In the lead-up to the inaugural Double or Nothing pay-per-view last year, AEW President Tony Khan made it abundantly clear that AEW plans to stand out from the WWE by delivering "a sports-based product" that has little room for "backstage choreographed segments." The AEW Founder also said the new wrestling promotion will "be focused on the athletes" and showcase them in a way that other wrestling products do not.
Fast forward 18 months and AEW has been criticized by fans on social media for the recent Le Dinner Debonair and Town Hall Meeting segments featuring MJF and Chris Jericho. In a recent chat with PWI Insider, Khan addressed those critics.
In defense of Dinner Debonair, Khan said the musical number was the only non-wrestling segment during that episode of AEW Dynamite.
"So Dinner Debonair was a variety segment, it got people talking, absolutely as we expected," he said. "And it was sandwiched in a show with so much in-ring action. It took place on a show where you had Penta versus Phoenix and Wardlow versus Jungle Boy and the tag match and all these great in-ring matches."
Khan added that unlike Dinner Debonair, Town Hall Meeting was "a more conventional wrestling segment."
"They're very different from each other," he said. "I don't know how you can compare those two segments, they are apples and oranges."
While noting that the Town Hall segment was the highest-rated segment across both AEW Dynamite and NXT last Wednesday, Khan said that MJF and Jericho promoting a wrestling match "is great wrestling" in itself.
"It takes place in the wrestling ring, you know, does that make sense?" he said. "As long as it's not somebody stroking their own ego talking about themselves for 20 minutes, wrestlers talking to each other about wrestling is some of the best stuff about wrestling," he added.
"I think it's going to be as good as any match on the card, probably the best match, has the potential to be...and it could very well shape the future of the company. These are two of our biggest stars, they were our greatest tag team, and now this is our biggest rivalry."