Kevin Kelly Discusses Backstage Atmosphere In AEW With Talent, Creative

Former "AEW Collision" commentator Kevin Kelly was let go from the company earlier this year, with Kelly later confirming that he planned to sue regarding his termination. During a recent appearance on Eric Bischoff's "Wise Choices," Kelly elaborated on his time with the company, focusing on areas in which he feels AEW is lacking.


"[Tony Khan has] got good people around him that he doesn't utilize," Kelly said. "His vision of what wrestling is, for me, works best on a small scale. People always wonder, 'Why did PWG stay small?' ... They knew that if they went big, that it would get stale fast. And they had to stay small to keep it special, to keep it niche. He wants to appeal to a niche audience with his vision of wrestling, but he thinks he can convince the people to watch on a grand scale."

Another mistake Kelly believes Khan has made is positioning himself as "the face of the company." While Khan can often be seen doing interviews regarding AEW, Kelly thinks that role would be better served by a wrestler, partially because he feels Khan isn't great on camera. However, Kelly's problems with AEW don't end there.


Kevin Kelly Describes Backstage Morale In AEW

In addition to Khan appearing in the media, Kelly took issue with other aspects of how Khan runs AEW. Bischoff asked his guest to elaborate on wrestlers' morale backstage, and Kelly described a dysfunctional environment that includes performers not learning what they'll be doing on a show until just hours before. Meanwhile, others were brought to events only to find out they have nothing to do.


"There were a lot of people ... that weren't being used ... that had creative ideas but weren't getting through," Kelly continued. "So there would be a conga line outside of Tony's office, waiting to get in to see him."

That differs from WWE, as Kelly stated there would always be other people to speak with apart from Vince McMahon if a performer had an idea to share. According to the former commentator, the result in AEW was many of the talent losing their confidence and failing to gain traction with the audience.

The reasons for Kelly's firing were never officially confirmed. However, it is believed that he was let go after Kelly publicly called out fellow AEW commentator Ian Riccaboni for comments Riccaboni allegedly made in a private Discord server, which were later leaked on social media. In the comments, Riccaboni accused Kelly of promoting a documentary associated with the conspiracy theory known as "QAnon."