AEW promised to be unlike any other wrestling promotion out there and that started with their inaugural event Double or Nothing. The lead up to it featured lots of social media vignettes and that was all by design according to president Tony Khan.
"It was a conscious effort but not surprised by it," said Khan. "It's been basically our audience is younger. This show was very different than our social media. This pay per view was not like an episode of Being the Elite...
"I think there is something about social media now where people are more engaged with their celebrities and their sports stars than ever before. People can spot a phony and I think young people can spot a phony. I think young people can spot when people believe what they are saying and when people aren't believing what they are saying, and when I was a kid, I really did believe what Ric Flair and Randy Savage and Bret Hart said in their promos. I think there has to be some believability."
Khan then brought up the use of scripted promos in wrestling and inferred that AEW won't be using those very often, if at all.
"When you see a guy reading off a teleprompter or a mental teleprompter, just trying to recite a script or trying to look up in the air when you forget a line. It is hard to suspend disbelief when the wrestler doesn't believe in the real-life situation that is unfolding. So like I said, I am not surprised that we are drawing young viewers; it was part of the plan going in," stated Khan.
"Being the Elite is going to be a lot different than the wrestling show that we do, but that is the point. We are going to provide a serious, sports-based product from bell to bell, along the lines of what you saw from Double or Nothing. Something you are going to notice more and more is that things are going to take place in and around the ring. We are not going to go out of the arena. We are not going to spend half the show backstage in dressing rooms or backstage in choreograph segments. I am really interested in focusing on the matches and there are plenty of times outside the matches to focus on storyline advancements, to focus on the funny sketches and we can do all that, and nobody does that comedy better than our guys.
"There is nothing funnier than Being the Elite but there is a time and a place for it and that is why before The Bucks and Lucha Bros went out to settle their issues which is a really serious issue between these teams. And to go out and have a very serious, excellent wrestling match to tell the story of the issue that is taking place between the teams, that is why we weren't doing a comedy bit right before the guys went into the ring because it was a serious match, a great match and there is a time and place for everything. That is why we didn't have Matt Jackson make Michael Nakazawa jokes during the match because that stuff is amazing. People love Being the Elite but you also don't want to do haha funny when you are doing a serious wrestling show and we have a great balance between the two and I think we are going to keep doing that."
Along the lines of AEW being more sports-oriented than what fans are used to seeing in pro wrestling, Khan will be having select performers address the media after an event just as athletes in most sports do.
"I really don't know any other way, honestly," Khan said of AEW being more sports-oriented. "We come from the NFL and English Football. For me I have been to a hundred of post-fight, post-match performances and I really don't know any other way than to be open with you guys. I have always had a great relationship with media who has covered our team. Us, as the Khan family, we don't know any other way than to be open and sharing with you guys. I really enjoy interacting with you guys and everyone in the post-fight scrums. We did this one but we have also done one after doing our debut press-conferences, we have all gone out and spoken with the media. Cody, The Young Bucks and I really do enjoy it. I think the fans enjoy it. I am glad you guys enjoy it. Most importantly, I am glad it makes your jobs easier because I really want you guys to enjoy it."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.