Tony Khan was on a call with the media today ahead of AEW’s All Out 2021 pay-per-view, coming up this Sunday, Sept. 5, from the Now Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
One piece of news coming out of the call is that Riho will compete at All Out as part of the Women’s Casino Battle Royal.
Some of the other topics Khan touched on during the call included the following:
- AEW Dark has a new taping schedule as a studio show in Orlando, Florida. Tony compared it to the feel of WCW Worldwide.
- Khan wasn’t concerned with AEW’s large roster size. Unlike football, there is no salary cap or roster size restrictions in wrestling, which means there is no such thing as a full roster. If Khan sees available talent that makes sense for AEW, he won’t be held back from signing them due to the roster size.
- He indicated that if there are wrestlers advertised for Chris Jericho’s cruise who will be needed for AEW television that week, AEW is the first priority.
- Khan is open to having a trios championship at some point in AEW, but it’s not something that’s on the cusp of happening right now.
The most entertaining exchange was saved for last. At the very end of the call, Khan was about to be asked a question about the TNT championship. But he cut the question off right in the middle when the label “mid-card” was used to describe the title. Don’t you ever make the mistake of telling Tony Khan that the TNT title is a mid-card title, or else he’ll bust out some thermodynamics on your ass:
“That’s not a mid-card championship. I’m gonna stop you right there. It’s not a mid-card championship. The only people that have held the belt are Cody [Rhodes], Brodie Lee, rest in peace, Darby Allin, and Miro. So I’m not booking it like a mid-card championship, I’m looking at it as like a top title that stars hold. So I take exception right off the bat.”
“...That is the key to the championship is that none of the champions have been a stretch. In thermodynamics, heat is passed from a warmer body to a cooler body. If you have a hot belt and you take a cold wrestler and you say, ‘I can heat this guy up by putting the belt on him,’ the problem with that is that you cool off the belt. So the key to this belt, in my opinion has been, from the beginning, it’s been hot matches, hot issues, it’s been pushed on television, and the champion has always been a protected star.”
Khan ended his argument by taking a shot at what I assume is the longtime crappy booking of WWE’s Intercontinental championship:
“I think the belt has been very protected and that’s why it is not a mid-card championship. And I never intend for the TNT title to ever become a mid-card championship. It’s really near and dear to my heart. So I think protecting the title is really the key thing, and when you look at other ‘mid-card championships,’ that’s how they became mid-card championships.
You know, there’s other belts in wrestling, and I think we all know the one I’m talking about, that used to be really protected, that used to mean something really important. And it’s been batted around, it’s been retired, it’s been brought back. Well, what does it even mean anymore? And I never will let this be that.”
Thermodynamics is cool and all, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the actual match order. The TNT championship has been contested on three different AEW pay-per-view cards. Here is where it was placed on each of those events:
- Double or Nothing 2020: Cody vs. Archer was placed 3rd on the card out of 8 total matches
- Full Gear 2020: Cody vs. Darby was placed 3rd on the card out of 8 total matches
- Double or Nothing 2021: Miro vs. Archer was placed 5th on the card out of 9 total matches
Yep, that’s definitely a mid-card title. The proof is right there in the match order. It was never once placed in the upper card of these PPVs.
It’s refreshing that Khan actually cares about protecting titles in AEW via thermodynamics. And his point about WWE’s mid-card titles losing all value is well taken and has largely been true for many years. But the TNT title is very much a mid-card belt. That’s not an insulting thing to say; it’s merely a reflection of where the championship has been placed on AEW’s biggest events of the year - very close to the middle of the card.