Tony Khan On Managing Big Personalities In AEW: 'I Can't Make Everyone Get Along'

AEW boss Tony Khan has copped criticism from the likes of Booker T, Eric Bischoff, Vince Russo, Konnan, and other industry veterans for his handling of the infamous All Out incident, and some have even suggested that Khan went ahead with the idea of a soft roster split just to keep CM Punk and The Elite apart — preventing another ugly incident. Talking with The Hollywood Reporter, Khan was asked how he manages clashing egos and wrestlers at loggerheads, and whether he prefers his employees to sort out their issues, or if he chooses to step in and play the role of peacemaker. 


"The most important thing to me as the CEO is the wrestling fans," Khan responded. "I'm a huge wrestling fan, and I try to think like a wrestling fan. I want the best wrestlers here in AEW. I want the best roster. And there may be some of them that don't get along with each other backstage or on TV. It's not ideal, but it's a reality, and I can't make everyone get along. I'm not sure it's necessarily even in the best interest of pro wrestling for everybody to get along." Khan argued that despite all the backstage incidents, of which there have been many, AEW is firing on all cylinders — as evidenced by the historic ticket sales for Sunday's All In pay-per-view.

"So even though ... wrestlers backstage hate each other and don't want to be friends with each other, I think we all agree this is a really exciting time for the company," Khan said. "And it's a really exciting time for the wrestling business and for the wrestling fans."


Tony Khan Unbothered By Backstage Ego Clashes

Despite keeping Punk and The Elite on separate brands, Khan has had to deal with the ramifications of Punk calling Adam Page "a peg warmer" in an off-air promo, for which Punk reportedly apologized later, and other issues pertaining to Punk asking certain talents and a backstage producer to leave the arena. In between all The Elite vs. Punk drama, Khan also had to address an alleged spat between Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker and a backstage altercation between Sammy Guevera and Andrade El Idolo last October. Clearly, the AEW boss has had his hands full over the past year or so. Yet, he prefers to keep a positive attitude, implying that the clash of egos isn't necessarily a bad thing, seeing as it could bring the best out of his performers.   


"There are a lot of people around here who think they're the best," Khan said of the AEW roster. "And I think a lot of them have a valid claim that they're the best. And what I'm trying to do is to create an environment where everybody can go out and prove it multiple times per week and create a platform where the fans can decide who the best wrestlers are, what the best rivalries are, what the best matches are."

"As long as I can keep the top talent in AEW, we will have the best matches and the best big events. The lineup of wrestlers competing on AEW All In is the strongest group of talent we've ever assembled on one show, it features some of the biggest matches in the history of this company, and I think it's going to be one of the greatest days ever in pro wrestling this Sunday."