AEW star Shawn Spears stopped by Busted Open Radio to talk about the current state of AEW and the wrestling business as a whole. With AEW now working with promotions like Impact, AAA, New Japan and the NWA, Spears feels that this a monumental period in pro wrestling and fans should enjoy it while it lasts.
“I think I put out a tweet a few days ago, and I think it was right around the time (Impact) Slammiversary had their big show and we had all these surprise appearances,” Spears said. “I think I put out a tweet saying something along the lines of that this is a very special moment in time for professional wrestling. Just because there’s so many unique things happening that, five, ten years ago, were taboo. They were never supposed to happen and it was bad if they did. All these companies working together and exchanging talent and doing what’s best for the fans, for the audience. The possibility now for dream matches, they can happen now. Your favorite wrestlers from opposite promotions, depending on the promotions, can work together and you can possibly see that match. So I said something a few days ago where I was like ‘this is a monumental time but enjoy it while it lasts because, sadly, all good things come to an end, at some point or another.’ So for me, that’s the perspective I’m taking moving forward.”
Fans can also now enjoy shows in the arenas again, with AEW having gone back on tour with stops in Miami, Florida, Cedar Park, Texas and Garland, Texas so far. Spears admitted that he didn’t always grasp how important the fans were to the show and it’s something he’ll never overlook again.
“I’ll be the first to admit I took it for granted a little bit,” Spears said. “When there was a big house, I was like ‘okay.’ Or it’s only half full? ‘Alright.’ Now I’ll take a half full arena. Luckily we’re selling out everywhere and we’re packing arenas that AEW is performing in. So I have a brand new approach to our audience, I have a new found respect for our audience. Because I might’ve forgot how much they add to our product, how much a part of the show that they truly are. And I hope they realize that as well. I believe it comes across very apparently on television, because when I’m in the ring live and I’m standing across from Chris Jericho and everybody’s just finished Judas and now they’re chanting something else, it is wild man. And I almost forgot what that felt like, because it’s been so long. So having them back is just, you know, I think they’re ready. They’re ready to be entertained, they’re ready for the world to open up and we’ve been waiting for over a year to give them exactly what they wanted.”
Spears was defeated by Chris Jericho on this past week’s Dynamite, which was immediately followed by the debut of Nick Gage. That, along with rumors of Bryan Danielson and CM Punk signing with AEW have made for an exciting time for AEW fans, and while Spears indicated he knew of some things AEW had planned, ultimately he wants to be surprised like the rest of us.
“It’s a wonderful time for wrestling in general,” Spears said. “And yes of course AEW, and we’re only doing more wonderful things. And there’s a lot of things in the pipeline that I kind of have an idea about, but I don’t know and sometimes I don’t want to know. I just kind of want to enjoy it, because at the heart of all this I’m still a wrestling fan. That’s why I got into all of this because I’m was such a big wrestling fan. And I still am to this day. I love this stuff. So I still like to be surprised because you’ve seen everything already for the most part. So when you’re surprised you’re like ‘oh! This is incredible!’ I still love that part about this industry.
“So Tony Khan, who is a regular on your show, that guy I don’t have to tell you about his level of genius. That guy can think ten miles ahead, and he’s got so many ideas and so many things in the works that the AEW fanbase is going to be blown away once he pulls the trigger on these things. But he’s very smart and he understands when and why to pull these triggers.”
Finally Spears switched directions to talk about the talent AEW currently has on the roster. He particular praised the younger talent for working hard during the pandemic, and urged them to enjoy the moment now that they’re able to perform in front of fans.
“We have some of the best talent,” Spears said. “I don’t need to sell AEW to you. The numbers are going great. I’m just so glad we’re back in full force. And to a lot of the guys and gals in the locker rooms that have been really tightening their boots and really buckling down and giving all they could when there was no one in the crowd. Now, especially the young talent, now they get to see the fruits of their labor and get that immediate, instant reaction, instant critique and instant gratification from the audience that’s live. There’s no better, immediate critique than when you’re in front of that live audience. So for those young talent, men and women who have busted their ass for AEW for the last year, that haven’t had the luxury of being in front of an audience, enjoy this. Because you worked hard for it.”
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