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EXCLUSIVE: HOW AEW WILL BREAK DOWN TV TAPINGS GOING FORWARD, THE ACT 'WWE PUT PRESSURE ON' TONY KHAN TO SIGN

By Mike Johnson on 2021-06-16 20:45:00

Earlier today, I attended an AEW media event at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City to promote their debut their on 9/22.

During the event, I sat down with AEW President Tony Khan to discuss a number of topics, including how the company will handle taping their four series once the promotion begins touring next month.  Khan responded:

No. It's going to be different formats. It's great questions you're asking. I really appreciate it. And I'll give you some scoops. I'll break the news. With Rampage, there's going to be some weeks rampage will be live and there'll be weeks where we plan to tape Rampage after Dynamite, including here at Arthur Ashe stadium, where we will be filming also after. We'll do Dynamite live and we'll also film Rampage. And in some of the markets where we have these amazing crowds, I think it's okay.

We can take advantage of it and give them Dynamite and Rampage.  There's also going to be times where we're going to do a lot of live Rampages. We're going to have a live debut. We're going to do some great live episodes. The Go Home will be live for All Out at the Sears Center, and also we'll be live for the Go Home in St. Louis and it'll be great. We'll also be... so it'll be Rampage. It'll be really, really special for us. I think it will be, sometimes we'll do it after Dynamite. We'll do Dynamite, then we'll do Rampage. Sometimes if Rampage is not live, then that'll be one taping.

Before Dynamite, we used to tape Dark. That's going to change. I'm going to tape Elevation before Dynamite now. So it's going to be a shorter Elevation and I may add matches that I'll explain where I'll add them from.  I'm going to procure a venue for use to tape Dark and other content that'll be great. And I'm really looking forward to this. I think it's going to be tremendous and it will be where we'll shoot Dark and we'll do tapings. And it'll be, as it's been, it's been a developmental situation and it'll continue to be developmental. And it's been great doing it all under one roof, all at one taping. And there's been advantages, but there'll be some advantages now to doing it as its own taping and being able to give 100% attention to these and not having also to think about Dynamite and soon Rampage and Elevation also.

I think Dark has been a great platform and now Elevation for developmental, nobody can deny it. Everybody's, in the world of wrestling, is clearly paying attention to it because a lot of recruitment of people who come in and make appearances on Dark, there's no doubt that those people seem to get a lot of tryouts in the world of wrestling and vice versa, to be honest. There's a lot of people that have made appearances and done things in the world of wrestling, and I try to scout out and I've got a great, great group of people.   It starts from the Young Bucks and Cody and Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley. And so many other people in AEW have come to me with names and suggestions of people that would be great for Dark. And a lot of those people have been great and also for Elevation. And working with different companies, working with New Japan. I've put together deals. Booked Ren Narita, For example, through Kenny. We booked Takeshita through DDT, which was great. And to get Takeshita in, he was tremendous. And then also with women's wrestling, I've made different agreements and we've been able to do different things there.

Thunder Rosa has been great on Dynamite and had one of the best matches we've ever had on Dynamite. She's a huge part of the AEW family. Thunder Rosa of course came through when I opened the forbidden door, so to speak, through my friendship with Billy and that's how she started working with us and it turned into something really special. I saw magic with her and I saw that we could do something really special and I wanted to make her and Britt a really iconic rivalry and if you look really far back, it was a long time coming when they had their Lights Out Match. It was a long told story and it's one of my favorite stories we've ever done. And Thunder Rosa, in addition to being a great wrestler, has brought some great talent in.  So Thunder Rosa's scouted, some wrestlers we brought in for Dark.

There's also a lot of big success stories in AEW. Red Velvet and Will Hobbs and a number of other wrestlers, including a team that I put together, the Acclaimed. The Acclaimed were singles wrestlers. They both went to the same school, Create A Pro, but they'd never teamed. And I saw them both on Dark and they were, frankly, the WWE put a little pressure on me with both of them. I think they were both people the WWE wanted, and I really wanted to use both of them. And then I thought about it and I had this thought about the Acclaimed and I brought them together. And there's a lot of teams that have gotten, I think, the benefit of Dark and Elevation as platforms that are kind of teams that I've kind of put together.  The same, the Acclaimed got the amazing reaction at Double or Nothing. Particularly in the beginning of the Battle Royale when Max rapped.  Anthony is an actor, such a versatile wrestler. Max Caster and Anthony Bowens a tremendous pair and they've gotten to develop and they really became an act and got over on Dark and Elevation with the fans and then got integrated into the regular programming on Dynamite.  I wanted to keep using them and keep featuring them in special ways. And they've really delivered time after time.

So I'm really proud of what the Acclaimed have done and that again, came from Dark and Elevation.  It's a developmental system in many ways for us. And it also gives us a chance for the stars to get some reps in and work with the young talent. But it's not our bread and butter platform, frankly. AEW Dynamite and soon, Rampage will be the "A" shows, so to speak, in many ways. But look, if you love wrestling, what Elevation and Dark bring on Monday and Tuesday is a chance to see some of the best wrestlers in the world for free for everybody in the world, no matter where they are. And I think that's pretty cool and I try to make it fun.  So it will change the presentation, when we start going back on the road, particularly when we start... when Rampage begins. It's going to change. And there'll be weeks where it's different. There'll be more content in the live arena some weeks, maybe when Rampage is live and we'll film more stuff. And there's other weeks where I'm going to rely on the studios. But I have a plan for it and I try to be really organized and meticulous in the booking. As far as going forward and what we're going to do with the live events, I think I've got it pretty well organized, but I'm glad you asked because nobody's really asked much about it. And I think it's going to be great in many ways. There's a lot of pros.

You can listen to the complete conversation right now at www.PWInsiderElite.com, featuring discussion of the company's New York debut, why this was picked as the debut in the market, what they are gunning for in terms of attendance and production, when the original plan to run was, what will be taped that night beyond the live Dynamite, how AEW's TV tapings will change, what he'd like to improve in 2021 and beyond, the big investment the company made into their video game end and why, thoughts on the Forbes piece yesterday, "dragging" his father into different investments including AEW, why fans should come to the NYC debut and tons, tons more!

If you enjoy PWInsider.com you can check out the AD-FREE PWInsider Elite section, which features exclusive audio updates, news, our critically acclaimed podcasts, interviews and more by clicking here!

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