Despite 2022 being a year filled with unfortunate injuries, Tony Khan still considers 2020 the most challenging year for him as a wrestling promoter.
There’s no debating that AEW has been dealing with a string of unforeseen and unfortunate injuries within the past few months. Top stars such as Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole were out due to injuries, and even AEW Champion CM Punk has missed time from the ring and television due to a foot injury.
Added to those unfortunate events, now the sudden retirement of former WWE CEO Vince McMahon has brought up rumors of possible ex-WWE talent switching sides and rejoining the company. Although AEW President Tony Khan reassured fans that he signed most new talent to multi-year deals, many still believe AEW talent could appear on either Raw or SmackDown in the future.
But despite all the changes and setbacks in 2022, Khan still considers the first year of the global pandemic as the most challenging year for him as a promoter. Speaking to Steve Muehlhausen of DAZN, Khan compared the trial and tribulations he faced in 2020 to this year and admitted that he had a bigger mountain to climb two years ago.
“I wouldn’t compare that to the stuff we were going through in 2020 (with the pandemic and the passing of Brodie Lee). That was horrible. But with the pandemic and shows being shut down, no live fans, having to figure out ways around that. Brody getting sick. So your original question was, what was the hardest year? Yeah, that was for a multitude of reasons. Like I was saying, I don’t think those are all necessarily bad things.”
“The wrestling business is benefiting, I think in a lot of ways from changes. You asked about it with the injuries. Well, we’ve responded pretty well to those, and people that have been out for a variety of reasons are all starting to come back. There’s a lot of light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re getting close to the end of that tunnel in many ways.”
It seems that light in the tunnel is indeed drawing near with the recent returns of Bryan Danielson and CM Punk. Though it’s not certain that Punk’s recent appearance on Dynamite was a full return, it does appear that he’s well on his way to being fully healed.
As AEW prepares for their next big pay-per-view with All Out this coming September, one has to wonder whether the injury season has finally passed. Fans can only hope that no more of their favorites get put on the injury shelf this year.
H/t – Fightful