AEW President, Tony Khan, has spoken out about how the company have altered their structure and gone back to basics in 2020 in order to stop their top stars overheating.
Speaking to The Pro Wrestling Torch Podcast, Khan was questioned about the incident at the culmination of 2019 in which he and AEW received criticism for phantom punches thrown by The Dark Order against The Elite.
While Khan put the error down to the tiredness of his bigger stars, he put forth what AEW had done differently this year in order to make certain their huge guns didn’t become jaded and could go when called on:
“Getting back to our bread and butter wrestling was good. We were beating up some of our big stars too much. We put a lot of resources into people and had to re-look at our stories and where we were at with them.”
According to Tony Khan, the focus of his booking and storytelling has shifted in order to accommodate this change. For ideas to put on television, he now looks further afield for inspiration:
“For me, a big focus — I try to look at other sources peripheral to AEW like Being The Elite for ideas. I saw Hangman on Being The Elite doing his drunk character. He had never done that on Dynamite. I was like, ‘That’s Hangman from now.’ We’re almost a year into it and it’s completely changed him and he connects with people in a different way, he’s a more three-dimensional wrestler. There was a connection between him and the crowd that he still needed to get. We found it and now he has everything he needs. It was already within him. It’s similar to John Silver, when I saw his character on Being The Elite and I said, ‘This is what you need to do on Dynamite, this is going to connect with people.’ There are things like that where we need to change the presentation of people.”
The story of ‘Hangman’ Adam Page has been a slow burner all year, with his gradual mental collapse and the dissolution of his friendship with Kenny Omega. During the rest of the interview, Tony Khan touched upon tales such as this making his long-term planning a success.
Credit for the interview: The Pro Wrestling Torch Podcast
h/t for the transcription: Fightful