Tony Khan caught many off-guard when he promoted CM Punk vs. Jon Moxley on free television – but the ratings have proven to be beneficial to the decision!
CM Punk’s return to AEW programming ahead of All Out left many expecting him and Jon Moxley to unify the official and interim AEW World Championships at the 4 September pay-per-view. Instead, they collided on the 24 August Dynamite, with Moxley leaving as the undisputed champion.
Tony Khan has defended his decision of placing the marquee match on Dynamite rather than a pay-per-view being a good business strategy. In response to Inside The Ropes’ Kenny McIntosh on the pre-All Out media call, Khan praised the two for producing a stellar programme together that’s drawn many fans back in:
“It’s a great question. A lot of people are asking it. I do think it’s been a big benefit. It’s different than what we’ve typically done and it’s funny, because it’s one extreme to the other because I’ve done go-home shows where all the hay is in the barn and sometimes it can be a challenge. You have everything really keyed up and you’re really just taking practice swings [laughs]. In this case, I knew it was going to be a fast and furious build-up, but I think the anticipation has been even stronger.
I wouldn’t say we should do it like this every time, but this is, I believe, the fifteenth pay-per-view for AEW, and we’ve never done anything like this. I think it made the build very exciting, it’s raised a lot of questions going into the match, there’s a lot of speculation about what the future holds for both men, what the future holds for the championship, and what’s going to happen in Jon Moxley vs. CM Punk part two based on what happened in that match on TV.”
Tony Khan continued, addressing the ratings boost Jon Moxley vs. CM Punk provided for last week’s Dynamite:
“It also was undeniably a great ratings draw for us. We had a tremendous audience last week and I think most of the people, or a large percentage of the people on this call, hopefully will have seen the press release that Warner Bros. Discovery put out in support of the tremendous ratings we pulled last week.
Again, we were the number one show on cable and had a big lift week-over-week, and the biggest thing of all that I thought was really, really cool was I thought we built even more interest and intrigue in the pay-per-view while doing the biggest total audience the show has done since February. So I was really pleased with it. It created a week of people loudly wondering what the heck is going on here, this is crazy. In this case, that was good.
Now that we’re close to the pay-per-view and we had that amazing show last night and I feel like a lot of people’s wondering what the heck is going on here, the promos that Jon and Punk did reeled a lot of people back in and, in particular, hearing what Punk had to say in Chicago, I think people are up to see this great title fight on Sunday. I do feel very good about where we’re at with it now that we’ve had some great TV and there’s a lot of excitement going into Sunday’s pay-per-view.”
Last week’s AEW Dynamite drew 1,049,000 viewers, the highest audience since the 9 February broadcast, which saw 1,149,000 viewers. CM Punk and Jon Moxley’s collision, though ultimately short in length, was reason for the boost in ratings.
They’ll now face off again on Sunday, 4 September at All Out, following Punk accepting an open contract laid out by Moxley on last night’s Dynamite. The match is one of AEW’s most anticipated ever, given the circumstances surrounding the contest.