After the ring of honor The last battle Last night’s PPV (December 15) in Garland, Texas, Tony Khan and some of the wrestlers who performed on the show sat down to speak to the media.
The final portion of the nearly two-and-a-half-hour press conference (shown above) had the owner of AEW and ROH alone in the office, and the first question Khan faced was reports this week that WWE had met with current AEW Television. Warner Bros partners Discovery on media rights package for Raw.
Khan did not object to it, but rather formulated it as standard operating procedure for networks. He also made it clear that AEW has talked or will talk to other networks about its next media rights deal, which is expected to begin shortly after Raw takes place at the end of 2024:
“Ring of Honor, we haven’t had that many lately, but we’ve had really good conversations about AEW. Even in recent days, I’ve had good conversations with Warner Brothers Discovery. We’ve been with them for several years – it’s a really exciting time for AEW…
“We’ve done incredibly well for Warners Brothers Discovery and we have a very, very strong relationship. With media rights and all the things coming up, everyone has to do their due diligence — it’s just part of the TV business.”
“Where we are right now, we’re positioned for AEW to have a tremendous growth year in 2024. There’s a lot of really exciting things happening that I know Warner Brothers is really excited about, which we’ve talked about…it’s been a year Great for us… It’s been a great year for us with Warners Brothers Discover. They came to us and asked us to go from watching three hours of TV a week on TBS and TNT, and expand it to five hours. That’s been very, very successful.. .
“It’s a great relationship, and things are going very well for us. And part of the TV business, for both sides, is doing your due diligence and that’s just part of sport and TV, really. Being part of the NFL and the Premier League, I’ve seen that process done.” Certainly with different TV networks looking at different sports, and the same sport looking at different TV networks.
Khan went on to talk about his experiences as part of the Fulham FC and Jacksonville Jaguars management teams, leading him to believe that AEW is in a “really good position” regarding his next TV deal. He returned to ROH, saying that the brands under his “promotional umbrella” and their partners constituted a “rival brand.” This brings a lot of negativity talked about:
“Being AEW means being under constant attack. You give a great show, and the next day someone says something negative. If you do five great shows in a row, someone says something negative. If you do five great shows in a row, someone says something negative. It broke the record for the most tickets ever sold for any wrestling show in the history of the world, someone has something bad to say about that.
“At this point, I’m not worried about that. We just need to go out and do great shows, week after week, like we did. We were the No. 1 show on cable this week, on Wednesday. We beat every TV show on Wednesday, out of hundreds “And hundreds of shows, across hundreds of networks. We continue to do that, and everyone who works here will be well off.”
Khan attributes some of that to the wrestling world’s use of Twitter/X. He said conversations about other sports such as American football are more widespread across the social media landscape, with leagues and outlets covering them, and fans having a large presence on TikTok and Instagram. But not professional wrestling:
“I think it’s a challenge because I’ve never seen anything quite like wrestling when it comes to such a large percentage of companies spending such a large percentage of their time on one platform, which is X – formerly Twitter. It’s amazing how many people in the wrestling business are on Twitter all the time. And to be honest, I understand it because it’s for a good reason: to engage. Because there’s a large percentage of wrestling fans, you, the wrestling media, the opinion makers, the wrestlers themselves, the companies – there’s a lot of people on this one platform, it’s unique very…
“It’s become like an echo chamber, and there’s a lot of bad faith. There’s a lot of bad faith posts, and you can have a great day at work, like, show the number, and people will try to tell you that you didn’t do something great. Or you can break the world record.” To have the most tickets sold for any wrestling show ever, to have this massive, massive success on PPV, and the wrestling is great and everything is great, and people are still trying to tell you there’s something wrong with it…”
Although, and I’m sure it has partly to do with this week’s latest round of pessimism around AEW following the WBD/WWE reports, Khan is not giving up. He ended a long answer to the question with a serious explanation of why he intends to follow John Cena’s advice and never give up:
“To be in AEW, no matter how successful you are, there are going to be people coming at you, shooting you. Because that’s what it is. There’s a reason why everyone in my position so far has stopped working. I’m the only one left. Everyone who steps up and invests millions of dollars in this and does it week after week – and there’s no off-season, you’re doing it 52 weeks a year – it’s a battle.
“And that’s a credit to the fans. I know what it’s like to be a wrestling fan 52 weeks a year. It’s hard. But it’s also the most rewarding thing. That’s why you can’t stay away from it for long. That’s why we always come back to it. We’re addicted. And it’s worth the fight, and I I love fighting, and I will never stop fighting it. No matter what happens, no matter how things change. He’s worth it. It’s the fight that Jim Crockett, Verne Gagne, Ted Turner, and so many people who tried it fought. And God bless them all, and I’m doing this for you Everyone. I know you’re all here in spirit.
This may be a bit of a cliche, and you can certainly debate and debate the strategic approach Khan takes to his fight – but it’s hard to deny the man’s passion. AEW/ROH is not run perfectly, and no one will be able to please all of the wrestling fans all of the time. But the business is better because it has “competing brands” that give fans and talent options. So, while I might prefer AEW to do more “not worrying about” and talk less about things like Twitter trolls and… All in Attendance numbers*, I support the TK fight.
Let us know how you feel about these quotes. You can check it out completely with All The last battle Media in the video embedded at the top of this post. Khan’s part starts at about 1:44.
*Khan talked about All innumbers There’s a lot going on during the party, and it’s clear there’s something specific that matters a lot to him.
. “Professional creator. Lifelong thinker. Reader. Beer buff. Troublemaker. Evil problem solver.”