Tony Khan Recalls His Father Not Thinking AEW Would Work At First

During his interview on Oral Sessions with Renée Paquette, AEW President & CEO Tony Khan discussed how he would like to see the company add another weekly show to their already established programs. He did clarify that this show would be its own entity and would not be added content on Dynamite or Dark.


"I'm really excited about adding a third hour," Tony Khan exclaimed. "That's going to be the most important thing for us 'cause right now, we've accumulated so much talent on the roster that we want to showcase all of our great wrestlers. It will not be a third hour of Dynamite, and it will not be on Wednesday. But it will be a third hour with WarnerMedia, which will be great exposure for us.

"We've got Dark, which is a great platform for our wrestlers on YouTube. And I think there are other streaming options and other shows that we could do with YouTube or other streaming platforms. So, there's going to be more opportunities and more real estate for our wrestlers without oversaturating."

Three years ago when The Elite and Tony were strategizing their plans to create AEW, Tony recalls how uninterested his father, Shahid Khan, was to take part financially in what he believed to be a pipedream.


"No, he did not support this at all," he clarified right away. "I put the business plan together, and I was pretty much ready to commit to it. But again, he had cold feet. We had some very uncomfortable conversations where I told him that this was going to be great.

"He's been so cool about it. He's the smartest person I've ever known. He knew nothing about wrestling, and now, he's learning a lot about wrestling and paying attention to it. AEW is his thing, but he's never watched wrestling before."

Continuing on, Tony mentioned to Renee how surprised he was when his father came out to the public and noted that he was in the wrong to think AEW would never be as established as it is now.

"He's a really nice person. He's very supportive, and he's a very loving man. He's also a very hard man," he admitted. "He's not going to give it to you easy. He's not going to tell you that you pulled something off or if you did a good job on something. I don't hear it from him often, but in public, he admitted that he was very wrong about AEW. He went to multiple big publications and said in print that it was a good lesson [for him] in parenting to learn to trust your kids...Hearing him say good job on AEW each week is very nice."


Tony admits that as President & CEO of a major North American promotion, it has its trials and errors, especially in the first year or so after it launches. Looking back, he says the biggest takeaway he's had so far in his dual role is that he needs to be more accountable and vocal on his vision of where he'd like to see AEW go.

"The biggest lesson I learned in 2019, and now that it's the end of 2020, I think I did a much better job on learning how to be personally accountable," he noted. "To be honest, the stuff I liked the least in 2019 was stuff that I had low expectations for – stuff I almost scratched. There were things that I didn't like. By the beginning of 2020, I had pretty much gotten to the point where I realized I needed to trust my instincts more, and I need to be more responsible and stand up if I don't like an idea.

"I think this year we were much more organized. I tried to get more organized and to do a much better job in 2020. I think the shows were more logical and better, and it paid off because we had a challenging environment with the pandemic. But we've been able to maintain our audience better than any other wrestling show in America."

You can listen to Tony Khan's full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions w/Renée Paquette with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.