AEW President Tony Khan has discussed which gimmick in the company he wasn’t a huge fan of and how the company pivots from their mistakes rather “doubling-down.”
Khan is the final word on what airs on AEW television and just as crucially, what doesn’t. A few gimmicks have fallen by the wayside in the company’s short tenure, most notably Brandi Rhodes’ Nightmare Collective but Khan accepts that mistakes will be made and the key is how to deal with them.
Speaking to Brandon F. Walker on his Rasslin’ podcast, Tony Khan explained his views on how the company deals with its missteps.
“If we make a mistake, I like to think we do a good job pivoting off it. There has been stuff that was not perfect and you don’t always get stuff right. But the key is to not double-down, triple-down, or quadruple-down [on it] if something doesn’t work. I like to say I have my finger on the pulse [of wrestling]. Nobody bats a thousand. But if you’re throwing a pitch [in baseball] and it keeps getting crushed, don’t keep throwing the same pitch. Maybe switch it up. And there have been times like that.”
A prime example of this is one gimmick Khan wasn’t a fan of in its presentation on AEW TV. March 2020 was a crazy time in the world never mind the always wacky world of professional wrestling. The COVID-19 pandemic was gripping the planet and sports and entertainment venues were closing their doors to fans. On the first episode of the pandemic era in AEW, the company saw two huge debuts take place. First Brodie Lee revealed himself as The Exalted One and leader of The Dark Order. Then later in the night ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy brought his vessel into AEW. Famously, Hardy confronted Chris Jericho and his Inner Circle by appearing to teleport inside the empty arena. According to Khan, he was talked into doing that spot despite his misgivings as he was just grateful people were there to put on any kind of show at all.
Tony Khan explained:
“A great example I think would be, and he would be totally fine with me saying this, I was not as into Broken Matt Hardy as other people were and I’ve said this on Jericho’s podcast, that thing he did with time travel, that was the craziest Dynamite of all-time other than the Atlanta taping. […] Matt Hardy and Chris were trying to talk me into [it], specifically, Chris liked the idea of Matt teleporting. Dude, I’m lucky these guys are even there. But the idea of teleportation, I was just like, ‘Alright. I’m just lucky you guys [are here].’ At that point, it was a miracle the show was even coming off.”
“But anyway. To get to the point we are now with Big Money Matt and the stuff we’re doing now. I feel like sometimes if you don’t like an idea you can move on and do something [else]. And I think Matt Hardy, and the stuff he’s done with Private Party, The Butcher, and The Blade and the Bunny, and now with Christian Cage, is super compelling. He’s really become a really central figure in the show. Like I said, his match with Darby Allin was huge. Of Darby’s ten title defenses that was by far his biggest one.”
Matt Hardy and his Hardy Family Office have become integral antagonists feuding with both Christian Cage and The Dark Order in recent weeks.