We listened to a few different interviewers trying to get information from AEW boss Tony Khan about how the company is handling the situation where four of its biggest stars were suspended for their roles in a fight backstage after the Everything out media scrum on Labor Day weekend.
Busted Open Radio‘s Dave LaGreca had a different approach with his regular guest. He asked TK, “What’s the one thing you’ve learned less in the past few weeks, dealing with everything you’ve been through?”
It’s far from a gotcha question. Many would probably call it a softball. But LaGreca certainly knew what was forbidden, and if you’re going to play that game to keep access to an important figure like Khan, it’s actually a pretty clever way to get him to say something about it, other than “No comment, watch Dynamite.”
So what did Tony say?
“Remember that you have great people around you. It doesn’t matter who you are, there are people you can talk to. Everyone has different situations – you have family, friends, people at work, people at school. But remember that there are people who care about you and want to see you succeed. A lot has happened, but there are a lot of great people at AEW who want to run the business, and whatever the problem is, those are people who will be here and want to make the business work.
“Before the Tournament of Champions, a lot of people in the Tournament of Champions came up and said, ‘I don’t care what happens, I love this place, I love you, and I want to make it great. I’m here for anything you need.’ To hear those kind of reassuring words from the likes of Jon Moxley, and Chris Jericho and Bryan Danielson, really means a lot.
“When a lot of people return – whatever you think of them, with people who were gone, their return means a lot. Whether it’s Samoa Joe, who is one of the biggest stars of all time and a great presence in the dressing room, it’s great to have him back Or even frankly MJF who has made a big difference on TV I don’t agree with everything he says but I think the wrestling fans love seeing MJF every Wednesday on the shows, and it makes a big difference for AEW and for Dynamite on TBS when he’s there.
“So it’s really about the fans that gather around AEW, and the wrestlers and staff in the AEW rally. We’ve seen people do it over and over, whether it’s through the pandemic lockdown, some of the challenges we’ve faced – the absolute low point of this business when Mr Brodie Lee was ill and on the brink of death, and as he passed, and then gathered around him and his family. That is the most serious example we will ever encounter. And then, compared to that, it’s all kind of — I don’t know what the right word is, but it’s hard to compare anything to being so serious. That’s as big as it gets, and then it really puts everything else that we do into perspective. If we can all come together and try to be a family, then I think we can probably get through anything.
“So for me I learned a lot, but the most important thing I think is, whatever position you are in, or however you feel, if you have your back against the wall, remember that there are people who will support you. can turn to.”
One of the things that strikes me about TK’s response is the reminder of how well the organization handled the entire Brodie Lee tragedy. Not only did AEW take the opportunity – for the company and especially Amanda Huber and her children – in the face of a truly daunting challenge, it also proves how many of the same people were able to cooperate and remain silent, when the situation asked for it.
If Khan can instill that same mindset in his team again, all his hyperbole about how great the future looks might not be hyperbole.