Last night on AEW Revolution, AEW’s big mystery signing was revealed to be Christian Cage. Considering Christian had just competed in WWE’s Royal Rumble match in January, the signing came as a surprise to many.

Speaking on the media call after Revolution, AEW founder Tony Khan revealed the Instant Classic has actually been a friend of his for a while.

“He’s been a friend of mine for a long time,” Khan said. “I met Christian Cage seven years ago, he’s a great person. I’ve always really liked him as a person, but long before then I was a huge, huge fan of him as a wrestling. I think he’s one of the great wrestlers the past couple decades. He’s had great matches in different companies. He’s a great singles wrestler, a great tag champion. I think he adds a lot here. He’s one of the best minds in wrestling, and he’s in great physical condition.”

As noted, Christian made his return to the ring after a near seven-year absence at this January’s Royal Rumble. After seeing the buzz around that appearance, Khan says the pieces fell together for Christian to come over to AEW.

“We saw him very recently compete on pay-per-view, and there was a lot of interest in it,” Khan said. “It generated a lot of interest. He was interested in wrestling on a regular basis, and he gave me a call. He said, ‘I’d really like to come wrestle in AEW.’ And I said, ‘I’d really like to have you come wrestle in AEW for me, that sounds awesome.’ It all came together great.”

While some AEW signings materialize over a number of months, Khan says the turnaround on Christian’s contract was rather quick.

“It came up in the last few weeks,” Khan said. “Paul [Wight] and I had been talking and were trying to put together a deal while I was trying to launch Elevation, and that took a little bit more time to come together as we were putting that deal together, and that one I kept a secret a little bit longer. This one came together pretty quickly. Christian Cage had just recently returned to the ring and looked incredibly impressive, and I was not aware that he did not have a contract and was going to be interested in wrestling for us.

“He’s a friend of mine, and I didn’t know he would be [interested in] coming here. Never in a million years would I have imagined it. Now I’m kind of kicking myself he wasn’t here when I saw him come back [at the Royal Rumble]. He got a great reaction. I can’t say it enough. I have so much respect for him. All the wrestlers here, this locker room has so much respect for Christian Cage as one of the great minds, the great wrestlers. So many people here consider him one of their heroes, and it’s great that the younger generation is going to get to wrestle against somebody who is known for being one of the best minds, not a selfish person at all, who’s looking to share their knowledge with all these young wrestlers.”

Speaking further on AEW’s expansion, Khan says Christian will help fill AEW’s growing roster as they branch out to new forms of weekly content.

“We have so many wrestlers in their 20s, and we’re expanding our content this year,” Khan said. “We’re doing more shows with the Dark extension now, and Elevation launching in a week on the 15th, but also launching another hour on TNT. So we’re expanding the roster, and having someone awesome and a great headliner like Christian Cage is amazing, and also against some of our main-eventers, there’s some of them he has great history with, and other main-eventers on this card that he can have great dream matches with that people thought they were never going to see. And I know there’s great interest in him because I know there has been great interest in him in just the past several weeks.”

AEW Dynamite can be seen every Wednesday night at 8/7c on TNT. You can find the full audio from Tony Khan’s AEW Revolution media scrum via the embedded players below: