AEW President Tony Khan joined Busted Open Radio today as part of AEW’s Takeover of the show. He wasted no time responding to Eric Bischoff’s recent comments on Khan speaking out following AEW Rampage’s head-to-head victory in the 18-49 demo over WWE Smackdown last Friday.
“I really like Eric and I was kind of surprised by Eric’s comments, because they were coming from Eric Bischoff,” Khan said. “I think Eric Bischoff is probably the last person anyone would expect to say that a President of a wrestling company should be quiet. But when it comes to head-to-head competition, we were in one this past week. It was only 30 minutes and I didn’t ask for it. We were in our time slot, and somebody came into our time slot aggressively. And it wasn’t the first time they’ve made a pretty aggressive move like that. We generally responded pretty well and are very successful. This is the first time on a Friday we’ve gone head to head like that.
“I thought it was pretty aggressive what they came in with, they loaded it up with the biggest stars they had. And I had to make a choice; do I change up the card we have? You have CM Punk, who’s one of the biggest names in all of wrestling, and he’s wrestling Matt Sydal, who’s a great high flyer and great technical wrestler and very respected, but not the biggest box office name in all of wrestling. That’s a great match for the fans. I had to think ‘do I change that to a crazy box office match to try and go head to head?’ And no I didn’t. I stuck with the matches we had because I believe in our wrestlers. Even if it wasn’t the dream or stacked matches. I was amused by Eric’s comments. I like Eric when we’re together, but this is the ultimate example, I think, of glass houses in some ways, knowing how Eric conducted himself as the President of WCW.”
Khan wasn’t done, comparing how Bischoff ran off young stars while in charge of WCW to Khan’s continued attempts to push and keep his young stars in AEW happy. He ultimately concluded Bischoff’s comments, especially when compared to his own antics during the Monday Night War, were laughable.
“For Eric Bischoff, of all people, the guy who got lowered down on a motorcycle from the ceiling, the guy who challenged Vince McMahon to fight him, to say that somebody should be quiet is laughable,” Khan said. “Eric is doing an act and I respect it. But let’s be serious; Eric used to be a wrestling company executive, and now he is a commentator. And as a commentator, he’s trying to stir up controversy. But I think it would be pretty naïve of anybody and not examine that the person talking is Eric Bischoff, who is the most outspoken wrestling executive of all time, and somebody who got a lot of heat. But also somebody that, look, the things that I’m trying to do in terms of balancing the great stars we have like a CM Punk, Chris Jericho, Bryan Danielson and people who have come in with years of experience. They’ve got lots of time on television as a big TV wrestling star. Then we have the people who have emerged here and become big TV wrestling stars in AEW, like Kenny Omega, Hangman Page and the Young Bucks. And to also have a whole crew of people that are the young stars, a lot of them are becoming young, established stars on TV too. Whether it’s MJF, Britt Baker, Sammy Guevara, Jungle Boy and so many others, Darby Allin in particular.
“These are the stars that I’m committed to keeping in AEW, not losing and building around. When Eric says ‘focus on the wrestling‘, I am focused on the wrestling, and pushing these people and not running out of the company. Chris Jericho couldn’t get out of WCW fast enough. Eddie Guerrero was put in his place and the wrestlers and were told by their boss ‘there’s only three guys in the company.’ When Eric said that Hogan, Savage and Piper were the only three guys that ever drew money, of course a slap in the face to a few other people in the room, but also what does that say to the morale of the young wrestlers who are busting their ass every week? It just doesn’t make sense. So I am happy and grateful to not go off like that every week. Really only when there’s a call for it, when there’s competition for us on our door step and we have to respond. I’m just really grateful for the fans, for their support and I think there’s nothing to talk about now, because I think we did what we had to do last weekend. And now we can enjoy it and also look forward to a great card this weekend.”
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