AEW’s Tony Khan says he’s not looking to compete with WWE. He insists he’s just minding his own business. But Khan also says AEW will “come out swinging” when it’s forced into a competitive situation.
AEW was at the new UBS Arena in Long Island, New York tonight. Their visit comes just over a week after WWE brought RAW to the same venue.
“I just came to run a show in Long Island and like – it’s like, hey, you know, they’re jumping to the front of the line,” Khan told News 12. “Run a show ahead of me. Try to beat me to market. Well, how did it work out?”
Tony Khan expects the attendance for tonight’s show to outdraw WWE at the UBS Arena by a wide margin. He says the outcome is similar to past times when WWE brought competition to AEW’s doorstep.
“You tried to compete, [running SmackDown in a] 30-minute window head-to-head on [FS1] against TNT and I didn’t make that choice for them to extend the broadcast by 30 minutes,” Khan recalled. “Like, I was very surprised to see it. My comments were genuine when I saw it. I’ve been like expecting something like that and luckily we had CM Punk and Ruby Soho and some great stars lined up to wrestle that week or I might’ve had to change the card. And granted, Matt Sydal, CM Punk’s opponent, for example – not the biggest star in wrestling. The Bunny is a great wrestler and competed in the TBS Championship Tournament. People really mocked them. People said terrible things about Matt Sydal and The Bunny and about CM Punk and Ruby Soho.
“And we stood up for ourselves and had a great show,” Khan continued. “And we won the rating by a good amount – the demo – and uh, then I saw ratings getting leaked over the weekend. It wasn’t from us. I wasn’t the one leaking them. And then when the important numbers the network actually looks [at] came out on Monday, we were victorious. And somebody tried to get out in front of us for days by leaking stuff. That wasn’t me [or] AEW.”
Tony Khan was also asked about the possibility of himself becoming a regular on-screen character on AEW television. Khan said that would run counter to his philosophy for AEW.
“I take a lot of pride that when you watch the show it’s about wrestling and when we do promos, they’re about the wrestling,” Khan explained. “So, I don’t want to make the show about myself. And really, you do hear my name in terms of the matchmaking, because I make the decisions. I book the matches and book the cards. So, you know, in that sense you will hear my name being involved. But you don’t need to see me or hear from me a lot on the TV show because that’s trying to get as much great wrestling in the TV show as we possibly can, which is one of the reasons why we’re building such a great audience with AEW and why we’re gaining so much market share, because we have great wrestling.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit News 12 with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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