Tony Khan isn’t usually shy when it comes to expressing his opinion. His response to those who say AEW doesn’t have long-term storytelling was loud.
AEW Wednesday Night Dynamite is celebrating its third anniversary on September 5, and the company’s co-founder/owner/lead booker has a message for people who don’t like the builds for the matches on the card. It’s an important milestone for the wrestling promotion, especially considering that the pandemic struck right as All Elite Wrestling was settling into a groove. Khan helped navigate those choppy waters but had a difficult summer for various reasons. It’s why the company is having an anniversary show without the Being The Elite Crew or CM Punk, after all.
Suspensions and injuries have played havoc on AEW’s roster, leading to some fans and pundits criticizing a general lack of build towards a handful of matches on the anniversary card. Tony Khan was on Busted Open Radio and shared his response to those charges. “You can call it a cold match if you want, but sometimes things start out of new issues. Not everything is going to have weeks or months of build going into it, although a lot of stuff should.” Khan went on to say that he’s still gunning for Dave Meltzer’s Booker Of The Year award, stating that “I’m gonna make a full-court press to get it, and I’m gonna let people know right now: There’s been a lot of build to a lot of this stuff. And, if people have been telling me there hasn’t, they’re completely full of s***, or they’re just not paying attention.” (h/t and thanks to WrestlingInc.com for the transcription)
Critiques Of AEW Are As Valid As The Adoration
Outright dismissing negative commentary surrounding AEW doesn’t seem the way to go here. There are plenty of All Elite Wrestling fans who drink the Kool-Aid and will support everything that the company does. WWE has fans like that too. All forms of entertainment have those kinds of supporters. Just because someone doesn’t fall in line and skip along merrily doesn’t mean that their thoughts and ideas don’t have value. Khan’s comments on Busted Open Radio came off as remarkably defensive, especially considering that several of the matches on the Dynamite card really don’t have any build. Brian Cage accepted Wardlow’s open challenge yesterday, for instance.
The outright dismissal of any and all ideas that don’t fall in line with his own sets a dangerous precedent for Khan and AEW. If Dynamite was on a clear upward trajectory in the ratings and All Elite Wrestling was clearly growing, then perhaps there’d be space for Tony Khan to convey this rhetoric. The reality is that, while the flagship show still performs well in the ratings, the audience hasn’t been steadily growing. There’s also a growing concern surrounding the company’s ability to sell live tickets, as several upcoming shows have failed to move units steadily. Criticism is part of any business, and it’s generally wise to consider well-meaning concerns instead of sniping them down without a second thought. Expectations are a good thing. It means that people out there believe AEW can do better and want to see the promotion breakthrough in meaningful ways.