By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW President Tony Khan spoke with the pro wresting media on Friday, June 24 to promote Sunday’s AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door pay-per-view. Refresh the page for the latest updates.
-Tony Khan called tonight’s AEW Rampage one of the hottest episodes from start to finish. He mentioned we would hear from AEW and NJPW stars during the show. Khan also mentioned there were a lot of changes due to injuries. He said he would address the injuries while also being thoughtful when it came to the wrestlers involved. Khan also spoke about his fandom of NJPW from his younger years.
-The first caller asked how difficult it has been to book the Forbidden Door due to all of the injuries in both AEW and NJPW. Khan said it was a great question. He spoke about the last three matches at Double Or Nothing. He said he was given a list of NJPW talents who would be available for various dates. Khan said he pushed to get Will Ospreay before NJPW Dominion. He also spoke about pivoting to Jon Moxley vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi due to CM Punk’s injury. He said Punk likely would have been in the six-man tag that ended up being Trent Beretta and FTR vs. Ospreay and Aussie Open.
-Khan spoke about the Bryan Danielson injury and said Danielson wanted to wrestle, but Khan felt it was the right call to “shut him down.” Khan said he’s excited about Zack Sabre Jr.’s mystery opponent, though he wishes it would have happened under different circumstances.
-Khan mentioned that Tomohiro Ishii had to forfeit his spot in the All Atlantic Championship match (Clark Connors will replace him in the match).
-Khan was asked about what a Forbidden Door II would look like with all the major players available. Khan said yes and spoke about the success of Sunday’s event from a ticket sale standpoint. Khan said there are so many stars in pro wrestling between the two companies. He said WWE (WrestleMania) and Wrestle Kingdom have gone to two nights. He spoke about people telling him that he packs too much into one shows. He said the depth is there.
-The next caller asked about the Buy-In pre-show. Khan spoke about Rampage and said there will be “a little bit more on the Buy-In than what we’ve already announced.”
-A write-in question inquired about AEW running in Canada and the possibility of running in Calgary and Edmonton. Khan spoke highly of both cities and working with the Owen Hart Foundation. Khan also mentioned Bret Hart and said he’s quite possibly the greatest pro wrestler of all-time. Khan said he has tremendous respect for Hart and likes him a lot.
-Khan was asked about the process of getting Kazuchika Okada into AEW, the four-way match for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match, and his own reaction to Okada’s Dynamite debut. Khan said it was an honor to meet Okada for the first time and to have him step foot in AEW for the first time. Khan said Okada is one of the best wrestlers in the world. He said a lot of the best will be there and that should be the story more so than who is out due to injury. Khan also said Okada must have told him 17 times that he’s a Manchester City fan (the Khan family owns the Fulham club). Khan said he would love to have bragging rights over Okada if Fulham can beat his club.
-Khan was asked about booking the show. Khan spoke about working with NJPW booker Gedo and Rocky Romero. Khan said he’s had a lot of fun doing angles and matches at times and it led to the full event of Forbidden Door. He also spoke about the politics of not being able to use AAA wrestlers on Forbidden Door. Khan said he gets along with both companies. He also pointed to the Andrade El Idolo vs. Rey Fenix on Rampage being pay-per-view worthy.
-Khan was asked if he sees the Forbidden Door event as a test for the possibility of running more AEW pay-per-view events each year. Khan said he doesn’t see it that way, then spoke more about the Forbidden Door event and his excitement when it comes to working with NJPW. He also said he thinks Orange Cassidy would be a great IWGP U.S. Champion for NJPW.
-Khan spoke about the interim championship winner eventually going on to face CM Punk.
-A caller brought up Jon Moxley going to rehab and the Jeff Hardy arrest and whether Khan has thought about instituting a wellness policy. Khan said they have a wellness policy. He said you have to be careful when it comes to drinking because he believes 99 percent of the roster drink responsibly. Khan said the way things went down with Moxley and Hardy were completely different. Khan said Jeff Hardy is doing better and he believes Jeff is in treatment. He pointed out that Hardy was driving, whereas Moxley’s situation was different. Khan praised Hardy for going to rehab and said this is his last chance with AEW. He said that Moxley didn’t endanger anyone. Khan said the company will be there for Jeff Hardy and that’s what he had to do to have the company continue to support him.
-Khan was asked about how the Forbidden Door is tracking compared to previous AEW events. Khan said that information starts to come in within 48 hours of the event. He said it’s doing well with the hardcore fans, but also acknowledged that it was expected to do well with that audience.
-The next caller asked about drug testing. Khan spoke about Moxley stepping up and seeking help on his own. He said the company will help anyone who needs it.
-The final caller asked about whether Khan has thought about doing more annual pay-per-views. Khan said he has thought about it and it would add revenue. He said the quarterly approach made sense when they first started. Khan said they have become “a global powerhouse” since then. He said they have the star power to do additional events and it is something to consider. The call concluded after that question.