After Ring of Honors The final battle At last night’s (Dec. 15) PPV in Garland, Texas, Tony Khan and some of the wrestlers on the show sat down to talk to the media.
The final segment of the nearly two-and-a-half-hour press scrum was the only AEW & ROH owner at the table, and the first question Khan faced was about reports this week that WWE met with AEW’s current television partner, Warner Bros. Discovery. About the media rights package for Raw.
Kahn did not deny them, but instead framed them as standard operating procedure for networks. He also sounds like AEW is talking to other networks about their next media rights deal, which is expected to begin after Raw’s deal at the end of 2024:
”Ring of Honor, we haven’t talked much lately, but we’ve had good conversations about AEW. Even in recent days, I’ve had good talks with Warner Bros. Discovery. We’ve been with them for years – it’s a very exciting time for AEW…
„We’ve been doing incredibly well for Warner Bros. Discovery, and we’re a very strong relationship. With media rights and all that stuff coming up, everybody has to do their due diligence — it’s just part of the television business.
„Where we stand, we stand where AEW is going to be a huge growth year in 2024. I know Warner Bros. is very excited and we’ve talked… it’s happened. A great year for us… it’s a big year for us through Warner Brothers Discover .They came to us and asked us to expand the three hours of TV a week on TBS and TNT to five hours and it was very, very successful…
„It’s a great relationship and it’s going really well for us. Part of the TV business, for both parties, is doing their due diligence, and that’s really part of sports and television. Being part of the NFL and the Premier League, that process is definitely watching different games with different TV networks, And the games are seen on different TV networks.
Khan spoke of his experience as part of the management team of Fulham FC and the Jacksonville Jaguars, which led him to believe AEW was in „really, really good shape” regarding its next TV deal. He returned to ROH, claiming that the brands under his „promotional umbrella” and their partners were a „challenger brand”. It brings a lot of negativity, which he spoke about:
„Being AEW means being under constant attack. You put on one great show and the next day someone says something negative. You put on five great shows in a row and someone says something negative. You put on five great shows in a row and someone says something negative. No one in the history of the world. You broke the ticket record for the most tickets ever sold for a wrestling show, and someone has to say something wrong about that.
„At this point, I’m not worried about that. We’ve got to go out and do great shows week in and week out — like we’ve done. We’ve been number one on cable on Wednesday this week. We’ve won every show on TV on Wednesday on hundreds of networks on hundreds and hundreds of networks. And we continue to do that. , everyone working here will be in good condition.
Khan attributes some of that to the wrestling world’s use of Twitter/X. Conversations about other sports, such as American football, are more prevalent in the social media landscape, with leagues, outlets covering them, and a large following of fans on TikTok and Instagram. But not pro wrestling:
„I think it’s challenging because I’ve never seen anything like wrestling, where a large percentage of the business is spent on one platform, X — formerly Twitter. It’s amazing how many people in the wrestling industry are on Twitter, all the time. To be honest, I love it. I understand, because it’s a good cause: engagement. Having such a large percentage of wrestling fans, you, the wrestling media, and the opinion makers, and the wrestlers, the companies – having so many people on this one site, it’s so unique…
„It becomes an echo chamber and there’s a lot of bad faith. There’s a lot of bad faith posting, and you can have a great day in the business, like a numbers show, and people will try and say you’re not doing well. Or for the number of tickets ever sold at any wrestling show. You can break a world record, and have this huge win on PPV, and wrestling is great and everything, and still people try to say there’s some problem with it. . . .
Still, I’m somewhat convinced by this week’s recent doom and gloom about AEW following WBD/WWE reports that Khan isn’t giving up. He ended his long answer to the question with an emotional explanation of why he wants to follow John Cena’s advice and never give up:
“To be AEW, no matter how well you do, the gunslingers will come for you. Because that’s what it is. Everyone who has ever stepped foot in my position has gone out of business for a reason. I am the only one left. Everyone who’s stepped into this and put in millions of dollars and done it week after week — and there’s no vacation, you’re doing it 52 weeks a year — it’s a fight.
„It’s a credit to the fans. I know what it’s like to be a wrestling fan 52 weeks a year. It’s tough. But it’s very rewarding. That’s why I can’t stay away from it for too long. That’s why we always come back to it. We’re addicted. It’s worth the fight, and I love the fight. , I’m never going to stop fighting. No matter what happens, no matter how it turns out. It’s worth it. It’s the fight that Jim Crockett fought, and Verne Gagne and Ted Turner and so many others tried. God bless them all, and I do it for all of you. And all of you here. I know being with the Spirit.
Maybe that’s a little sad, and you can certainly argue and debate the strategic approach Khan takes to his fights – but it’s hard to deny the man’s passion. AEW/ROH is not well run and no one can please all wrestling fans all the time. But „challenger brands” are better at providing options for fans and talent. So while I’d love for AEW to „worry about it” more and talk less about it, I support TK’s fight.
Let us know how you feel about these quotes. Add them all together and see them in full The final battle Media Scrum in the video embedded at the top of this post. Khan’s segment begins at approximately 1:44.
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