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AEW Notes: Tony Khan Asked About CM Punk Situation, Full Gear PPV, FTR’s Status & more

— Ahead of this week’s AEW Full Gear PPV, Tony Khan participated in a conference call where he fielded questions from the media. Here’s a recap written by Jason Powell of www.prowrestling.net:

-Tony Khan said Full Gear should be a great show. He declined to say more in his opening remarks so that he could save room for more questions.

-The first caller brought up the return of The Elite and asked about the investigation and how they ended up being cleared. Khan said he couldn’t comment on the investigation at this time. He instead spoke about how The Elite initially won the AEW Trios Titles and how Death Triangle ended up winning the belts once they were vacated. Khan said he believes these are the two greatest trios teams in AEW, and he spoke about the individual feud history between Kenny Omega and Pac, as well as the history between The Young Bucks and The Lucha Bros.

-The next caller asked if there was any hesitation of doing a pay-per-view in the New York area where WWE has been a mainstay. The caller also asked about the show being on a Saturday rather than a Sunday. Khan noted that past Full Gear events have always been Saturday night shows, and also spoke about not wanting to run against the NFL. He said it works out well that the Jacksonville Jaguars (owned by his family) has their bye week. Khan also spoke about the success of the Grand Slam event and the cost savings of running shows in the region. Khan said they are likely to have another $1 million live gate at Full Gear, making it the fourth pay-per-view in a row to reach that milestone.

-Khan was asked whether there would be fewer tournaments next year. Khan said they work well creatively and they have had to add some due to injuries (to champions). Khan said Ricky Starks was legitimately not medically cleared last week, so that’s why his match with Lance Archer was postponed. He said the winner of that match on Rampage will move on to face Brian Cage in the semifinals, and then the winner will face Ethan Page in the finals at Full Gear.

-Khan announced that the Full Gear semifinal match will be held on the Zero Hour pre-show, and then the finals of the tournament will be held on Dynamite in Chicago rather than at the pay-per-view.

-Khan was asked about Thunder Rosa saying she expects to be sidelined until 2023 and whether he has considered removing the interim label from Toni Storm’s championship. Khan said he wants to give Rosa a chance, but there would be a point and said he is weighing the pros and cons.

-The Saraya vs. Britt Baker match was brought up by a caller. Khan spoke highly of both women. He said Baker is willing “to go to war for AEW or for herself, quite frankly” or for friends such as Jamie Hayter.

-Khan was asked about AR Fox being offered a contract and whether he could be a coach or a producer given his level of experience. Khan said it’s something they could talk about and said he’s enjoyed working with Fox thus far.

-Khan confirmed that he intends to do another Owen Hart tournament in 2023. Khan said Oje Hart recently attended the Jaguars and Broncos game at Wembley Stadium. Khan said he looks forward to collaborating with Martha Hart again and called her a tremendous person. Khan said he appreciates Chris Jericho helping with that connection, and noted that Jericho and Cody Rhodes were on some of their Zoom calls.

-Khan was asked if we’ve seen the last of CM Punk in AEW. Khan said he could not comment, but added that he had nothing but positive things to say about the things that Punk did on camera.

-Khan took a write-in question about finding a balance with video packages, promos, The Acclaimed’s video, etc. Khan said he is inspired by early WCW Nitro. He said he tries to keep things centered on the ring. He spoke about the need for informative video packages to drive the pay-per-view on the go-home show. Khan also noted that the main card at Full Gear will have ten matches and will end at a reasonable time. He spoke about going long with a past pay-per-view that was up against the NBA Finals.

-Khan was asked about the feud between Jade Cargill and Nyla Rose. Khan credited Tony Schiavone for the idea of Rose stealing Cargill’s title belt.

-Khan was asked about FTR not having a match on the Full Gear card or on the Grand Slam event. Khan said he would love to showcase FTR as much as possible. He said he has so many great wrestlers that it makes him want to look at creating more content. He spoke about FTR being in the No. 1 contenders match. Khan said the signings of Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland were among their best free agent signings. He put Toni Storm in the same category, then said FTR were also great signings when they came in. Khan said it’s a great tag team picture and FTR are a part of it. He also touted them for ROH and spoke about their work in other promotions. Khan said he thinks they have more than three hours worth of talent and believes the demand is there for more content.

-Khan was asked if he’s still responsible for all of the booking. Khan said he makes all the final decisions and puts the formats together, but he listens to people backstage. Khan pointed to the idea that Tony Schiavone came up with for Nyla Rose stealing the title belt. Khan said he also gets a lot of ideas from the wrestlers and has to put everything together. Khan also spoke about AEW being successful on cable television at a time when cable television is down overall. He also touted the company’s success on pay-per-view. Khan said it’s been a great year in many ways while others are finding it very challenging. Khan also mentioned some of Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s recent comments.

-Khan said “Hangman” Adam Page is doing “really well” and he can’t wait for him to return to the ring.

-Khan was asked about his plans for the women’s division. Khan said they have some of the most compelling matches they’ve ever offered at Full Gear. Khan praised Anna Jay. He noted that Penelope Ford and The Bunny have been sidelined due to injury/illness. Khan said he’s excited about the signing of Willow Nightingale. He also mentioned Hikaru Shida and Riho.

-Khan was asked how important the movie theater platform is for them. Khan said the theater business is getting stronger and it’s great for AEW. Khan noted that the theaters are more crowded this time around due to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. He said they may not be in some places they normally are because the movie is running on so many screens. He said they want to continue to move forward with the movie business.

-Khan was asked about Winter Is Coming in Garland, Texas. He said ticket sales have been great, then spoke about the ROH Final Battle event. Khan said he wants to keep the Winter Is Coming theme going. He also said it would be great to hold AEW or ROH pay-per-views in Texas, but he said he might look for a bigger venue than the Curtis Culwell Center for an AEW pay-per-view.

-Khan was asked about the ROH titles bogging down the AEW television show and whether he would reevaluate things if there’s not a television deal. Khan said they would evaluate things coming out of Final Battle and then touted the four-way title match at AEW Full Gear. He touted the success of ROH pay-per-views under his watch and said there’s a business case for it that does not cannibalize AEW pay-per-views or live events. Khan also praised the FTR vs. Briscoes best of three falls match. Khan said he couldn’t do the match in AEW (presumably due to television executives rejecting the Briscoes) and added, “Believe me, I tried.” Khan noted that Mercedes Martinez was medically cleared on Wednesday.

-Khan was asked what the plan would have been for Saraya had she not received medical clearance. Khan said he expected she would be cleared, but Saraya had a lot of ideas about how she could be used had that not been the case.

-The final question focused on the the All Out media scrum, whether Khan knew what CM Punk was going to say, and why he didn’t try to stop him at any point. Khan said he did not know what Punk was going to say. He also talked about the Keith Lee, Swerve Strickland, and Toni Storm coming up after Punk. Khan said he was thinking about those three, and said that’s all he had to say about it. They wrapped up the call.

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