Tony Khan, President of AEW, reflected on his initial push to establish AEW. He admitted that it caused him and his father to have a tense family Christmas. Tony’s father initially questioned AEW, but he has since admitted that he was mistaken.
He explained, I happened to be someone who loved the wrestling business but had worked in sports. And I was very privileged that my father came over from Pakistan while he was 16 to attend the University of Illinois.
So this is where he met my mother, and I was brought up in Illinois. He opened a company that was successful, but he arrived here with nothing. But he’s the big success, the reason why everything happened. We had a very bad Christmas in 2018, he said. Even I told Jericho and others that we were going to do this.
I had a lot of folks verbally prepared to go, and a lot of agreements were due to end at the beginning of 2019. I had a business strategy prepared, that is now AEW. It’s not going to work, we’re going to lose millions, and you have no assurance.
I didn’t have a TV deal for it at the time, so it was a huge risk. He has gone on the record and in Forbes to admit that he was totally wrong.
Tony Khan then highlighted out that since WCW’s demise, there has been no promotion like it. He started to feel like Impact and ROH arose from WCW and ECW, but they eventually end up lasting longer.
He claimed that nothing had felt that way since WCW’s demise. They had it even at the end of WCW. Nobody believed that could ever happen until they actually pulled the plug. It was unthinkable at the time. Since then, there has been Impact, which is fantastic, but this is the zombie WCW.
Tony Khan says neither ROH nor Impact could compete with AEW
Some of the former WCW wrestlers went on to form their own wrestling organisation. There’s Ring of Honor, which arose from the skeleton of what had been ECW. Those businesses established legacies that, ironically, outlasted the originals.
Tony Khan acknowledged that neither ROH nor Impact could compete with AEW. While he recognises that the company has a long way to go before reaching WCW’s peak, he claims that they’ll be the number one company based in UK.
Ring of Honor is a great example of the type of company we’re talking about. Other companies I just mentioned were, he believes, severely impacted by free agency. However, they have never hit the peak attained by AEW.
I believe it is the first time when WCW, and I am not claiming that we have managed to reach the same heights as WCW. I don’t like to be misquoted or misinterpreted. Even though WCW was once the most successful wrestling organisation in the world. We are number one in some parts of the world, which is incredible, such as the United Kingdom.