Ever since All Elite Wrestling got off the ground, and especially since Jon Moxley left WWE to join AEW and gave a vitriolic interview about it to Chris Jericho, a lot of the conversation comparing the two companies revolved around the creative process — how the stories are crafted, how scripted the shows and promos are, and how much freedom the performers have in crafting their characters. But while we have years of stories about WWE Creative, we don’t know much so far about what goes on in AEW.
In a recent appearance on Wrestling Inc’s WINCLY Podcast, AEW President Tony Khan offered some perspective on the weekly creative process for Dynamite:
We have the best production meeting in wrestling on Tuesday nights. You have myself, The Young Bucks, Cody and Kenny. We’re the lead in creative and at the end of the day, I have the final say in everything. I’m accountable with everything we do both on-screen and off. And that’s how it goes.
My immediate thought is that one of the biggest complaints people have about the AEW product would probably be alleviated if there was a veteran female wrestler in those meetings, pushing to prioritize that division, but I digress. Tony’s clearly a guy who’s excited about wrestling and couldn’t be happier to be running company:
I am a wrestling person who speaks the language of a wrestling person and that makes it easy for me and everyone here. At my heart I love wrestling more than anything else. People ask me if I get nervous and I get a lot more nervous before a Jaguars or Fulham game. But I get more excited and have more fun at AEW than anything else. The shows are fun and we have fun doing them. We don’t just have fun putting them on as we have fun putting them together. I love that process and it’s really special to me.
The interview also addresses the Lights Out Unsanctioned Match between Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley at the recent Full Gear PPV, which garnered some criticism for its level of violence:
I expected it and that’s why we put it on PPV. We would never do anything like this on TV. Our friends at TNT know what we’re trying to do in putting hardcore matches in the main events of PPVs. There’s gonna be two wrestlers that wanna settle it so we’re not gonna sanction it. We’re gonna turn the lights off and turn a blind eye to it and not be liable for what occurs in the ring.
I think it’s a very logical thing and I’m not surprised that people are shocked. I think most people did love it. It got a huge amount of interest and it did exactly what we wanted it to do which was start a conversation. To me, I absolutely loved it.
While AEW is not without its flaws (starting with the aforementioned women’s division issue), it’s actually pretty cool to see a big televised wrestling company in the hands of somebody who comes at the Business as a fan first. I do think that enthusiasm comes through in the product, even when it’s not flawless.