Ahead of AEW Dynamite: Winter Is Coming, Inside The Ropes’Kenny McIntosh had the chance to speak with Tony Khan via media call, asking about All Elite Wrestling’s booking of Miro, formerly known as Rusev.
Tony hit back at criticisms of his booking of The Best Man, saying he had to “rebuild” Miro, recalling one Twitter comment about ‘Rusev’ driving a tank at WrestleMania, stating that after that, “then he got kicked in the nuts and they treated him like shit for years” before joining AEW.
“Miro’s going to be huge here. Miro’s going to be huge here. It’s very hard for somebody to come in… I’m really glad you asked. Miro’s going to be a big star here. It’s really hard for people to come into AEW when you have a ranking system unless they come in at the start of a new year cycle and I didn’t want to wait till January to bring Miro in.
“Brian Cage was the exception because Brian Cage, I booked him, he came in… I signed Brian Cage in January and he came in, I was going to do the Casino Ladder Match and Brian would be the surprise and we would build to Brian getting a shot but build up a record for Brian before we did Moxley versus Brian Cage.”
“But I can’t do that for everybody and I wasn’t going to do it again, and so I couldn’t just put Miro in the main event with no record and no history here, so he’s got to build up and build story, but he’s working with some of the top people in AEW, some of the people I regard as the top people – with the Best Friends and now Orange Cassidy in story – and so, we have great stuff going on the top of the card and I just couldn’t cast everyone aside. Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho and MJF, Cody and Darby, Ricky Starks and Brian Cage. We have Will Hobbs moving up now. Hangman. There’s so many great things going on in AEW, and Miro is now going to be a huge part of AEW, too, but, just like everyone else, he has to win matches and get involved in story.”
Khan continued, saying AEW had to “re-contextualise” Miro upon his arrival in All Elite Wrestling, and that they want to create a “multimedia star” in Miro.
“Whether people know it or not, we are re-contextualising Miro. I don’t know what Miro was supposed to be before he came to AEW, I don’t understand what he represented and I think most of the great characters in wrestling have some element of their personality – there are exceptions to this – but where they bring themselves into it, and the Miro you’re seeing is the Miro I know – which is an awesome, awesome, interesting person who’s got an amazing sense of humour. I wanted to do that one-on-one thing with Miro and Trent because I did some of what people were saying because there’s a person that I was trying to show everybody that it’s him, it’s not anything we made up in AEW. It’s not some great invention of a character, this is him. I want people to get to know him better.
“So with the Miro and Trent one-on-one video with Excalibur, I’d like to do more stuff like that and just show people ahead of the match what they think of each other and what their relationship is with each other, because there’s a relationship between the two guys, that I think we will talk more about and much more on, but it goes back a long time and I think it helped the presentation of that match, I thought it help the enjoyment of the match. For me, I think it made it a better match for the story and you want to get to know more about Miro and, for me, as you get to know more of him, and see more of him, I think there is a bigger chance of Miro becoming a big crossover star in multimedia and this includes gaming – which is such a big interest of his – and I think it’s more likely it will happen but I’m just kind of rebuilding him, to be honest with you.”
Speaking of Miro’s former character Rusev, Tony Khan said WWE “treated him like shit” for years.
“I thought he got beaten down so bad… I saw some jackass on Twitter was like, ‘This guy drove a tank at WrestleMania and now he’s doing this,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, then he got kicked in the nuts and they treated him like shit for years.’ He drove a tank out five years ago, that’s not the guy I signed. The guy I signed has been abused for years and he’s being rebuilt, he’s going to be a huge star in wrestling and he is a huge star, he’s a huge name in wrestling but he wasn’t treated like it for a long time.”
Khan would encourage fans to be patient, though, stating that 2021 will be a big year for Miro, while defending the rankings system and Moxley’s match with Eddie Kingston.
“You’re going to get to know him better and it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so when 2021 resets, I think he’s going to be somebody they have a chance to build a record on over the course of the year and have a big start here but I wasn’t just going to put a guy in with a 0-0 record and say he’s a number one contender, that’s not how it works. Kenny had to work really hard to put himself in this position. There are exceptions like Eddie and Moxley, they had a great story and I had a great out to explain it – which is Mox wanted this match, he defended against all the top five guys and there’s literally no-one in the top five Mox hadn’t beaten.
“At that point, because Kenny was still coming up from tag teams and hadn’t wrestled as many singles matches and was making his way through that Eliminator, we had a top five where Mox had literally beaten all them and Eddie was the match he wanted and he was going to face the winner of the Eliminator, so if you want to do a voluntary title match, and it’s a big title match that’s going to sell pay-per-views, I’ll take it.”