As we get closer to All Elite Wrestling’s first show, Double Or Nothing in May, fans are desperate for hints at what the AEW product is going to be like, what the TV deal might entail, and what sort of effect the new company may have on wrestling as a whole. In a recent appearance on Talk is Jericho (with transcripts from WrestlingInc), AEW President Tony Khan expressed his belief that his company will have a positive impact on the wrestling business:
It’s just going to be better for everybody! It’ll be better for the wrestlers, it’ll be much better for the wrestling fans, and it’ll be better for the companies. I think it’s going to be great for us getting started, but I think it’s just going to be good for everybody because it’s just going to be a much more interesting time to be a fan of wrestling.
Khan goes on to talk about the Attitude Era and the Monday Night Wars, an how he’d like to recapture some of that excitement.
Today there are still numerous podcasts and articles written about this era that [has] been gone for 18 years now and we relive it week-by-week all the time. And there’s just something about it. I’m not saying this is going to be that, or we’re trying to do that, or copy that. I just want people to feel that way again. And it doesn’t have to be exactly the same, and it doesn’t have to be because shows are on at the same time of the night. If anything, put more shows on more nights of the week, so there’s more wrestling for people to watch. And that’s the great thing about now. I mean, there is a lot of wrestling to watch now, but no, there’s not as much well-well-produced, high quality wrestling now as there was 20 years ago. That’s a problem and that’s something we’re going to do something about. So yeah, I think there’s going to be a return of exciting wrestling with top stars and great production.
However, Khan insists he’s not trying to compete directly with WWE. It can look that way, he explains, when you’re a newer company trying to get attention on your product. He definitely doesn’t see WWE and the McMahons as his enemies. In fact, he obviously looks up to Vince:
Vince McMahon is one of my all time idols in terms of building a brand and sustaining a great company, and some of the greatest matches and stories have been in the World Wrestling Federation and Worldwide Wrestling Federation. So yeah, I’m a lifelong fan of their product, so it’s crazy to think that [Khan is the Vince McMahon of AEW]. I don’t think that is the case [that AEW and WWE are at war].
Tony Khan is the only major player in AEW who’s new to the wrestling business, but it’s clear that he’s given a lot of thought to how that business works, and what he and his partners have to contribute to it.