Despite Injuries Plaguing AEW In 2022, Tony Khan Considers 2020 His Most Difficult Year Promoting

In spite of injuries, Tony Khan says 2022 pales in comparison to the difficulties of 2020.

This has been a difficult year for AEW, as many of its top stars including Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Adam Cole, Kris Statlander have all been dealing with injuries this year. This year also saw the departure of Cody Rhodes, one of the founding fathers of the promotion, depart AEW and his return to WWE.

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Kenny Omega, another founding father, has been on the shelf for the entire year thus far because of a multitude of injuries. Over in WWE, not only do they have a returning top star in Cody Rhodes, but the retirement of Vince McMahon has created a buzz and excitement around their product.

Despite all of this, Tony Khan says that he still considers 2020 to be his most difficult year as a promoter. Not only was it his first full year as a promoter, but an unprecedented global pandemic and the passing of Brodie Lee, provided challenges that no amount of promoting experience can adequately prepare someone to deal with.

“I wouldn't compare that to the stuff we were going through in 2020 (with the pandemic and the passing of Brodie Lee). That was horrible. But with the pandemic and shows being shut down, no live fans, having to figure out ways around that. Brody getting sick. So your original question was, what was the hardest year? Yeah, that was for a multitude of reasons. Like I was saying, I don't think those are all necessarily bad things. The wrestling business is benefiting, I think in a lot of ways from changes. You asked about it with the injuries. Well, we've responded pretty well to those, and people that have been out for a variety of reasons are all starting to come back. There's a lot of light at the end of the tunnel, and we're getting close to the end of that tunnel in many ways,” said Khan said to Steve Muehlhausen of DAZN.

Reflecting on the change in WWE creative, Tony says that strengthening the competition can only strengthen AEW in the long run.

“Now the competition changing, I think that's a good thing in some ways. If you like good wrestling, you're just more likely to want to see it because our competitor has been doing better shows recently than they had been doing, I think,” Tony said. “I watch them pretty often, and I think they've been better. It seems like that's the consensus among people who watch them. I do think in general, if it's gonna get more people watching wrestling, that's probably not gonna hurt any wrestling company. We stand to gain the most in many ways because if you're a big wrestling fan, and if you've been away and you like good wrestling, you might be saying, ‘Where are Chris Jericho and Bryan Danielson? CM Punk’s back?' So as we get to an exciting point of a lot of people coming back to the company, but a lot of new fans also, I think hopefully they want to embrace the new wrestlers in AEW and also a lot of the big names in AEW that you'll be able to see on a regular basis, people that are on the show every week and have been going all summer like Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley. Then again, whenever CM Punk is back, there's a big setup for an undisputed championship to be crowned.”

CM Punk returned on Wednesday, August 10. Learn more at this link. Learn more about Tony's reaction to the changes in WWE here.

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