Tony Khan admits mistakes.
Ahead of the AEW Dynamite premiere on TNT, Tony Khan did a lengthy interview with Wade Keller of PW Torch. During the interview, Khan was asked about mistakes the company has made thus far. AEW has run four pay-per-view events, but Khan concedes that the company has not been perfect in the product they've presented.
Khan says the first mistake happened on the first show, AEW Double or Nothing, in the first match, the Casino Battle Royale.
"The Casino Battle Royale, at the beginning, it was almost intentional that you had [MJF] out there with the guys he was out there with because it was to build to a big moment with MJF and Shawn Spears, which is something we thought out to the future and, the problem was, the first seven minutes, they were almost intentionally flat," admits Khan. "And it was the first seven minutes we had ever presented out of the gate. It was a big gamble that people were going to stick with us, and thankfully they did. That's a risky move out of the gate. It did work, but as I was sitting there with Cody in Gorilla, there was a little hand-holding moment. We knew Spears was about to come out and we really needed it to work. We found ourselves, literally, holding hands, waiting for the pop. And it worked. But it was a ballsy move out of the gate. I actually got hands-on for the Women's Casino Battle Royale in terms of laying it out because I wanted to make sure we didn't do that again."
The next mistake came at Fyter Fest and the chair shot heard round the world. Khan believes the Cody Rhodes vs. Shawn Spears feud is one of the best feuds of the year, but still regrets the chair shot to the head.
"The Cody/Shawn Spears stuff we did on Road To, it was tremendous and, would they have built this amazing feud, which to me is one of the best feuds anyone has done all year, would it have been as big without the chair? I don't know. Could we have done the chair shot better? Yeah. And we were supposed to, and it didn't come off the way it was supposed to. It wasn't what I had signed up for."
In a recent interview, Cody admitted that he tried to "take back chair shots" but ultimately doesn't believe he was successful.
A mistake in the eyes of many fans was the length of Hangman Page vs. Kip Sabian at Fight For The Fallen. The match went nearly 20-minutes and with Hangman set to challenge Chris Jericho for the AEW World Title at the next pay-per-view, many fans felt such a long match didn't make Page look strong enough.
"I don't think the Hangman Page vs. Kip Sabian match should have gone as long as it did and it wasn't supposed to go as long as it did," admits Khan. "I almost cut five minutes out of it and I wish I had. I regret not cutting the five and it went another two [minutes] longer than it was supposed to. Fight For The Fallen was a great show and that was probably the one thing that dragged. I don't think it did anybody any favors. I don't think it helped Kip, either. The point of it was, we want people to see Hangman is this big star but we also really care about Kip and this is a guy you're going to pay attention to in the future, but it didn't come off the way I wanted it to and I certainly didn't want it to go 19 minutes. I wasn't sure I wanted it to go 17 minutes, let alone 19. Probably would have been the right move to cut it to 12 or 13."
While not a mistake, Khan called Jon Moxley being pulled from AEW All Out with a MRSA infection, "unfortunate."
When it was brought up that many fans were unhappy with the Buy-In pre-shows and the amount of comedy they featured, Khan conceded that as a fair point.
"It doesn't really make as much sense to have an undercard, especially on what is the free preview Buy In shows, to have that much comedy in the undercard when the main matches are so serious and if you're trying to show people what the tones of your show are. That probably speaks to some of the points I was making, not with the Casino Battle Royale, but also Fyter Fest was probably one of the best shows anybody did all year. The first match of the pre-show was fantastic. That three-way tag team match was outstanding. I knew it wasn't going to be a technical classic with Nakazawa vs. Jebailey but, again, not everything is what you want it to be. I warn people, at the CEO Festival, you might see the nepotism. I do know that non-wrestler matches are not something I want to do and it was a very unique circumstance," he said.
AEW Dynamite premieres tonight, Oct. 2 on TNT at 8 p.m. ET. Fightful will have live coverage of the show.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit PW Torch with a h/t to Fightful for the transcription.