AEW President Tony Khan has claimed that he knew who the company’s first four World Champions would be when the promotion launched in 2019.
On August 31st 2019, Chris Jericho was crowned by the first ever AEW World Champion after defeating “Hangman” Adam Page. Jericho lost the title the following February to Jon Moxley, while Kenny Omega pinned Moxley for the championship on December 2nd 2020.
The ‘Best Bout Machine’ held AEW’s top prize for 346 days before finally being defeated by Adam Page at Full Gear.
Speaking during the post AEW Full Gear media scrum, Tony Khan revealed that it was always his plan for those four men to hold the AEW World Championship, in that order. The AEW boss said that he had a plan from the company’s inception in early 2019.
“Chris Jericho. And then Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega and Hangman Adam Page. No, honestly, and if you look back, they all set up. Chris wrestled Kenny and then it built to Kenny coming back later to wrestle for the title, teaming with Hangman. Hangman also wrestled Chris. Then it built to Chris and Jon. Jon won the title and while that was happening, Kenny and Hangman had their partnership, their story, and Jon made all those great defences through the pandemic and was such a great pandemic champion.
Last winter we did Kenny versus Hangman at this event, which was a very different thing, it wasn’t at this great arena with over 10,000 fans packed in this awesome arena. We were in a great venue at Daily’s Place and it felt like a big PPV… Last year, Kenny and Hangman had that great match in the Eliminator final and then we came full circle to this and I think it all made sense. Kenny won the title and had an amazing reign.
He was close to one year as champion, and it was a question, ‘Is Kenny going to make it to one year as champion or is Hangman going to be crowned tonight?’ People clearly wanted to see Hangman be crowned, but when Bryan Danielson won the Eliminator Tournament, you had to ask yourself, ‘Are Kenny and Bryan Danielson going to wrestle again?’
I know everybody was thinking in the back of their heads that there has to be a chance. Even when Bryan Danielson won, I knew it was going to make you all think, ‘Wait a second,’ and it clearly did based on the reaction I’m getting in the room. Yeah, these things are all pretty well thought out in advance, so yeah, the first four I would have told you all in advance would be Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley, Kenny Omega, and Hangman Page.”
Also at Full Gear, “Hangman” Adam Page found out the identity of his first challenger. Earlier in the night, Bryan Danielson overcame Miro in the a hard-hitting finale to the AEW World Title Eliminator tournament.
At time of writing there has been no word on when the match between Page and Danielson will take place.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.