AEW News

Tony Khan Praises Jim Cornette, Says It’s “Gratifying” To Change His Mind

Tony Khan & Jim Cornette

AEW President Tony Khan says it’s “gratifying” to change Jim Cornette’s mind about the company after he was critical in the past.

Legendary wrestling manager Jim Cornette hasn’t minced words when it comes to past criticism of AEW, from believing that Tony Khan needs to fire some of his talent to lambasting the booking of Adam Cole. However, he isn’t afraid to praise the company when he sees fit either, and even called the debut of Keith Lee the “best in AEW history.

Speaking with Inside the Ropes’ Kenny McIntosh for issue 17 of Inside the Ropes Magazine, Tony Khan spoke about his respect for Jim Cornette and how it’s gratifying to hear praise from the former Midnight Express manager, and that he cares deeply about what wrestling fans think.

“It is gratifying. If it was someone whose opinion I didn’t value or somebody who I didn’t think had a lot of merit to their wrestling intellect, I probably wouldn’t put much stock into it. But he is a very intelligent wrestling mind and he has a lot of fans too.

“I care what a lot of the wrestling fans think. No matter what wrestling they watch, we all are cut from the same cloth, even though there are wrestling fans from different countries, different continents and different hemispheres, people from all different walks of life and different cultural backgrounds and different sides of the tracks. Wrestling ties all these people together, and that’s what I love about it.”

Tony Khan continued, saying that Jim Cornette has a lot of fans and it’s great to hear him be more positive about AEW programming even if not everything he says is complimentary.

“There’s a lot of fans that listen to his show, and I think that it’s interesting to hear that he’s been much, much more positive about what he is seeing on AEW, because I think he honestly likes it better and there’s a lot of great wrestlers that have come in who he admires and thinks are good people that should be wrestling on television. It seems like more often than not he’s been positive about the shows—I certainly don’t want to make it sound like everything we have done he has gone out and praised.”

The AEW President believes that while the most important thing is that AEW has a big fanbase of its own who enjoy the show, it’s positive to hear someone who’s been one of the most vocal critics of his programming start to praise talent who are heavily featured.

“The most important thing to me is that we have this big audience of fans that consistently like the shows. But to see someone and to hear someone who’s been very critical—and has been known for being the single biggest critic of the show from the beginning—to then be pretty positive about all the stuff and a lot of the big programs on the show…

“He’s had a lot of good things to say about MJF, CM Punk, Hangman Page and Bryan Danielson. These are people that are being very prominently featured on the show. Great wrestlers like Serena Deeb and many others that bring so much to the show, he’s got a lot of praise for them, and I think that’s great.”

However, Tony Khan is very aware that Jim Cornette isn’t positive about everything on the show, and he says some of that criticism is warranted. Even though some may come down to different styles of wrestling not working for everyone, the AEW President says he learned a lot from Cornette as a young wrestling fan, and that he has a huge influence on an audience who wants to learn the ins and outs of the wrestling business.

“There’s stuff that he doesn’t like, I’ve listened to that too. Sometimes I think it’s valid and sometimes I think that different styles of wrestling don’t connect with people. But when I grew up what I learned about wrestling was from interviews that he did. He would sit around and talk for three to four hours at a time to smart fans. Now, so many of the fans are smart fans and know the details of the business.

“I was watching before there was any internet community, and he would gather the fans and talk to them, because the newsletters would tie them together. Now newsletters do tie people together, but there is a massive presence of wrestling fans connected online through Twitter, listening in to podcasts and sending in questions, the comments section and other social media platforms. I think it’s great to have one voice in wrestling that people listen to, and to have them come back and say a lot of positive things about the show. I think it’s great and I appreciate it.”

To read the full interview with Tony Khan, you can buy issue 17 of Inside the Ropes Magazine here or subscribe to get great wrestling interviews, features, and a whole lot more delivered to your door or available to download every single month.