Tony Khan made one of his regular visits to Busted Open today (April 15). He was there to promote tonight’s live Rampage show, and tomorrow’s Battle of the Belts special — but of course he also had to discuss the critically reviled ending of Wednesday’s Dynamite.
His answer about the decision to debut the very large, very green Satnam Singh as a show-closing, lights out surprise is pretty good. Khan basically says the customer is always right, and takes the blame for being wrong in this case. Then he says something that makes it seem like he’s adding a caveat to his ownership of the error, and the answer isn’t quite as good any more.
“I could have done it better. It’s one of those things, I wish I’d done it a little differently because the fans are always gonna be right, so if the fans don’t like something — sometimes, there’s some things about it where we’re trying to get heat, where if you’re in a ‘trying to get heat’ situation, people aren’t always gonna love it. But there are things about it I probably should’ve done differently, now that I see in hindsight.
“And to be honest, it wasn’t my idea to turn the lights out. But I am the ultimate filter, I’m the person who everything goes through. I put the outline of the show together, and when I came in Wednesday, I thought it was the best outline I’ve ever put together. One of them, at least. It was as much strong wrestling as you could possibly fit into the program, and I thought up until that point, the show was excellent. That was the one thing we kind of went off on. People might not have liked it. Satnam is an important person for us, it was important to debut him in a meaningful way and to show that, with Jay Lethal, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.
“At the same time, turning the lights off for somebody people didn’t recognize — it’s a great point. To be honest, the person who brought up turning the lights off has over 30 years of experience in pro wrestling. When they brought it up to me, I was only looking at the pros and I should have thought about the cons. Because that is my job as the person who decides what goes in, and who filters out these ideas. We had all these people in the room and somehow, not one person when that idea came up brought out the negatives. When we did it, all of a sudden, all the negatives were very obvious.
“So, look, I’m not going to say who it was and I don’t need to list all the credentials — Mark [Henry, who was hosting Busted Open with Dave LaGreca today] included — of all the great people around me and in the production meeting, but it was a lot of veteran people. And to be honest, nobody said that, but then when it happened, I agreed with the fans completely.”
Henry puts over his boss for admitting he was wrong, then TK plows on, eventually putting a positive spin on it while basically confirming the motivation for the booking:
“Well thanks for saying that Mark. Like I said, when it came up, I said, ‘That could work, it’s different.’ I was looking for how to physically get him in there for that moment and somebody, like I said, with over 30 years of experience said, ‘Well, we could turn the lights out and do this and this,’ and I went, ‘Okay.’
“And I should have seen the negatives before we did it, and I really didn’t see them until it actually happened, and then I was like, ‘Okay, sure.’ But that’s not Satnam’s fault, it’s definitely not Jay Lethal’s fault. At the same time, I’m very excited for it. I think it created a lot of buzz. Satnam’s debut has been the most-watched thing out of the show and frankly it’s gotten international attention I wanted it to get, but I didn’t want it to loom over a lot of great stuff on the show either and I don’t think it has or it will, because there was a lot of great wrestling on that show, so I’m happy with that. But the fans are always gonna be right.”
The part of the answer where he says what was arguably the worst decision wasn’t his idea is what a lot of people understandably latched onto, because while he does say it was his fault for approving the bad idea, he could have just left that part out. And not brought it up a couple more times.
When people who took issue with that part of the quote discussed it on Twitter, TK found them. And he once again proved he’s a message board guy through and through...
Yep I said I came to tv with a show outline, then heard out ideas on such details & I picked the wrong one. I’m amused anyone says I threw someone under a bus to say the idea was from someone of 30 years experience. Who did I throw under this bus exactly? Where’s the mystery bod?— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) April 15, 2022
Yeah and that’s why I am the first to say the fans are always right, and that this is a great example that the fans know what they’re talking about— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) April 15, 2022
You need to hire this ratio.— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) April 15, 2022
I’ll give him this. You definitely won’t ever see Vince McMahon tweeting “You need to hire this ratio” to a guy from Jersey with 100 followers.
Beyond that... nothing here is probably going to change your opinion on Tony Khan. If AEW’s head honcho has done anything, it’s take the focus of the internet conversation off Dynamite’s ending and put it on himself. Maybe that was his goal? Maybe he’s just amped up on Red Bull and his love of wrestling?
Let us know what you think.