On a recent edition of Busted Open Radio, AEW President Tony Khan shared his thoughts on Jim Cornette following years of outspoken critiques. Khan preferred to focus on recent praise Cornette has given the company, like his take on CM Punk’s debut.
“To be fair to him, these are his opinions,” Khan said (h/t Wrestlingnews.co). “He says what he thinks, and there is stuff on the show that he’s liked before and there’s stuff he hasn’t liked, and I think he’s still like that. He’s not saying he loves everything on the show but he has acknowledged a lot of great stuff that happened.
“What really tickled me and I thought was very cool was his line about CM Punk’s arrival, about his debut appearance in AEW on The First Dance. And I’ll never forget, it his exact quote was, ‘Well, it wasn’t what I would have done. It was a lot better. It was perfect,’ Tony recalled. “I thought that was awesome and it was very fair because I think it was our perfect moment, and it was very cool of him to say. He has been very fair recently with the stuff he said, and I think that’s great.
“I think a lot of us don’t necessarily agree with all of his opinions, and clearly, he doesn’t agree with everything he sees on our show,” Khan added. “But he’s got a lot of fans for a reason, and it’s cool to see he’s really enjoying some of the stuff he sees on the shows. And I don’t think anybody can argue with the success. He’s an intelligent person.”
Tony also explained how much Cornette has influenced him as a wrestling promoter. He recalled how Jim would have discussions for hours with pro wrestling fans to spawn ideas for shows.
“I really admire him and have looked up to him since I was a small kid. I don’t know if I would be doing this without him because, you know, there are no textbooks on how to be a wrestling promoter,” Tony said. “There are no college classes for it. When I was going to school, when I was going to the University of Illinois Laboratory High School and then the University of Illinois for college, those interviews he used to do– he would sit around for 4 hours plus with the smart fans talking, and guys would tape it with a camcorder. The quality was terrible but the audio was what was really important, and he would talk and tell stories about being a wrestling promoter.”
The AEW President even gave credit to Cornette for the idea of “the forbidden door”, comparing it to how Jim would bring in new talent from other promotions to his own.
“You know the forbidden door is something that is an important part of AEW. The ability to bring in stars from the outside or our stars traveling to other promotions, and winning titles, and putting on dream matches. It’s very cool but it’s not a completely new concept, the idea of companies working together. That’s something that I learned listening to him. Vince McMahon, Sr. really was very diplomatic about working with other wrestling companies. Andre The Giant was a great political asset for him, and Andre The Giant traveled and Vince Sr. did business with a lot of these other promoters, and had a pretty decent relationship for a very long time. And there is no reason that can’t be done again. And there is just a lot about wrestling history that [Cornette] knows and he’s put into the world.”