AEW media call report: Live notes on Tony Khan speaking with the pro wrestling media ahead of Sunday’s AEW Double Or Nothing pay-per-view

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

AEW President Tony Khan spoke with the pro wresting media on Thursday, May 25, 2023 to promote Sunday’s AEW Double Or Nothing pay-per-view. Refresh the page for the latest updates.

-Tony Khan welcomed viewers to the call. He was asked whether there is a plan for a brand split between the AEW Dynamite and AEW Collision shows. Khan said he hasn’t given any lengthy answers yet. He said he understands why fans are interested in that, but he said it’s by design in that they want to build curiosity.

-Khan was asked whether Dynamite and Rampage have been renewed beyond the previous deal. Khan said the length of the term of the Collision deal is the same (presumably meaning it expires at the same time as Dynamite/Rampage) and it’s in addition to what they already put together. Khan said the network reached out to AEW about doing more. Khan praised Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and said it was his idea to have more AEW on TNT.

-Khan was asked about running Collision on Saturday nights. Khan said it’s a great opportunity and pointed to people going out and how it can perform as a live event. He said they need to do something tom make Collision feel special and they have plans to do that. He said he knows there was a lot of excitement over the premiere taking place in Chicago. He said that’s the start of rolling out more information and getting people excited about what he expects to be a great event. He said there are a lot of positives about Saturday nights and it is one of the reasons they were excited about the time slot.

-Khan was asked about the importance of having Taya Valkyrie on the roster. Khan sang the praises of Valkyrie both in the ring and backstage. He spoke about her challenging Jade Cargill for the TBS Title at Double Or Nothing.

-Khan was asked about Collision running against Saturday NFL games and whether there will be Sunday pay-per-view games. Khan spoke about the NFL running Saturday games during the month of December. He said it’s not like they are competing eighteen weeks opposite the NFL. Khan called the NFL the toughest competition in the world and said it will be tough head-to-head competition. Khan said he wasn’t necessarily looking forward to it, but it will be interesting. Khan said AEW is on the radar of top NFL executives.

-The next caller asked about Jamie Hayter’s health status. Khan said Hayter is injured. He said she wasn’t cleared to compete last week. Khan said he felt last week’s Dynamite was one of their better shows and he wished she could have been on it. Khan said Hayter said she’s ready to compete and won’t back down from a challenge. Khan said her injury isn’t anything they’ve tried to hide.

-Khan was asked whether Sabu’s appearance will be a one-off appearance. Khan said it most likely will be. He said he doesn’t see Sabu being someone who steps into the ring regularly. Khan didn’t rule out using Sabu for future guest appearances if things go well. Khan said he received a text from his father this morning that said Sabu was a blast from the past. Khan recalled attending an ECW show with his father when Sabu faced Chris Jericho in their only match.

-Khan was asked about how the Four Pillars match came together as well as thoughts on each of the pillars. Khan said they were looking for the right opponent for MJF and ended up finding three opponents they really liked. Khan said all four have really been stars in AEW since the company started. Khan said it’s a great match on paper and means a lot to the company to have four homegrown stars in the main event. He said it’s the biggest moment for Darby Allin, Jack Perry, and Sammy Guevara.

-The next caller said there are a lot of rumors about who will and won’t be on AEW Collision and wondered if Khan was trying to build up hype without announcing anything specific. Khan said he’s definitely trying to build up hype for the show. He said they are focused on Double Or Nothing this weekend. Khan spoke about having three shows. He noted that Dark and Dark Elevation are no longer running and he considers that to be a good thing. Khan said he’s been intentionally secretive about where it’s all going, but he does intend to offer more details as they get closer to the launch of Collision.

-Khan spoke about competition in pro wrestling. He said he’s all for competition as long as it is done with ethical standards. He said he doesn’t have an issue with running head-to-head and believes AEW will have the better show on Sunday. He said he doesn’t feel like it’s always been an ethical competition coming from the other side.

-Khan was asked if he’s considered delegating more of his creative duties due to the addition of the new shows. Khan said he will be head booker going forward. He said that with the expansion of AEW television, it means getting more great voices in the room. He said he has great voices in the room and could probably use more. Khan said the more viewpoints and the more “great thinkers” they have are helpful. He praised the various coaches and executives and noted that he’s been leaning more on Bryan Danielson. Khan said he ultimately has to decide what ideas they will or won’t do. Khan said he’s just trying to find the right group and get the best of the best from the team.

-Khan was asked about the possibility of Stardom talent being included on the Forbidden Door event. Khan said he thinks it’s something they could potentially do. Khan said they have a great AEW roster now and he only wants to do things that can expand it and make it better. Khan said he’s also mindful of the length of the shows and wants to keep them under four hours whenever possible. He pointed back to the longer show they had due to running opposite the seventh game of the NBA Finals. Khan said he felt AEW Revolution was one of their best pay-per-view events.

-Khan was asked if there was any consideration given to moving Double Or Nothing to a venue that will be opening in Las Vegas. Khan wasn’t familiar with the venue, but he said he likes to learn about venues.

-The next caller asked if there will be more AEW pay-per-views “because the fans need it and want it.” Khan said there’s potential for it, but it has to be the right economic situation for AEW and the fans. Khan said he’s open to it if the fans are truly calling for more.

-Khan was asked about Sting’s retirement and whether there was a final match planned. Khan said he wants to keep Sting going as long as he can. Khan said Sting has mentioned that he won’t continue to do it forever, but Khan said he wants Sting around as long as he wants to be. Khan called Sting a great star, a great business asset, and a great person. Khan said that whenever Sting decides it’s time for his last match, they will want to make it a big event. Khan said Sting’s retirement match is one of the biggest moments out there in the entire world of pro wrestling.

-Khan was asked if he’s considered adding a woman to the broadcast team. The caller brought up Veda Scott. Khan said he’s considered using different commentators, women included. He said Scott did a great job for them in the past. He praised the ROH team and said they could also do a good job if they were called up. He said some names he’s considered would surprise people and others would not. Khan said Scott is an excellent announcer.

-Khan was asked about Mercedes Mone and how he intends to capitalize on Willow Nightingale winning the NJPW Strong Women’s Championship. Khan said Mone was the favorite in the tournament and Nightingale’s win was an upset. Khan said Willow is in their plans and that’s why he sent her to this tournament in the first place. Khan spoke about the respect he has for NJPW leadership. Khan said Athena vs. Willow is among the best singles matches they’ve had in ROH thus far. Khan said he has great respect for Mercedes. He said no one other than her knows when she’ll be ready to return from her injury.

-Khan was asked for clarification on the broadcast status of All In and whether All Out would air on pay-per-view. Khan said he can’t completely give a full answer yet. He said they are still working on the solution to that event and how they will offer it. Khan said he hopes to have good answers soon, but he said there’s a lot to consider. Khan shifted to Double Or Nothing and said the show is tracking well in terms of pre-show buys, but most of the buys will come on the day of the show.

-Khan was asked if Dark or Dark Elevation could return. Khan said both are not running due to their agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery for AEW Collision. Khan spoke about how independent and other talent could appear in ROH. Khan said some of the best wrestlers in the world hold titles in ROH. He said it’s not a feeder promotion, but it’s not the same thing as AEW. Khan said it’s a different company. He said there’s a great opportunity for independent wrestlers to come in. Khan spoke about how tonight’s ROH show will be a longer episode than usual. He said next week’s show will include Katsuyori Shibata vs. Alex Coughlin, and Athena vs. Kiera Hogan from Wednesday’s taping in Las Vegas.

-Khan was asked if Double Or Nothing will be the last time we see the Hardy Party team because the Hardys will be going after the AEW Tag Team Titles. Khan said he’s not sure. Khan said there will be an update on Rampage regarding what’s next for the Hardys and what’s going to happen with them on the Buy In pre-show. Khan recalled saying that the only way Jeff Hardy could keep his job in AEW was to maintain his sobriety. Khan said he’s done a great job with that and he welcomed him back with open arms.

-The final question was how important Double Or Nothing and Forbidden Door are in terms of making a good impression on the UK fans to sell them on coming to All In. Khan said he didn’t want to look past this weekend, but then spoke about how Forbidden Door would be held the night after the second edition of AEW Collision. Khan closed out the call by talking about Double Or Nothing.


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