Tony Khan has opened up about his treatment of the AEW Dark YouTube show and revealed why the show has gotten longer and longer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unlike WWE with NXT, AEW does not have it’s own developmental brand in place in order to study and improve the stars of tomorrow. However, AEW President Tony Khan has remedied this with the extension of AEW Dark.
In an interview with the Pro Wrestling Torch Podcast, the mastermind behind All Elite Wrestling revealed that the reason his Dark show had added more and more matches weekly – currently exhibiting thirteen – is because he’s using the program as an experimental developmental territory:
“The pandemic changed Dark a lot. Dark was always supposed to be somewhat of a developmental show for us but it was also a much shorter show. When we came back and did shows during the pandemic, we used wrestlers in the audience. When they came in, I wanted to give them work. I was thinking at the beginning of the pandemic of all these Independent wrestlers around Florida and Georgia who weren’t working and they would kill to have this opportunity to wrestle on Dark. We could do a bigger version of Dark and it would be more of a developmental than it used to be because without fans in the stands, we could tape as much as we want, I’m just paying for production time but it’s worth it. It keeps the crew working too, which is great. That was my plan, turning Dark into more of a developmental and tape a lot more matches. We develop people from it. There are people that have come in and signed that we have plans for an I wanted to build up and they’ve built their record on Dark.”
Some names who have come through AEW Dark and found themselves on Dynamite in a more permanent role are Ricky Starks and Will Hobbs, as well as the lauded ‘Legit’ Layla Hirsch who will be a much needed diamond in the rough for the company’s women’s division.
AEW opening the door to the future of the industry can only be a good thing. They’re giving talent options of where to sign their future away to as well as preparing the foundations of their company in the years to come.
Credit for the interview: Pro Wrestling Torch Podcast
h/t for the transcription: Fightful