AEW President & CEO Tony Khan recently spoke with Justin Barrasso to promote Saturday’s AEW Full Gear pay-per-view and said this is the best card the promotion has ever presented to fans.
“It’s the best card we’ve presented, top to bottom. Every match is really strong, and every match has potential to steal the show,” Khan said.
You can click here for the current Full Gear line-up and then join us for live coverage tomorrow evening.
Khan was also asked about AEW talents working indie shows during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has had to make recent creative changes after AEW talents were exposed to the coronavirus while working indie shows. Khan noted that he had a policy where AEW talents were only to work indie shows where certain COVID-19 safety protocols were met, and then revealed that now he has tightened up those restrictions after some people did not take the original policy serious at times. He was asked if he will still allow talent to work indie shows.
“I implemented a policy where people were only supposed to work indie shows when certain conditions were met. There have been times when people did not take that seriously, so I have tightened up the restrictions,” Khan responded. “I’ll still allow it under certain conditions, but people need to look me in the eye and say that the conditions are being met. Our talent and their opponent need to be tested before the show, and there also needs to be a good reason why the match is important.
“This is important for everyone’s safety, as well as important for our show. I’ve been flexible in the past because I thought it was good for the talent to have the opportunity to earn, as well as great for the fans and the indies as a whole. We also don’t run every night of the week, so it allows for talent to get extra reps, too. So we have a policy, and I’ll be enforcing it strictly.”
Khan also talked about how AEW has managed to avoid layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic after WWE had mass cuts back in April. Khan admitted that 2020 has been a challenging year, but it’s been important to him for people to stay employed.
“I’m really pleased that we haven’t done that,” Khan said when asked about cuts. “We negotiated a great television contract that will keep us going, and that made it possible for us to hang on in a time when there wasn’t a revenue stream of ticket sales. Now the ticket sales revenue stream is very different. We were the No. 1 touring wrestling company per event, but that’s not a major revenue stream right now.
“The television revenue is such an important part of the business model. Frankly, I wasn’t concerned about making the biggest profit in 2020. We could have slashed and made some good money, but it’s been a very challenging year. Every company can approach it the way they want, but as the president and CEO of this company, it was important for me to keep people working and getting paid.”