Tony Khan seems to have backed off his “tough guy” stance a bit. He seemingly didn’t want WWE Co-CEO taking his words personally.
May 28, 2021, Tony Khan discussed WWE’s reported talks with NJPW in a promo that took the wrestling world by storm. AEW posted it on their social media channels, and the message concluded with Khan saying, “I think there is room for only room for one Khan in the wrestling business. It’s me, Tony Khan, not some con man from Connecticut.”
Speaking with Ariel Helwani, Khan was asked about the promo. He began by explaining the context and his mindset surrounding his decision to cut the promo. Khan noted that he daw the reports about NJPW working with WWE, and he wanted to showcase the relationship AEW was starting to build with the company.
“Now think about that. Let’s add the context to that. When did I do that, and why did I do that? If I may, why did I do that? Well, I read online and every wrestling news site at the same time reported that New Japan was going to start working with WWE. I had active plans with New Japan. I had literally just reunited Roppongi Vice on Dark: Elevation, and then I had plans for Yuji Nagata to come in and challenge for the IWGP US Championship, and Mox, one of my biggest stars, is their US Champion. So there’s some intersections, and we’re starting to, the ice is thawed. We’re working together at this point. I read this online, and I’m gonna ask straight out. I called and I asked [Rocky], I said, ‘Rock, what’s going on? Is it true you guys are talking with them? And if so, do you still want to do all of the stuff? Do you wanna do Nagata/Mox? Is there a future in all this stuff? I’ve got a really good relationship with New Japan, and in particularly [Romero], who I would go to bat for as a human being. He has become the go-between me and Gedo, and we’ve built a really profitable trust between the three of us that say. I have all the respect in the world for Gedo and Rock, and I called him and said what’s up? He said, ‘No, we’re with you. There’s nothing to it. We wanna do this with you, and that’s how we’re gonna do,'” Khan said.
The AEW President continued by describing how he also wanted to get some buzz for that week’s episode of AEW Dynamite while also sending a message about AEW’s working relationship with NJPW.
“I said, well, it’s getting a lot of press, and today’s Wednesday, so I’m thinking I should probably do a promo to get some buzz because also Dynamite had been, that night there was a time shift. It was during the playoffs, so it was on at a different time, so I was looking for something anyway to get a little bit of buzz. So we did that before we went live, and it definitely got people talking because it’s been a year and a half, and you’re talking about it. But it was also true,” he said.
Khan went on to state that he has told Nick Khan about his rationale for the promo since then.
“The promo was saying like hey, every wrestling site basically today reported that WWE is gonna work with New Japan. Yet here I am with the US Champion on the show tonight. I’ve got Yuji Nagata coming to Dynamite. I just reunited Roppongi Vice. We’re the ones working with New Japan, so I think all the wrestling sites need to cool their jets because this isn’t true, and maybe watch Dynamite tonight. It was a promo for my own show, but it was also saying hey, if you read online that New Japan’s not working with AEW, that they’re gonna work with WWE, that’s not true because AEW and New Japan have a very strong relationship. Here’s why. Then I explained it. I had heard Nick called them, and that was why I did it. I’ve also told him this since,” Khan said.
Helwani then asked Khan whether he talked to Nick Khan, and he noted that they have spoken, but not in person.
“Yeah. So I have talked to him, yeah. Not in person. Was it a positive conversation I don’t wanna get into it, if I may. I haven’t met him, but I have talked to him. I did tell him, that’s what it was,” Khan said.
Khan also described how the relationship proved to be a major step for AEW, given the success of the Forbidden Door pay-per-view, so in hindsight, it was important to protect the bond between the two. He then noted that he ran the promo by NJPW to make sure they were on the same page.
“Also, I wouldn’t have done that without talking to New Japan. I was like Rock, why don’t you ask Gedo. Should I do a promo? It’s probably good for all of us, right? I’m not saying anything salacious because I think they told me Nick did call them, and that they weren’t gonna do anything with it,” Khan said.
Khan previously stated that he talked to NJPW about the promo, and the company thought it was great.
Nick Khan was promoted to WWE co-CEO alongside Stephanie McMahon in the aftermath of Vince McMahon’s retirement.
Make sure to catch AEW Dynamite every Wednesday 8/7c on TBS, and Rampage every Friday 10/9c on TNT!
H/T Fightful’s Colin Tessier. Original Article here
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