AEW President Tony Khan was a recent guest on the Swerve City Podcast where he considered pushing originally to start AEW. He admitted it led to a tense family Christmas between him and his father. Initially, Tony’s dad was doubtful of AEW, but he’s since admitted he was wrong.
“I happened to be someone who loved the wrestling world, but had worked in the sport,” he said. “And I was very lucky that my dad came from Pakistan when he was 16 to go to the University of Illinois. That’s where he met my mom, and then I was born there- down in Illinois. He started a business and it took off, but he came here with nothing. And he’s the big hit, he’s the reason this all happened. He said it, we got it. had a really lousy Christmas 2018. Because I had already said frankly to Jericho and other people, “we’re going to do this”.
“I pretty much had a bunch of people verbally ready to go, and a bunch of contracts were set to expire in early 2019. I had a business plan ready to go, which is AEW now. He was like, ‘this isn’t going to work, we’re going to lose millions, you have no guarantees.’ I didn’t have a television contract at the time, and it was a huge gamble. He went into Forbes, and a few times on the record, and said he was dead wrong.
Tony Khan then pointed out that there hadn’t been a promotion like WCW since his demise. It felt like Impact and ROH came from WCW and ECW, but they ended up outlasting both.
“Since the fall of WCW, there’s been nothing really felt that way,” he said. “Even when WCW ended, they still had it. Until the day they actually pulled the plug, none of us believed this could ever happen. It was unthinkable when it happened. Since then there’s Impact, which is great, but it’s like zombie WCW.
“The guys that were left over from WCW, some of them went and started another wrestling business. There’s kind of a Ring Of Honor, in some ways, grown out of the skeleton of what was ECW. Those businesses built legacies that, ironically, have outlasted the original companies.
Tony Khan admitted that neither ROH nor Impact could reach the level of AEW. Although he knows the company has more to do before it reaches the top of WCW, he claimed it was the first company in the UK.
“These companies like the ones we’re talking about, Ring Of Honor is a great example of that. Other companies that I just mentioned have been really affected, I think, by free agency,” he said. But they also never reached the heights that AEW has reached. I think it’s the first time since WCW, and I’m not trying to say we’ve reached the same heights as WCW. I don’t want to be misquoted or misinterpreted. Because at one time WCW was the number one wrestling company in the entire world. There are parts of the world where we are number one, which is amazing, like the UK.
If you use quotes from this article, please credit Swerve City with ah/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcript.
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