Tony Khan recently spoke with PWTorch about the recent wave of releases that WWE made. The company cut 17 different wrestlers including Keith Lee and Nia Jax, and the AEW President admitted that he does see a few people in this wave that he is interested in potentially signing.

“I do see a few in this wave. I don’t want to say who, or when I would be interested in them, but I think there’s a few very interested people they’ve just let go,” Khan admitted. “The same goes in the last wave, and the wave before that, and the wave before that. So, each time they let, let’s say 20 people go, I think there’s a few interesting ones for AEW and this was no exception to that.”

Khan also gave his thoughts, more generally, on the recent cuts that WWE made. He admitted that the situation is terrible and he feels bad any time he sees mass layoffs taking place, but he noted that it has tended to make AEW a little stronger each time.

“Every time they cut like 20 people, let’s just say, it’s terrible. Every time somebody loses a job it’s affecting them, it’s affecting people around them. Some of these people, for all I know, might have wanted to leave, but I think in general these people probably did not so it’s terrible when anybody loses their work, I feel for them,” Khan said. “Each and everyone counts. I’m going to take a ballpark number and I’m not trying to make light of anything because everyone counts, and I know this is probably not the exact amount of people, but every time they let, let’s say as a ballpark, they let 20 people go, there’s been one, two, three people in there that I am interested in and snatch up. They keep doing these mass layoffs where they let 20 people go, or more or less and each time I find a few people and the company gets a little stronger and stronger, in my opinion.”

The AEW President then looked at things from a business perspective, giving a different vantage point on the releases. He admitted there is always a middle ground with situations like this, but he stressed that he was never going to do mass layoffs during the pandemic.

“I think there’s a middle ground. There’s a middle ground in everything. I say a lot there’s a middle ground, just like there’s a middle ground between leaving a mile of daylight on a punch and breaking someone’s jaw, there’s got to be a middle ground, right? There’s definitely a middle ground on this and I think it’s something in-between what you said,” he said. “Yes, I feel terrible for anybody who loses a job. I feel terrible for anybody who had a dream and lost that dream, and if that’s how any of these people feel then I feel terrible for them.

“I think it’s a terrible circumstance for any of the people who have gotten fired in the last year and a half and that’s a lot of people. The flip side of it is, you’re right, it is a business. I had tried to take a different approach, almost the opposite approach, especially during the pandemic where I knew there were not a lot of jobs in wrestling,” Khan stated. “Even though I didn’t have all the ticket and live event money coming in, it felt like if I let anybody go, they weren’t going to be able to get work and their life would be in a lot of trouble. So, I have not ever done a mass layoff, and I was especially not going to lay people off during the pandemic when there was no work in wrestling.”

Finally, Tony Khan discussed whether he will have to make any cuts in the future with the AEW roster. While he openly admitted there will come a time when he has to release people, he made it clear that he doesn’t want to do the mass layoffs as frequently as WWE.

“Now we’re back and there are independent wrestling shows and there’s international shows, so there is work in wrestling again and I can’t say I’ll be able to keep everybody forever. But I have done my best to try to keep as many people working for as long as I’ve been able to. Now with the fans coming back and going on tour and we are doing more shows and with the launch of AEW Rampage, we are using more wrestlers every week,” Khan pointed out. “But you are absolutely right, I won’t be able to keep everybody forever and there will be a time for cutbacks, but I am also not sure I need to do the huge volume of cuts with the great frequency that the competition does.”

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit PWTorch, with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription. 

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