Tony Khan

Tony Khan Talks About Signing Released WWE Stars, Adam Cole & More

Tony Khan recently appeared as a guest on The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz for an in-depth interview promoting the AEW Full Gear 2021 pay-per-view.

During the appearance, the AEW President spoke about the importance of Adam Cole joining the company, his approach to signing released WWE Superstars and more.

Featured below are some of the highlights from the interview.

On the importance of Adam Cole joining AEW: “Adam Cole, when he was on NXT, I think it was 76 Wednesdays we were head to head, and I’ve worked in sports a long time. I’ve seen a lot of things in sports and a lot of game planning. So my 76 weeks head to head in pro wrestling, I did look at it a little bit like preparing for an opponent, and a two hour show is eight quarter hours. And I’ll tell you, that the entire head to head run, the main guy on the other team was Adam Cole. He was a guy who you would game plan against. It’s like signing the free agent that you used to game plan against and try to contain and you would say, ‘We can’t let this be the guy to beat us.’ It was 75 to one in the demo. The one episode we lost was December 18, 2019.

“I was in Corpus Christi. They did an Adam Cole vs. Finn Balor match. They did a long match with no commercials, and I think they did the first half hour no commercials and that’s the only time, in almost the whole entire run that we lost the demo. And I took it very personally, but I also have held him in such high regard, and every Wednesday, he was the guy you’d worry about. So now to have him on our team and he can be a young guy you build around and also a great veteran, like Bryan Danielson coming in, it’s changed the game. Our women’s wrestling has gotten so much stronger since we started, and that’s come also through free agency.”

On his approach to signing released WWE talent: “Ruby Soho’s a great wrestler from WWE, who got fired, and there’s been a lot of great wrestlers that have gotten fired recently. And this is something that I’ve been able to take advantage of since I started up because they do these mass layoffs. And they fire 20-25 people at a time, and I don’t mean to make light of it because the exact number of counts. Every one matters. I’m not, trying to make anybody a statistic because it’s terrible when anybody loses their job, and that’s why I’ve never done these mass layoffs. Since we’ve started, a couple people here and there I have had to let go, but I’ve never let 20 people go on one day or anything like that. And each time, I look at the list, there’s always a few people in there that can help us, and I feel terrible for say 17 out of the 20 who don’t sign with AEW, but I feel like every time I look at it, there’s three people that can make our team that much stronger, and it keeps happening, so it’s something to keep an eye on for us, and it’s definitely helped grow the company.”

Check out the complete interview at H/T to Wrestling Inc for transcribing the above quotes.


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