Tony Khan has revealed that he can’t renew everyone’s contract following the influx of new stars into AEW throughout 2021 and into 2022.
Unsurprisingly, AEW and it’s roster have changed immeasurably since the company was created back in early 2019. Although the likes of Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks remain heavily featured, other names involved early on such as Joey Janela and Marko Stunt have fallen from view.
As the promotion grew, especially throughout 2021, they were able make make big-money signings including the likes of CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole.
This has led to some, including Jim Cornette, to wonder whether AEW’s roster is now too big, and wrestlers are simply getting lost in the shuffle.
Speaking in a new interview with Scott Fishman of TVInsider, AEW President Tony Khan addressed these concerns. Khan explained that while he tried to be considerate to those under contract during the pandemic, with so many new stars coming in, he now can’t renew all of those early contracts as they come up.
“When we started a lot of people had contracts that were a couple of years long and a lot of them are coming up. I have really tried hard to be very considerate of the people on the roster, especially going through the pandemic.
That encompassed a long period of time where we were still in our first year of television and going into our second. I kept a lot of people under contract even though I wasn’t necessarily using them on television because I wanted them to still have paying work, which was hard to come by for wrestling during the pandemic where there weren’t any independent shows.
Really only two places were running and the other place was cutting people left and right. I did want to give some job security to people. Now with so many wrestlers coming in, I can’t renew all the contracts. I’ve had to make some tough choices based on ability, fan response, or both. I try to maintain the best roster I can for the company and fans,”
On the February 9th episode of Dynamite, fans got their first look at AEW’s latest mystery signing, Keith Lee.
The former WWE star entered to a monster ovation for his match with Isiah Kassidy. Lee then made his intentions known within seconds launching Kassidy across the ring. Not that it was quite one way traffic, as Kassidy fought back using his superior speed but Lee’s power was simply too much.
He felled Kassidy with a huge powerslam to advance to the Face of the Revolution Ladder match. After the match, Lee put an exclamation on his win, taking out Private Party as they looked for revenge.
The show also saw the AEW debut of Jay White.