Tony Khan Reveals He Turned Down WWE Backstage Format For AEW Rampage

Tony Khan was not a fan of the WWE Backstage format.

In November 2019, WWE Backstage debuted on Fox Sports 1 as a new studio show hosted by Renee Young (Renee Paquette) with panelists including CM Punk, Christian Cage, Paige, Booker T, and more. The show took a hit during the pandemic era and eventually stopped airing weekly in June 2020.

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Speaking to Gavin Bridge at Monaco Streaming Film Festival, Tony Khan was asked about a WWE Backstage style format for AEW and he revealed that he turned down the format as part of AEW Rampage.

"I didn't agree with [WWE] Backstage at all. I didn't think it was a good format. I had actually been pitched to do a format like that with AEW and I refused because I don't think wrestling fans want to see that format. Wrestling fans when they tune in to watch their wrestling show, they want to watch wrestlers wrestle and Backstage, to me, should be like a lower-budget streaming type show. I don't know if it had the legs to carry as a TV show, even though the people involved with it were awesome and a lot of them work for me now and are huge stars. I want to watch CM Punk wrestle. I want to watch Christian Cage wrestle. To me, that is the bread and butter. I love watching those guys talk about wrestling, don't get me wrong, I think it would be a kick-ass streaming show, I don't know if I would build one of my TV franchises around guys talking about wrestling. At least not in the context of analyzing it and breaking it down. For Rampage, it was part of the format that I turned down and refused to do. They said, 'Would you do this as part of the third hour?' And I said, 'No, it's going to be wrestling.' I have a different format for it and that's where Mark Henry (does interviews). There is that talk show competent where they talk before they wrestle. That is a little bit of a twist on the format, but it's not, 'Let's look back on the week in wrestling' and have a cup of coffee together, which I think is not a good format for a TV show," he said.

WWE Backstage alumni CM Punk, Christian Cage, and Mark Henry all now work for AEW while Renee Paquette hosts her own podcast among other ventures.

AEW Rampage airs every Friday at 10 p.m. ET on TNT.

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