It actually ended up being an effective way to get a lot of attention on what was a very entertaining two hours of pro wrestling. But even the most loyal AEW stan would admit Tony Khan’s promotion of the surprises and big announcements on the Feb. 9 Dynamite was confusing as hell.
Much of that stemmed from his initial promises last Friday. Khan used the term “Forbidden Door”, which has typically meant a wrestler contracted to one company appearing in another. The person TK was referring to didn’t sound like they were signed to another company, though. It sounded like a free agent.
He tried to cover for this by reworking the definition of “Forbidden Door”, and differentiating between walking through it and opening it & slamming it. It was a mess, but it did give the online contingent of AEW’s audience a lot to chew on.
Turns out the thing Khan was trying to hype was an ex-WWE talent whose non-compete had expired — Keith Lee. But in order to make good on his Forbidden Door promise, and thereby preserve the sanctity of the term (or something... I’m not terribly beholden to it myself, but it seems important to a lot of folks, including friends of mine), he worked with New Japan to book Switchblade Jay White.
I didn’t secure @JayWhiteNZ until Sunday. I realized after the fact that Friday night I butchered my own definition of Forbidden Door in hyping tonight. I heard the fans’ feedback, & wanted to ensure that tonight was a special #AEWDynamite for all. Thank you everyone who watched!— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) February 10, 2022
The AEW head honcho did say in his most recent interviews he was adapting his original plans to meet fan expectations, and now we know how.
Would the buzz have been as loud if Khan had just promised a free agent signing? We’ll never know.
Should he have admitted his mistake, or made it seem like this was all his grand plan from the jump? I appreciate this honesty, especially as opposed to the initial defensiveness and denial we’ve seen from AEW after other botches or disappointments.
But wrestling fans can debate TK’s explanation. We’ll need something new now that the mystery of the Huge Announcement Forbidden Door Free Agent Debut has been solved.