AEW President Tony Khan recently sat down with Josh Martinez on Z100 New York to talk all things AEW. Dan Lambert and American Top Team have become a top act in AEW, and Khan revealed how Lambert got involved with the company.
“The way it happened is, and I’ve never told the whole story before– about a year and a half, a few months before the pandemic, in the beginning of 2020, I had dinner with [Jorge] Masvidal in Miami and we just talked business,” Khan revealed. “We had a great talk, and then they told me, ‘American Top Team, Dan Lambert, have you heard of him?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, from Impact? He was Bobby Lashley’s manager in Impact. He did a really nice job,’ and they said, ‘He’s a huge fan in real life. And that’s the deal, he’s the biggest wrestling fan.’ I was like, ‘Oh, really? He’s pretty good, with a good personality. I’d love to meet him some time,’ and they’re like, ‘Do you want to meet him right now?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, have him come over and hang out.’ So he came over to where we were having dinner. Fastest friends ever.
“I became really tight with Dan, and he lived in Florida. And then through the pandemic, we have a very small bubble of people, and we would have everybody who came to the shows– at first, before we let the fans in the outdoor seated bubble away from the wrestlers, it was just a very small group of people. So Dan came in and took the COVID test and was with us in the bubble for a while, and at one point, he brought a belt collection to show, just for the historians because he has the world’s greatest wrestling belt collection. Just brought a few cool things– he has Buddy Rogers’ belt and all this cool stuff.
“We have these common interests because Dan loves wrestling and football so much, and he’s a big Miami football guy and also the world’s biggest wrestling fan. He became friends with me, and then UFC was doing their bubble in Jacksonville too. And we were basically set up in peripheral bubbles, and that’s how Dana [White] and I really became good friends because he was setup right across the street from me in his bubble, and we were in Daily’s Place, and they were across the parking lot in the arena. So Dana became good friends with me, and I brought him to meet my dad, and I just love him. Dan and I became friends, and he’s such a good talker, and he cares so much about wrestling, and that’s where I had the idea.
“Scorpio Sky’s got the MMA background. The team I put together, the Men of the Year, originally, I wanted foils for Sting and Darby [Allin], but they had such great chemistry. I really thought that there’s long term potential with Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page. Scorpio Sky, an MMA fighter with a good record and Ethan Page, a double black belt, which a lot of people don’t think of originally when they think of Ethan Page is the guy with two black belts in karate and Taekwondo, so I thought they would be really cool training in American Top Team with Dan to build up as badasses. And then Dan, getting to live his dream as a wrestling manager, is pretty cool, but he’s just great at it. They got more and more heat, and that’s when I talked to Chris [Jericho], and Chris and Dan really could play off each other and there’d be something really special here.”
Lambert and ATT are set to face off against the Inner Circle as Lambert recently set his sights on TNT Champion Sammy Guevara. Khan also talked about the partnership with the Owen Hart Foundation. He revealed how that got put together and the expectations for the Owen Hart Cup.
“During the pandemic, being stuck at home, I spent a lot of time building relationships with people all over the world, and Chris Jericho is a big relationship builder too and he spent a lot of time building relationships,” Khan said. “And he had built this really good relationship with Martha Hart, and they had gotten to know each other and he introduced me to her and said that he thought it would be great if we work together to honor Owen somehow. And I had this idea for an Owen Hart Cup. In movies, they have the Oscars, and in TV, the Emmys and so forth, so I thought it’d be really cool if there was ‘The Owen’ in wrestling and that would be a trophy that everybody could win. So, I’m very excited to talk more about The Owen soon. Without revealing all the details, The Owen will be a very important trophy in wrestling.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Z100 New York with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.