As previously noted, AEW President Tony Khan did an interview with Financial Times earlier this year where he was quoted saying that AEW is taking examples of “what not to do” from WCW’s past business decisions.
Eric Bischoff would respond to Tony’s comments during his 83 Weeks Podcast. “[It’s] easy to criticize, especially when you’ve only been in the wrestling business for a cup of coffee or two,” Bischoff stated. He also pointed out how much inspiration AEW has taken from WCW when it comes to pay-per-view names and their overall production.
During this week’s Fight For The Fallen preview, Eric Bischoff, Tony Khan, and Conrad Thompson joined up via video chat to discuss the upcoming AEW show. Khan took the meeting as an opportunity to clear the air about his past comments regarding WCW.
“I did an interview in the Financial Times and it was the week of the Super Bowl, and I was on my dad’s boat. And I talked to a really nice guy from the Financial Times for about an hour, and he asked me about the wrestling business,” Khan explained. “I felt like a lot of his questions were trying to stoke an AEW/WWE war conversation, and I felt like he wanted me to say stuff that was, like, you know, big headline stuff. I didn’t give him much there, and then he started asking me business questions since it’s the Financial Times. I love talking about the wrestling business, and I would be remiss if I didn’t go and be upfront [about this].
“The stuff I said in the Financial Times was stuff I said on the back end of this interview about the fall of WCW, and I think you saw that and you were like, ‘What the hell, Tony? Why would you say that?’ And I’ve been involved with sports and business long before AEW; I’ve only been doing this a year,” Khan added. “But I could see, if you read that, if I saw somebody say that, I would be super pissed. And just so you know, I, and over the course of this conversation I’m sure it will come across, I am such a huge fan of your work, and you’re such an incredible innovator in the business, and I wouldn’t be here, and there wouldn’t be an AEW without you. There would not be wrestling on TNT right now without you.”
Khan continued praising Bischoff’s work during the 90s, claiming that it is the reason he was able to talk about bringing pro wrestling back to TNT in 2019. He says that the Financial Times reporter decided to leave out the parts of the interview where he was celebrating things WCW had done for the industry.
“You gave me the opening to talk to the president of TNT to talk about the previous success you had had on his network, which he didn’t realize because it’s been twenty years,” Khan said. “He was obviously not at TNT, or TBS, or Warner Media when this was happening, when WCW was such a huge entity. So, I will talk a lot about it, but I had given that reporter about twenty minutes of build up about how huge your business was and how far you’ve taken the business from ’93, ’94, and then ’96, ’97, ’98, ’99 and, kind of, what happened in those years. And I think he only talked about stuff from ’99 – 2001, but I would have loved if he would have printed how big your business was when you were running domes every single week…
“[WCW] was such an important cultural phenomenon, and I’m sorry if it came across like I didn’t think that way, because I definitely think that. And I’m just such a huge believer in what you have built, so, thank you,” Khan finished.
With a smile, Bischoff accepted his apology, and the group continued on to preview tonight’s “Fight For The Fallen” episode of AEW Dynamite. The current card for “Fight For The Fallen” is below:
* Jon Moxley (c) vs. Brian Cage with Taz (AEW World Championship)
* Cody (c) vs. Sonny Kiss (AEW TNT Championship)
* Lucha Brothers vs. FTR
* The Elite (Kenny Omega and Young Bucks) vs. Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, and Marko Stunt)
* Brandi Rhodes and Allie vs. TBA
* Chris Jericho to speak
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.