In a new interview with Business Insider, AEW President Tony Khan opened up about the decision to start All Elite Wrestling in January 2019. He admits that the number of free agents available on the market at the time was too good an opportunity to pass up.
“There were so many wrestlers without a contract or their contract was ending by 2019,” Khan said.
The co-owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars notes that his father, Shahid Khan, wasn’t as convinced as Tony that a new pro wrestling company would see much success. But seeing as the money would eventually pass down to him, Shahid gave Tony the opportunity.
“My dad expected it to fail but I convinced him to take a leap,” Khan said. “He gave me the money because he said I’d inherit it anyway, so I might as well ‘blow it now.'”
Tony believes AEW’s original intention of being an alternative to other televised pro wrestling has evolved into something greater. But he also encourages fans to watch whatever keeps their attention, as there are many options to view.
“One of the reasons AEW is really popular is that it’s a great blend of stars who have gotten experience from wrestling in other places and stars who have grown organically,” Khan said. “It has to be a good blend of young stars and established stars. When we started, we were a challenger brand and an alternative. Now we’re just a large wrestling company. But fans don’t have to make a choice.”