AEW President and CEO Tony Khan stopped by the the Busted Open podcast, where host Dave LeGreca attempted to get himself unbanned from AEW.
Unsuccessful in doing so, co-host Bully Ray complimented Khan for bringing a lively atmosphere to AEW, saying it felt like hundreds of people were in attendance, and Khan talked about the measures they’ve taken like testing everyone for COVID-19.
“There’s not hundreds of people in the building, but there are people in the ringside area who have been tested,” Khan noted. “It’s been great for us. It’s been a great atmosphere. Thankfully, we’ve got this pool have people that have been tested. It’s safe for them to be there and cheering. We don’t have to worry about having those people at ringside. It definitely adds to the presentation.”
Khan talked about the inspiration for the live audience, saying it was from the Tonight Show. Jimmy Fallon used his band as a live audience, and Khan talked about how that livened up the show and kept the excitement going.
“It was a non-wrestling show where I got the idea from because I was watching the Tonight Show,” Khan recalled. “Jimmy Fallon, in the early days of the pandemic when he was still doing shows in the studio, had his band out there. And I thought this was really neat. They were still able to do this and keep the show going. They had an atmosphere, and it was more intimate. It still conveyed a lot of the excitement, and it was better than having dead air out there.”
Tommy Dreamer asked Khan for confirmation on the inspiration for the Fight For The Fallen set coming from an episode of South Park. Khan confirms it did come from the wrestling episode South Park did and detailed how they wanted it to be an exact replica.
“The ‘WTF’ episode of South Park, the Wrestling Takedown Federation was their backyard company on South Park,” Khan said. “They had a set. The way they set up behind their house with bleachers in the backyard, but the way it looked, it was like theatre in the round. That was the amphitheater feeling I wanted to create.
“So instead of putting the ring up on the stage where it would only be exposed to one side, we could put the ring down in the pit. We have this great big concrete pit, and instead of using it as a mosh pit, we could put a ring down there. When you look at the two side by side, I took a photo and posted it on Twitter, side by side with the South Park ring. Here is the inspiration. Here is the actual Fight For The Fallen setup. So, that is true for the Fight for the Fallen set.”
Khan talked about how big of a fan of wrestling he was to the point of convincing his parents to go to an ECW show in exchange for him to attend a top private school. He said that Dynamite has been a show he’s always been writing since he was a kid, and he had always dreamed of being president of his own wrestling company for a charity show like Fight For The Fallen.
Last year’s show donated it’s proceeds to victims of gun violence, and this year’s show set up a fund to donate to help the fight against COVID-19.
“Dynamite’s been a show that I’ve been writing since I was 12 years old,” Khan revealed. “There’s been a lot of companies. There’s been a ‘NCW’ and an ‘ACW’. There was never an AEW until this AEW. There’s been a lot of Dynamite’s. Fight For The Fallen, I’ve always wanted to do a big wrestling charity show, and we came out and did Double or Nothing.
“Fight For The Fallen is always something that I’ve always wanted to do especially after dad, eight years ago, brought our family to Jacksonville and bought the Jaguars. When we started AEW, I always wanted to do a show like Fight For The Fallen to give back. So it’s always been a dream for me to do this, to be a president of a wrestling company and book matches.”
You can view Khan’s tweet he references below. If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Thank you to everyone who watched @AEWrestling #FightForTheFallen live or on @brlive US/Canada or @FiteTV elsewhere. Over a year ago I dreamed this staging watched South Park, @dailysplace was great tonight! This show wasn’t designed to profit, glad to give back to Jacksonville! pic.twitter.com/jMayB7746Y
? Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) July 14, 2019