From title changes to surprise appearances, AEW Full Gear was full of monumental shifts for the black and gold brand. Speaking on the AEW Full Gear media scrum, AEW President Tony Khan spoke on the event’s success, specifically touting Darby Allin’s TNT Title victory as one of the night’s highlights.
“I’m a huge fan of Darby,” Khan said. “I think it was very appropriate that the fourth match between Cody and Darby here in AEW was this championship win for Darby, because Darby’s debut here came against Cody. Our executive vice presidents do a great job scouting people and bringing them to our attention, and Cody wanted to work with Darby from the beginning. And I was very, very up for it and was excited to sign Darby to a multi-year deal. And then quickly, when I saw what value he adds to this company I extended it. So Darby’s signed here for many, many years to come. Because after the match he had with Cody, I realized Darby is going to be a huge, huge star. I knew he had potential, but I had no idea until Fyter Fest in Daytona in 2019. I really, really believe in Darby. I think everybody, you know, our fans, and everybody in the company believes in him.”
Considering the timing, Khan went on to mention how poetic Darby’s victory was. He says the seeds for Darby’s feud with both Cody and Team Taz were planted a long time ago, and to see it pay off all this time later was pretty special.
“It’s crazy, because yesterday marks six months since the build of Team Taz vs Darby started, so I thought it was really fitting that he won the match, and then that story is continued,” Khan said. “It’s also fitting because it was after the third Cody/Darby match, which was the semi-finals of the TNT Title tournament, that Darby kind of had a beef set up with Taz, because Taz tried to part some advice to Darby that Darby didn’t want, and then Taz kind of condescended Darby.”
With Darby’s title victory, it can be argued he is the first “home-grown” AEW star to win a championship. While Khan appreciates seeing one of AEW’s scouted prospects finally capturing gold within the company, he emphasized that Darby’s success is self-made.
“He’s his own man. He made himself a star, and that’s the most important thing,” Khan said. “He’s just a really tremendous person to work with. I talk to him pretty much everyday, which is funny because I don’t think there’s anybody I have less in common with than Darby. I just really enjoy working with him. I’ve really bonded with him personally. I think he’s somebody that’s really the future here.”
Another noteworthy match-up saw Matt Hardy defeat Sammy Guevara in an Elite Deletion, the latest cinematic-style wrestling contest of 2020. Set at the infamous Hardy Compound, two familiar faces made cameo appearances during the match: the Hurricane and Gangrel. While both of their appearances were intended to be no more than a one-off, Khan says he is keeping the door open to working with them again.
“To be honest, I don’t have either of them booked on anything in the next loop or in the immediate future,” Khan said. “But I’m also really open to both of them coming back.”
Khan revealed he was present at the Hardy Compound during the match’s shooting, and says he enjoyed conversing with both cameoing wrestlers.
“I was at the compound for the Deletion producing the match, and I spent time with both guys,” Khan said. “I’ve known Shane [Hurricane] for a while, and I had never met Gangrel before. I really enjoyed spending time with both guys, and I’d love to see both of them come back at some point. I think that would be a lot of fun.”
Another one-off cameo came at the beginning of the night, when Impact Wrestling’s Don Callis appeared as a guest commentator for the Kenny Omega/Adam page match. AEW is not shy when it comes to working with other promotions, as evident by the prevalence of both the NWA Women’s and AAA Mega Championships on AEW programming, but Callis is the first face from Impact Wrestling to make a crossover appearance in AEW. While Khan says he’d love to see him return, he mentioned that his appearance was a favor for Kenny Omega, who has a storied friendship with the Impact Wrestling EVP.
“It was definitely something I did for Kenny. I put it together with Impact and agreed for Don to come,” Khan said. “I’d love to have Don back in the future, and I’m open to working with people as I think we’ve demonstrated multiple times that AEW is probably the most friendly major company, definitely right now.”
Outside of Full Gear news, Khan was asked about the status of the AEW video game. He mentioned that multiple games are in the works, including ones that let you become AEW General Manager and assemble match cards. While the AEW founder’s lips are sealed for now, he did reveal fans can expect something game-related before the year’s over.
“We have some big surprises to come in 2020, I just can’t say that enough. There’s still time in 2020, the show is great, but there’s still going to be a lot to come this year.”
The full audio from the AEW Full Fear scrums was included as part of a recent 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.