Tony Khan Wasted One Of AEW's Biggest Dream Matches In MJF Vs. Kenny Omega

Tony Khan loves his dream matches. In fact, one might argue that it's something, as the owner of his own wrestling promotion, he lives for. He has the capacity — if the money's right — to put together any sort of wrestling match his heart desires as he fantasy books with real live wrestlers, making the impossible possible. He's like the Willy Wonka of professional wrestling — trying to bring joy and happiness to hardcore wrestling fans with the creative concoctions he can piece together in the ring. 


But one thing Tony Khan keeps forgetting with the way AEW presents its wrestling product is that the actual wrestling in professional wrestling is often the least important element. Sure, for some, what takes place inside the ring is the be-all and end-all of their wrestling experience. However, it's the emotional investment that fans are able to pour into wrestling that really moves the needle. That's what drives ratings, what moves tickets, what sells merch. People need to have a reason to care about who's squaring off in the ring and why for it to really mean something. Otherwise, you end up with opponents just going through the motions, executing moves, and yes, there's a winner and a loser — but does it actually matter?


Wrestling is a business, and the model of any such business is to figure out a way to make the most money possible with the resources on hand. And that's why it's so confusing that AEW would take one of the biggest potential programs it could ever have, hot-shot the most basic of angles for it, and just stick it in the main event of some random October episode of "AEW Collision" with no build whatsoever rather than properly setting it up as a marquee match-up for a major PPV down the line.

Kenny Omega Challenges MJF -- For Collision?

Last Wednesday on "AEW Dynamite," after MJF dealt with about 12 other narrative threads he's currently trying to navigate, he was met face-to-face by Omega. "The Cleaner" threw down the gauntlet for the reigning AEW Champion, challenging him to a title match before the day MJF surpassed his standing record as the longest-ever AEW World Champion. MJF was days away from breaking the mark, and Omega wanted a chance to stop it from happening. Pretty basic stuff, but it's workable, except for one question: Does Khan not understand how monumental a match between Omega and MJF for the world title actually is? We're talking about easily one of the biggest stars AEW currently has crossing paths with one of the company's original central building blocks, and you think it's in your best interest to schedule that match on three days' notice? 


Kenny Omega vs. MJF for the AEW World Championship is an instant main event for any PPV that AEW has to offer, without question. And with AEW still operating on the archaic PPV model to drive revenue, it's the type of needle-moving "dream match" you'd think Khan would weaponize to get fans to part with their 50 bucks en masse, once again building momentum. That is, until it just gets thrown together for "Collision."

The Problem With Dream Matches

But this is always the problem with dream matches. The focus winds up being the match itself, with very little else getting the proper attention. It's the very fact that those select opponents will finally be sharing a ring with one another that matters, and everything else be damned. As a result, even with the actual bout on Saturday being as excellent as it was, what greater purpose did it really serve?


Saturday was the first time MJF and Kenny Omega have wrestled each other, ever. That'll never happen again, and the freshness of such an encounter is now lost forever. MJF is in the midst of programs with Adam Cole, Roderick Strong and The Kingdom, Samoa Joe, The Acclaimed, and Bullet Club Gold — a random match with Kenny Omega now just gets lost in the shuffle of all the other more important and more established angles taking proper priority. 

MJF beat back Omega's challenge and is set to become the new record-holder. Cool. Now imagine how much more interesting a storyline between the two could have been with some long-term planning applied, with a game plan in place, and with more than three days notice. Think about the promos and the set-up. Consider the emotional investment you would have had to make choosing sides between two beloved AEW cornerstones. Isn't that when wrestling hits the sweet spot of being awesome? Why does Khan have such difficulty grasping this concept?


Tony Khan: Good Matchmaker, Bad Booker

Tony Khan is a tremendous matchmaker, but he's not a very good storyteller, and this MJF vs. Omega bout was a blown opportunity for AEW to do something really special. You can't be in such a rush to pull off your biggest matches with your biggest stars — not if you're hoping to build your wrestling company for more than just the cheapest of pops. You're sacrificing long-term gains for the shortest of benefits, and that's hardly a recipe for success. Wrestling booking requires time and patience to really make things work, and Khan seems to have no interest in using either to his benefit or advantage. That's how we wind up with a match that should have been one for the ages in the AEW history books likely being forgotten in three weeks. Because as cool as it might have looked on paper, it didn't really matter.


There are only so many surefire, bonafide headlining matches that exist in wrestling, only so many bouts that people would absolutely lose their minds to see. One of them was just wasted. Khan should re-examine his approach sooner rather than later, because if he keeps it up, there won't be any dream matches left.