Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman welcomed legendary wrestling journalist Bill Apter onto The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast to get his thoughts on Tony Khan and AEW. Apter had wondered how AEW would function with weekly television, but he praised Khan for the work he has done and said that he was not a “money mark”, a person that spends money on a wrestling promotion only to get close with wrestlers. Apter praised Khan for allowing the wrestlers to be at the forefront of creative wrestling decisions while he deals with the business side of things.
“I think he’s doing great,” Apter said. “I mean, even though he’s out there at the scrums and everything, he’s not out there all the time. I think he’s comfortable enough to let the boys run their show, and he handles most of the office stuff. I know they talk to him about what they’re going to do and all this, but I think he trusts The Elite to know how to run the wrestling part of the business.
“A lot of people who come along in wrestling and want to be promoters are what they call ‘money marks,’ and he’s got a lot of money and he used it for this company, but he’s not like the usual ‘money marks.’ He’s really sincerely interested in being who he is and not being the guy out in the forefront. He wants his wrestlers to be out there and make a successful product, and he’s done really, really well in his role and he’s a very pleasant person as well. He’s not intimidating.”
Apter also gave his thoughts on the Matt Hardy incident at All Out and Khan’s decision to “pause” the match before continuing after Hardy possibly suffered from a concussion. Apter admits that he probably would have stopped the match if the decision was up to him.
“I think it should have been stopped at that point. That’s my personal opinion,” Apter noted. “There’s some people who say, ‘go on, go on.’ I know Matt’s wife was beside herself, but Matt is that ultimate pro, of course where they show must go on.
“You can break every bone in your body and have a brain aneurysm but let’s find some way to continue the show. If it were me, I probably would have stopped it and said that he’s been hurt, this match officially did not take place and when Matt Hardy is ready to come back, we will have this match again on Dynamite or somewhere else with the same stipulation.”
Despite what he would do, Apter sympathizes with Khan for being in a position that not many people are in. He noted that it was a split-second decision that not many people would expect.
“Well I do too, but again, Tony Khan was in a position where, I’ve never been in a position like this,” Apter stated. “We don’t know what’s going on backstage with the other people that run AEW, so everybody’s probably scrambling with that quick thought, ‘what are we gonna do?’ And it could go wrong. It could go right. It’s that split-second decision of something that you never thought would happen.”
When asked for how he sees the war between WWE and AEW going, Apter admits that it’s hard to forecast the future of both companies. He noted that AEW has to keep their product fresh like what they have done with the TNT Championship open challenge bringing in indie talent. He also noted that while the key demo of 18-49 is what AEW and WWE are looking at, Apter hopes that companies can also focus on the older demos as they are also spending money on wrestling as well.
“It’s hard so hard to predict that,” Apter pointed out. “I mean as long as they keep their TV spot and they have compelling television, they’re going to keep going. They have to keep their product fresh. That’s a key to this is keeping the product fresh, and not just for, ‘oh look who they got from WWE,’ but I love the fact that they’re bringing people like Eddie Kingston and all the indie challenges. I thought that was brilliant. I really, really liked that because they grabbed a hold of the indie fans, but WWE, if they’re getting the older fans, they need a way to keep them as well.
“So that’s also a key demo. To me, nobody really caters to the fan in my age group or 20 years younger than me. They’re all looking to grab that younger key demo, but people my age who spend money too and we buy product and we collect. I have pitched many times to the WWE and other places to let me take all those hundreds of interviews I have with all the people from the ’70s and ’80s, and let’s use those for a podcast.”
Bill Apter can now be read every month as part of the new Inside The Ropes Magazine. For more information please click HERE. Apter’s full interview aired as part of today’s episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.