s a viable alternative there’s no need to take what you are given without an option to strive for more.