The story of talks between WWE and New Japan that started the morning of May 28 with an item in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter continued to twist and turn throughout the day on Friday.
It culminated (for now) with AEW President Tony Khan’s worked shoot promo on WWE President Nick Khan, released while SmackDown was airing, and reminding fans that Dynamite was live Friday at 10 p.m. ET this week.
Tony’s promo succeeded in grabbing headlines, and therefore in drawing attention to Dynamite and everything AEW has planned for their Memorial Day weekend PPV, Double or Nothing. It also prompted a lot of criticism, both of the move itself and TK’s skill in executing it.
Unsurprisingly, he’s getting help from the troops. And I don’t just mean Dave Meltzer... but seriously, folks, of course the man who runs the outfit Tony name-checked in his promo is defending it. Whatever you feel about the Meltzer’s partiality or impartiality when it comes to AEW, however, he’s not wrong. And neither is the AEW employee he’s quote-tweeting agreement with:
Nope. I didn’t think that either in the mid to late 90’s when guys like Paul E., Eric B & VKM where loudly & proudly putting over their own companies (and ripping their competition) on their individual TV shows. It was “cool” back than but today some fans get offended. https://t.co/qHcfCrpvAP— taz (@OfficialTAZ) May 29, 2021
Promoters doing that dates back to the late 1800s. ECW was built on that mentality. Pissant company, blood & guts, marathon not sprint, where did those terms come from (well at least the first two). https://t.co/4QXjLNt5Pw— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) May 29, 2021
As both men correctly state, promotional history is littered with examples of things like TK’s video. The most prominent wrestling example is probably the then-WWF’s “Billionaire Ted” skits from the early days of their war with WCW. Those are canonized in WWE’s telling of The Monday Night War. You can not like what AEW did, but you can’t pretend it’s some new low for the business.
What you can absolutely take issue with is Tony Khan’s skill as an on-screen performer. That’s subjective, right? Not according to the man who interviewed him for yesterday’s promo.
If anyone watches this video and still claims that @TonyKhan can’t do promos, then you know that that person is full of shit. (That was one take btw!) watch #AEWDynamite LIVE on TNT tonight at 10pm ET/9 c, the fans are back here tonight + it’s #DoubleorNothing on ppv this Sunday! https://t.co/Da2FTasovF— Tony Schiavone (@tonyschiavone24) May 29, 2021
This strikes me a little bit like saying you can’t have an opinion about wrestling if you’ve never taken a bump, but it’s also not worth getting bent out of shape over. Tony S. knows Tony K. butters his bread, after all.
Really, the whole thing isn’t worth getting bent out of shape over. As a wise Baltimorean once said, “All in the game, yo. All in the game.”