AEW President Tony Khan has highlighted one particular mistake made by WCW that he is determined not to repeat.
At it’s peak WCW housed one of the most impressive rosters ever in modern wrestling. From box-office attractions such as Hulk Hogan and Goldberg to emerging talents such as Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio, WCW had something for everyone.
In more recent times some fans have drawn parallels between the former Atlanta based promotion and the rise of AEW. Both companies have grown to become rivals to WWE while signing a mixture of young stars and former WWE headliners.
Speaking during a recent interview with Monaco Streaming Film Festival, AEW President Tony Khan reflected on the roster-strength of WCW compared to his own roster in AEW, before detailing the one mistake he’s determined not to repeat.
“We have a great chance here to build an office, and keep gaining new fans, and one of the key things I’ve tried to do here with AEW is hold back a lot. When you’re in a position with a lot of talent and you can unload and do big matches, I think it’s very tempting to just unload the clip and start putting hot, big matches out there,”
“I am doing that but I’m not going to use them all up in one week or two weeks, and burn through all of the great stories that I feel could last for years here. So I am trying to be methodical in terms of not killing the golden goose.
“… I think WCW built one of the greatest rosters ever in wrestling, and they were competing with WWF in the ’90s. And I thought one of the mistakes they made is they had so many exciting matches in WCW and it was like week, after week, after week they burned through them,” he added. “But not only did they burn through them, there were very unsatisfying conclusions. A lot of them ended in disqualification or something that wouldn’t make me that hungry to watch a rematch.
Despite all of this, I can talk with the benefit of hindsight about the business mistakes WCW made. They also rose to incredible heights and proved that it’s possible for a wrestling company to do this.”
Expanding further, Khan admitted that some big names wanted to see how AEW developed before signing for the company, leading him to assemble a roster with less star-power in the promotions early months.
“When we started AEW, there is no question– we didn’t have the greatest roster of star power, but we did have exciting, young wrestlers and a show people wanted to see. It’s kind of the chicken or the egg, there is no way I could have launched with the rosters of stars I have because some of them were not available or out of contract when we launched, and others wanted to see how this went before they committed to it.
They had to sign up and see some proof of concept before they signed up, essentially became a guinea pig in a new wrestling company. There was initially a ton of interest in AEW when we launched and there does continue to be. I sometimes wonder, if I was able to launch with all the star power I have now, which clearly there was great demand and people wanted to see it, but it wasn’t possible then. And now, it actually is possible.”
Tony Khan has recently drawn the ire of former WCW President Eric Bischoff with his comments regarding being in competition with WWE.
Bischoff previously told Khan to “shut up” while more recently suggesting that AEW isn’t close to being as successful as WCW in 1996. Easy E also turned his attention to AEW star CM Punk, commenting that he’s “sh*t the bed” since joining the company.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.