Tony Khan Talks Intentionally Holding Big CM Punk Matches Back In AEW

Tony Khan recently spoke with PWTorch for a VIP exclusive interview prior to AEW Rampage, where he spoke in-depth about CM Punk's impact on the business. The AEW President made it clear that Punk has made a big impact and he actually revealed that he has been holding him back so far.

"I see the trend; our numbers are so much better than they were going into the last few months and there has been an unquestionable lift since CM Punk came in. For some reason, I see people trying to discredit Punk all the time, that he hasn't been a huge lift to our business, and he has been," Khan claimed. "He is only scratching the surface. I have intentionally in working with him tried to hold back a lot of his biggest marquee matches and stories. Tonight, we are going to get into some of that, Eddie Kingston is here in St. Louis, Eddie is healthy and he is ready to be here.

"I want to see Punk and Eddie Kingston tonight face to face in that ring. I am very excited going forward, maybe at Full Gear to see them lock up. I believe that is a match fans want to see. We've been getting Punk reintegrated building him a winning streak and I think it's worked great," Khan reflected. "When you look at the rating we did for our first Wednesday back, that was a really strong number last week He was such a huge part of it kicking the show off, wrestling through the entire first segment in a great match. He's just lifted our business so much, I see people constantly doing really petty stuff trying to discredit him and it's just ridiculous because he's done so much for us."

Tony Khan then discussed the fact that AEW Dynamite's viewership numbers were slightly down this week in comparison to their return to Wednesday nights. However, he believes that is down to a number of factors. From the fact, he stacked the show last week to Jon Moxley not being available for the latest show.

"Part of that is that the number we did the week before, we put up a really big number in our return to Wednesdays and it was no accident because I really loaded up the card, about as much as I could on a Wednesday, I tried to put like a PPV type card on TV and I do that sometimes and its had pretty good results in general," Khan stated. "I think it worked really well last Wednesday. This Wednesday we had good numbers and still were one of the top shows on television.

"CM Punk's Dynamite debut was a big marquee attraction that I think drew a lot of people in from the first moment of the show the previous week. Jon Moxley was wrestling on the show in the previous week. Obviously, the most important thing this week was that Jon took care of himself and gets the help that he needed and asked for, and we are so happy that he asked for.

"One of the drawbacks for that is that he's not going to be on the TV show and he happens to be one of the biggest draws on the TV show. In the previous week, you had CM Punk wrestling, Adam Cole and The Young Bucks wrestling, you had Moxley wrestling in the tournament, Serena vs. Shida, Sammy defending the title and MJF had an enhancement match. So, a lot going on on that show and I had particularly stacked the lineup for the return to Wednesday. I had plans to stack the lineup again this week, but there were some things that happened, obviously the most prominent thing that happened was Jon checking himself in for alcohol treatment and that really changed the card because the headline match was not there anymore.

"Miro coming in was a great replacement and we are really lucky to have this kind of depth where we have one of the strongest monster heels in the business that can step in and kickass in that spot. But I know a lot of fans are going to miss Mox on TV and I was prepared for that and again, I think the attraction of Punk debuting on Dynamite was a big deal and I knew it was going to be a big deal and we saw I think it helped the number a lot in the previous week. It's good for me to see what works."

Tony Khan then broke down the increase in viewership that All Out received this year in terms of PPV buys. He spoke about how CM Punk had an impact on that and reflected on the ways he has helped grow AEW, from merchandise sales to international interest.

"Do you remember Double Or Nothing was about as good of a PPV at that time that we could do. It was the first PPV in over a year that had a full outdoor stadium and thousands of fans going nuts and it was pretty surreal to watch Double Or Nothing this year and it was a great show. It did great numbers, that and Revolution, our first two shows of the year were way up from the year before but they weren't the kind of numbers that we did for All Out," Khan said. "All Out was the first time we have ever done over 200,000 and there was clearly a ton of interest in Punk's return to the ring.

"I think between the huge number we did for all out and the massive number we did for the First Dance Rampage and the insane merchandise sales we have done since we've come in, the big lift in our subscription video services. We have seen a huge rise in subscribers to our international streaming since he came in and I just see tons of business opportunities. I was on with TNT yesterday and they are so excited about the direction we are going and the future of the business and there's so many possibilities they see for the AEW franchise he is one of the big stars they want to build around."

While Tony Khan is obviously impressed by the impact that the former WWE Superstar has provided, he is not the only one. That's because TNT's executives have personally called Punk to speak with him.

"The TNT executives also had a great call with Punk and they talked to him and wanted him to know he is a valued member of the TNT/Warner Media family, the TBS family and that's really cool, I am glad to see our network getting behind the stars," Khan revealed.

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