AEW has not shied away from using stars outside of wrestling during programming, but Tony Khan says don't expect entire shows to focus solely on them.
Months ago, boxing legend Mike Tyson appeared on AEW Dynamite and had a bit of a physical altercation with Chris Jericho. Recently, Shaquille O'Neal's name was brought up by Jade Cargill, potentially leading to a feud of sorts with Cody Rhodes.
In an interview with Sporting News, Khan said fans don't have to worry about two hours of Dynamite dedicated to either Tyson or O'Neal or any other similar star in that manner. Khan said Tyson and O'Neal give AEW some mainstream attention, which could lead to new fans.
"I don't think anybody has to worry that it's gonna be 75-80 minutes of Shaq every Wednesday night, or two hours of Mike Tyson every Wednesday night — that's not what we're going for. But I do think their appearances definitely add some mainstream interest, and hopefully bring in new viewers. And I think the wrestling fans want new viewers — the wrestling fans want it to be cool to be a wrestling fan. I think Mike Tyson played a big part in that. We saw this year with "The Last Dance" that sports nostalgia is a very real thing — things that were big in the late '90s, or the year 2000, that some of those things have still never been matched, and there's still nobody like those people. Just like there was nobody like Michael Jordan and the story of "The Last Dance," there's really never been another boxer like Mike Tyson who can capture the public imagination," Khan said.
Tyson is currently preparing for an exhibition fight against former world champion Roy Jones Jr. but after that's over, Khan said he hopes to work with the former undisputed heavyweight world champion once more.
"Hopefully when Mike gets out of there with Roy Jones Jr., I'd love to do stuff with Mike again — he's a good friend, and he's always been very good to me, and I have a lot of respect for him, and I hope Mike comes out of this fight OK. Similar to Michael Jordan, I think there's a mystique around Mike Tyson where nobody has ever replicated it, and it's been over 20 years since he was in his peak, and still nobody can touch that mystique. So I think he has that. Similar to both of them, I don't think there's ever been another big man in my lifetime that's captured the imagination of America the way Shaq did — and he's a very different basketball player than Michael Jordan. In a similar era, and then he played really later in the next era with Shaq and Kobe. Shaq's also a friend, and he's a great person, and I am excited about the possibility of working with him, too. I think both Shaq and Mike are one of a kind, in very different ways. But for each of them in their sport, there'll never be another like them. And that's why I think they still have a lot of interest right around them," Khan said.
The full interview can be read at this link.
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