Tony Khan discusses AEW's schedule.
The schedule for All Elite Wrestling changes on Wednesday, Oct. 2, when the promotion begins a full-time television schedule. Thus far, AEW has run only monthly pay-per-view events. But starting Wednesday, they will add weekly television to their schedule. While not announced, the promotion is expected to add live events to the schedule at some point in their future.
Speaking to Wade Keller of PW Torch, AEW President Tony Khan discussed AEW's schedule and how it relates to talent pay.
"As we focus on weekly television, we pay well focusing on this one day. What it does is, we're never gonna get to the point, even as we add more shows to the tour -- First of all, not everybody on our roster is on every AEW show because we have a very deep roster, by design, so we don't have to use everyone on every show so we can give people time off and breaks. And have depth in case of injuries or illness or whatever. I think that has served us well," he said.
Khan continued, revealing that he would be fine with AEW talent taking Independent dates, as long as he approves them.
"As we go into weekly, it's going to be a more intense schedule, but it's still going to be the lightest schedule in wrestling. People are going to have a lot of options. Some people are going to choose that they want to wrestle more with their time. In some cases, if it's stuff I'm okay with, and it's safe and a reasonable request, then I will often grant those. And I've been very flexible about that. I'm a friend of Independent wrestling. I like going to shows, and I don't mind guys participating on shows if they're not sleazy shows and they're working with safe people. That being said, a lot of people have chosen to use the time differently. We've encouraged people to go to school, and we have a tuition matching program. I think it's something WWE has also got, but I do think their people are on the road a lot more so they have more trouble going to class and actually taking advantage of the tuition matching."
Khan also isn't opposed to wrestlers having jobs outside of AEW. A big example of this is Britt Baker, who is not only one of the top female stars in the promotion but works full-time as a dentist as well.
"In addition, a lot of people have other jobs that are full-time jobs. They have full-time employment outside of wrestling," said Khan. "The example I use a lot if Dr. Britt Baker. If she was wrestling elsewhere, with the schedule, it might be difficult for her to be a practicing dentist and still wrestle. If you ask Britt what her dream is, it's what she's doing now. It's both. She would like to be a dentist and a pro wrestler. She shouldn't have to choose, and now she doesn't have to choose. We really encourage her to practice that career during the week. She makes herself available to wrestle on Wednesdays now and weekends when we have pay-per-views. But it's important to me that Britt's not on the road 5-6 days a week so she can take care of her patients."
Ultimately, Khan wants to make sure the wrestlers are taken care of while still being paid the money they deserve. He's even created office positions to help give wrestlers extra benefits.
"There are so many people where there are people full-time in the office. Anytime there has been an open position, creatively, we don't hire writers, we've hired a lot of former wrestlers as producers and coaches. That's not that different from what other people have done, but what we have tried to do differently is, in addition to the work-life balance and all the things I've talked about, try to keep people off the road, try to pay people very well as if they are working several days a week even though you're only focusing on Wednesday as opposed to doing a lot of house shows. As I've said, over half the bumps people were taking, [those bumps] were probably bringing in less than 10 percent of their paycheck. In terms of, the amount of days on the road and stuff they're doing, of their actual revenue, how much of that comes from those? Because they hurt the same as the ones on TV."
Khan continued, "I try to pay people well for a limited schedule. Give them a lot of flexibility in terms of what they do, whether it's working for us full-time, whether it's working for someone else full-time or try to practice a career. Additionally, we've tried to hire people full-time whenever we've had a position. We've created graphic design positions, marketing positions, travel coordinator positions, office administrator positions. A lot of those positions are filled with wrestlers. If I have a job that is an office position where I can get a wrestler and give him the benefits, I'm all for it."
Finally, Khan ended by saying, "I do try and take good care of the wrestlers."
Elsewhere on the podcast, Khan discussed the mistakes AEW has made thus far. You can view his full comments by clicking here.
AEW Dynamite premieres on Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT. 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.