Though Tony Khan has long been praised as a top-tier booker in his almost four years manning All Elite Wrestling, critics have previously hit out at him for various aspects of his job. Among them is booking matches without reason, which has drawn the ire of Eric Bischoff.
‘Easy E’ took issue with Khan scheduling matches for AEW programming that didn’t necessarily have long, drawn-out stories attached to them. A recent example of this is Jon Moxley vs. Penta El Zero Miedo, which appeared as an out-of-nowhere match with no story to back it up.
Regarded as “cold matches”, they were also a staple of WCW programming in the mid-to-late nineties, as Tony Khan discussed when firing back at Eric Bischoff during an appearance on Busted Open Radio:
“Frankly, I think the person who has been incendiary, contradictory, and hypocritical on this entire point is Eric Bischoff. If you watch [WCW] Nitro, especially the good Nitros from ’95 to ’98, a lot of the quality of the show was lucha matches and things you didn’t expect, and there was a certain exquisite randomness to the card. You turn the show on and it’d be like, ‘Hey, Rick Martel vs. Perry Saturn, that’s cool. Randy Savage vs. Bobby Eaton, okay,’ and various lucha matches that didn’t necessarily have build up but they were fun matches. They weren’t the big story matches.
Sure, there were a lot of stories happening in WCW, but probably less than half the matches on Nitro had a story and that was fine. It was the industry standard show. Then, it tried to copy the competition and put lots of story, where every single match had a story and had two guys having a fight over a cup of coffee in catering and that just doesn’t need to be the case.
Sometimes, it can be as simple as a challenge and two people fighting to be the best, but the majority of the time, or a large percentage of the time, you should have a story built into a match, but the perception that you can’t just have two people come in and fight…it could be the start of something, it could lead to something with different people, who knows.
There are a lot of different ways to skin a cat. In this case, to see the person who probably put more cold matches on TV, and did it successfully and well, say it’s an abomination to do it, it’s pretty contradictory. I found it very ironic for Eric Bischoff to say, ‘Why is this match happening?’ Why did 60 percent of the matches on Nitro happen? Honestly, that’s when Nitro was a better show before they tried to change it to something else.”
Tony Khan’s Plans For October 26th AEW Dynamite
The aforementioned AEW World Championship clash between Penta El Zero Miedo and defending champion Jon Moxley is top of the bill for the forthcoming AEW Dynamite broadcast, airing live from Norfolk, Virginia. The AEW World Tag Team Championships will also have its next contenders decided, as FTR meets Swerve In Our Glory.
Elsewhere, Chris Jericho and Daniel Garcia will face Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler YUTA, Bryan Danielson takes on Sammy Guevara, Jamie Hayter faces Riho in the latter’s first AEW Dynamite match since December 8th, and MJF will address the live audience ahead of his Full Gear collision with Jon Moxley.