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AEW PRESIDENT TONY KHAN DISCUSSES WORKING WITH MARTHA HART ON THE OWEN TOURNAMENT, PUNK & MJF IN LONG ISLAND, THE TBS TITLE TOURNAMENT, THE WOMEN'S DIVISION AND MORE

By Mike Johnson on 2021-12-29 09:04:00

The Owen Tournament and working with Martha Hart:

"I really have so much respect to Dr. Martha Hart. She is a very principled woman, and she cares so much about making sure that the legacy of Owen Hart is treated with integrity...and integrity is something that is essential to AEW. I believe in personal integrity, and I try to maintain it in personal relationships and I think we've built a really strong relationship with Martha based on that, and based on her, just amazing, amazing... Martha's just such an intelligent woman, and she is not a big wrestling fan, but she's an academic and she's been around wrestling. And I think she's been, from my conversations with her, surprised at some of the changes in wrestling, surprised at some of the changes with the wrestlers. For example, the Owen Hart Foundation had an event in late November in Canada, and a few of our Canadian representatives, Bruno and Stu from the Dark Order went to the event.  I talked to Martha afterwards and she was blown away by their conduct and how friendly and respectful they both were, and how well behaved they were. And Martha joked to me, she said, "This isn't the wrestling business I remember. These guys are great."   I told her they're emblematic of AEW, that there's so many really nice people here. People aren't trying to be bullies or be mean, or go crazy, get drunk and act like idiots. It's just not what AEW's about. People here do like to have a good time, but really the most important thing is being respectful to each other, being responsible to the fans, and in this case, being respectful to our extended family and our partners and that's Dr. Martha Hart.  So, she was really pleased with how they conducted themselves and then therefore I'm really pleased how they conducted themselves. 

The Owen Tournament:

"[Martha Hart]'s just such a classy woman and talking to her about how the legacy of Owen would be treated, I told her that we would make it a top priority, and I wanted to work with her in conjunction to make sure that we could do something that would have great impact on the fans, but also where she could participate. And she is a teacher in Canada and for her teaching schedule, we look at AEW events, and of course, Double or Nothing, as we were just talking about, is one of the most important shows we had in AEW, it's where we started the company, it's where AEW began in may of 2019. 

I think it's very fitting that really on the three year anniversary of our first AEW show Double or Nothing 2022, [we] will be crowning the Owen Hart winners.   By now everyone knows, I discussed this with Martha, I thought that it would be really cool to treat the Owen like other prestigious cups in sports.  For example, in Wimbledon, there is a men's winner and a women's winner. The US Open, where we did Grand Slam, is fantastic example.  At Arthur Ashe Stadium, they crown a men's champion and a women's champion and Martha thought this was excellent and she was totally in favor of it. So the Owen, we will crown a men's tournament winner and a women's tournament winner, and there's no better place for that than Double or Nothing 2022."

Why the Tournament will conclude at Double or Nothing:

"I had considered Revolution, also a huge, huge event on the calendar, it's as big in many ways, we have these four quarterly shows, they're all huge. And Revolution is also matches, but Orlando not as close to where Martha lives as Las Vegas. Also, March is not as conducive to her personal calendar for the teaching schedule as May is. So we thought it made a lot of sense to go with Double or Nothing for the finals."

The upside down reaction of MJF and CM Punk in Long Island, NY:

"Well, the based on the way it played out, I gather that you probably know that it wasn't unexpected. That reaction was not unexpected, we definitely leaned into it. So CM Punk came and elicited that reaction in Long Island, and that bizarro response where the Long Island fans made him the yield and MJF the won, but probably the only place in the world where this would be true, MJF was the babyface here and we didn't try to fight it, we really leaned into it.   You saw the MJF introduction video ahead of the Dynamite battle and CM Punk's promo. Absolutely we were aware of that dynamic and tried to encourage it."

Khan discusses the TBS tournament and more on Page 4!


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