AEW President Tony Khan returned to Busted Open Radio Wednesday morning for his weekly segment with Dave LaGreca and Tommy Dreamer. Khan talked about tonight’s Blood & Guts match between The Inner Circle and the Pinnacle and how important having their largest crowd to date, post pandemic, is for the match.
“This is a match (Blood & Guts) near and dear to a lot of our hearts,” Khan said. “And we wanted to do this for the fans last year, but at the beginning of the pandemic, when we didn’t have fans around, there was no way to do this. Tonight we’ve got our biggest crowd since we closed down for the pandemic, and I’m really, really excited about it.
“There’s going to be over 1500 people here tonight. It’s going to be really, really great. We’ve opened it up closer to 40% capacity, and now I’m planning, as we get closer to Double or Nothing, to start loosening it up, and I expect to be at full capacity, outdoors, for Double or Nothing, based on what a lot of other sports have done. I think it’s going to be great.”
So what is Khan looking forward to the most as AEW prepares to get back on the road again? It’s a combination of getting back to normal and giving the AEW talent signed during the pandemic a chance to finally show what they can do in front of a large audience.
“Really I’m just excited to get back to a sense of normalcy,” Khan said. “AEW’s had a great run during the pandemic, it’s crazy how much has happened. A lot of our biggest stars have never wrestled in front of a full crowd at 100% capacity. It’s insane when you think about how many big people in AEW that applies to. Brodie Lee, his entire career in AEW was in Daily’s Place, effectively. Which I appreciate. The fans saw some of the great matches and some of the great matches in his career. Then at the end of his life, the fans came together and celebrated his life with us.
“I’ll always really appreciate the Jacksonville fans here, and that’s why I’m glad we’re able to do Blood & Guts here. Because these great fans, here in Jacksonville, have really been the home town team for our fans over the world watching AEW. I like the virtual fans, I think the virtual fans are awesome. But there’s no substitute for the real fans and the excitement of live fans. And we’ve been able to provide that through the pandemic, safely, this entire time. So I’m really excited about that to. It’s going to be a great crowd tonight.”
Khan made it clear that he’s grateful for the support AEW has received in Jacksonville during their Daily’s Place stay. He’s determined to make their last shows there count, while also getting ready to return to cities AEW ran in prior to COVID-19.
“We’ve got great fans here (in Jacksonville), we’ve got great fans all over the world,” Khan said. “And that’s why I’m glad we’ve been able to offer great shows here as we kind of close out this run before we start touring again. And when we do start touring again it’s not like we’re going to forget about Jacksonville. But we’re also going to hit New York, and go back to Boston and Philly and Chicago and Dallas and Miami and all these other great places we’ve been. I can’t wait to go back to all of those places.
“It’s going to be sooner than you think, we’ll be on the road. But I think we’re going to still have a great run in Jacksonville before we go. And I can promise Double or Nothing will be a great show and I can promise tonight, on Dynamite, will be one of the most special things we’ve done on this run.”
Later Dreamer brought up what he felt was an amazing job by AEW’s art department in creating the posters for tonight’s Blood & Guts show. Khan concurred and revealed the development took place in Nashville, close to Impact Wrestling’s current location.
“People do an amazing job,” Khan said. “We have a great staff, great production staff and great graphics people. They do an awesome job on that stuff. I was up there when they were working on that. We have an office near your office Tommy. So I was visiting you guys in Nashville and also watching while they worked on that stuff. It’s some of the best art work we’ve ever done. And it’s very fitting because tonight on TNT is one of the most exciting shows we’ve ever done.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription