AEW President Tony Khan sat down with Steve Muelhausen of DAZN to talk about AEW’s upcoming house show, The House Always Wins, scheduled for this Friday, April 9th. Khan believes this is the perfect time to run the promotion’s first ever non-televised live event.
“It’s great for us that we have a really good Dynamite card this week and a great crowd coming,” Khan said. “And we have a big crowd for Dynamite that we expected this week. We’ve got a great crew in town in Jacksonville, we have the ring, the stage, and Daily’s Place all set up for a wrestling show. Friday night is a great night for the fans, and it felt like it would be a good opportunity to experiment with putting on a great card for the live fans and doing something for the people in Jacksonville. I must stress how important the fans in Jacksonville have been. They’ve helped AEW, they’ve helped the wrestlers and the matches, they’ve helped our shows. But they’ve also helped fans around the world enjoy the show.
“There have been a lot of moments in AEW where the live crowd in the past year made a huge difference. I think probably the most important was the Brodie Lee Memorial show. I think when Darby (Allin) won the TNT title and the Young Bucks winning the tag team titles for the first time at Full Gear. The live crowd, those moments were a huge part of it.
“The pops were real and great when Sting debuted at Winter is Coming. A huge pop there. The reaction was a different reaction when Kenny Omega won the title from Mox (Jon Moxley). They’re just a lot of moments where the fans and their reactions have been a very important part of it, and it wouldn’t have been the same without them.”
With this being WrestleMania weekend Khan was asked if this event was done to try and feed off WWE’s big event, which will be held three hours away in Tampa. Previously AEW personal like Cody had suggested AEW wouldn’t try to compete with WWE during Mania weekend. Khan doesn’t see it that way.
“I’m running a show because my competition is running?” Khan asked rhetorically. “I’m running a show in my own building at home that I don’t have to change out a single set piece for. I’ve already got the ring set up there, and the wrestlers are already in town. I already paid for their travel into Jacksonville, so I’ve got a crew of wrestlers in Jacksonville, Florida, in my own building, in my own ring. (Laughs) It’s like, I traveled and put the show on somebody else’s lawn. I’m just doing a show in my own building. If anybody’s around Jacksonville or in the area would like to come, I think they’re more than welcome. But it’s a show in Jacksonville. It’s not a show anywhere else in Florida.
“The idea that I’m doing a show with people three hours away to try and get people to come from three hours away is something. I am encouraging people to come from wherever and if people want to make that drive, I think it’s awesome. But you can’t schedule a show based around planning to get people driving for three hours. Most of the people are going to come to the show are going to be from Jacksonville. I know people are coming from all over, which is great. That’s the case when we do pay-per-views and a lot of our big shows. We’ve had people come to Jacksonville from all over. I definitely encourage it.
“But it’s not like I scheduled this show in my own building, in my own ring, without having to move a single set piece or having to do any travel when all the wrestlers are already in Jacksonville. It is probably a big-time stretch to say that I’m trying to do it to get people to drive in from three hours away. I know some people are doing that, it’s great, and I’m very, very appreciative of everybody taking the drive. But I’m also trying to do things to take care of the people locally in Jacksonville, and it seemed like a good weekend to run a show. We primarily draw in Jacksonville, but we can also get some people from all over.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Steve Muelhausen of DAZN and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription