On today’s episode of AEW Unrestricted, AEW President Tony Khan came on to preview All Out. All Out will be held in the NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates, IL, and Khan noted the significance of that.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a pay-per-view on the road,” Khan stated. “This is an incredible way to go back on the road with the biggest card we’ve ever put on pay-per-view, and then to go back on the road, I think it’s fun because we’ve been doing these shows in Jacksonville, the pay-per-views, and us literally doing these pre-shows together in Jacksonville for a long time. And now to be back on the road, to be out here around Chicago and have the return of CM Punk, here in the Chicago area is amazing, and it’s just been a whirlwind because the company’s never been hotter.
“It’s the best time in the history of AEW. Our TV’s on fire. We’ve had the number one show on cable on Wednesday with Dynamite, number one show on cable on Friday with Rampage. And that’s a real milestone for us to hit. The company’s just been tracking so well. Dynamite has been on fire. The month of August, the launch of Rampage and the debut of CM Punk, his first appearance here and then his first interview with you, Tony, it’s been a whirlwind. It’s so exciting, and I can’t imagine a better place to do it than here at All Out.”
CM Punk made his much anticipated debut at Rampage: The First Dance. Khan reflected on the debut and success it brought to AEW.
“It’s really a unique experience to be back here after we’ve just done The First Dance, which was the biggest crowd we’ve ever done for AEW to go to the United Center for, what I think people expected, was CM Punk’s debut, and we wanted the fans to be about 99% sure it was gonna be CM Punk debut, but I think to really deliver it, that 1% doubt in their minds is what made this surprise so special,” Khan explained. “As he was coming in, he really wanted to be there debuting at the United Center, and it was really an honor to work with him, to put The First Dance together.
“I think it’s one of the most successful things we’ve ever done in AEW and to this date it’s the biggest audience we’ve ever had, especially when you account for the DVRs, and the business effects and the the positive after effects just keep happening. And we’re growing. Every metric is pointing up, and it’s a great time for AEW, but really, it’s been trending up for a long time, and the company stayed hot. It’s pretty amazing to stay hot through a pandemic.”
Khan continued as he spoke on Darby Allin’s rise in AEW.
“Darby Allin was a huge part of it, came in and had a few really important matches, and he was chasing the TNT Title. And even though he didn’t win it there in that tournament, he went on and had a great 2020 and ended on a really high note for him at Full Gear last year on pay-per-view, winning the TNT title,” Khan recalled. “And then he went on to become one of the biggest draws, one of the biggest stars and really built himself a huge fan base where he was really one of the true big stars in the business.
“After Darby won the title, he made nine successful defenses, which is the most of any of the TNT Champions. He had some great matches, and he drew huge ratings for us. And he brought a lot of new fans and young fans. It’s why we have the youngest fans in wrestling, and honestly, the youngest fans in sports. Last week, out of hundreds of sports programs, number one and number two, lowest median age, the youngest fan base in all sports, Dynamite and Rampage.
“We have a great young fan base, and we appreciate it. We’ve got fans of all ages, but it’s really exciting to bring new people into wrestling, and Darby is a huge part of that. Nobody can deny it. He’s become a huge star. and you see it everywhere we go, the kids with their faces painted, half painted up for Darby. So he’s built himself up.”
Punk and Allin are set to clash at All Out. Khan spoke on how big the match will be not only in-ring wise but also for the other effects it will have.
“It doesn’t get much bigger than the return of CM Punk as a pay-per-view attraction. For us, we haven’t experienced anything like the interest we’ve had. Every business metric, whether it’s merchandising, the pay-per-view buys, or ticket sales for The First Dance and TV ratings all at an all time high and it’s great because the business was already trending at an all-time high when he came in.
“So we took the hottest product in wrestling and made it even hotter with the arrival of CM Punk at The First Dance, and now to come back to the Chicago area, to have CM Punk and Darby Allin one-on-one, I think it’s the most exciting thing we’ve ever presented. And it’s going to drive more business for us than anything, and the great part is we’re going to bring new fans in.
“We’ve got a great opportunity to introduce people to what AEW is all about, which is great wrestling, top to bottom, and we have one of the most stacked cards we’ve ever had. Punk and Darby, I think, is going to bring in a lot of attention, and people are going to see our AEW Championships. We have the best title matches on pay-per-view. We have the best champions, and it’s a great chance for people to see that AEW is where, I think, the best champions in wrestling work.”
Khan later discussed AEW’s success with PPVs. He noted how big that is in the wrestling business.
“We’ve built a huge, huge pay-per-view audience. It’s unprecedented,” Khan said. “No other wrestling company, outside of WWE, for the past 20 years has done any pay-per-views like the nine we’ve done so far. All nine of our pay-per-views are far, far, far ahead of what anybody else has achieved in the past 20 years in the pay-per-view universe, besides WWE who were, really, the lone wolf in running big pay-per-views for a long time.
“And since we’ve come along, we’ve built a big audience, but this show is going to do far more traffic than anything we’ve ever done, which speaks volumes because we’ve been so successful. There’s not been a show like this outside of one company in the past over 20 years that’s drawn remotely this kind of interest. So, it’s pretty special.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.