All Out is just days away, and AEW owner/president/booker Tony Khan took questions from the wrestling media on a conference call today (Sept. 1) to promote the event.
One of the most interest quotes from the hour long call was a brief one. After Vince McMahon resigned from his roles at WWE and was replaced by the triumvirate of Nick Khan, Stephanie McMahon & Triple H, TK seemed hopeful there could be some collaboration between the two companies.
Perhaps that was naive of him, seeing as Dynamite’s ratings victory over NXT when they were head-to-head on Wednesdays is believed to have been a factor in Triple H’s fall from grace within WWE when Vince was still in charge. If it was, he’s now been smartened up by moves like alleged contract tampering and the decision to book an NXT event hours before All Out:
“I was pretty optimistic when they first made the change, but I’m less optimistic now, given how they’ve treated me.”
The contract tampering was also alluded to when TK was asked about the talent meeting AEW held before the Aug. 24 Dynamite. The meeting was described as something the company used to do regularly during the pandemic when they were based out of Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida, but had fallen out of the habit of once they went back on the road last year. “Dozens of points” were addressed, including performers sharing about “things happening outside the company, from other companies even.” Much of what came out about the meeting was “pretty accurate,” Khan said, while other reports were “wildly inaccurate.” Overall, the boss thought the meeting went well and contributed to “a positive week of television and good energy going into the PPV.”
Khan was asked about criticism of the announcement & set-up for All Out’s interim Women’s title match in comparison to how the men’s championship was handled when CM Punk broke his foot after Double or Nothing. TK rejected the criticism, and offered a long defense of his booking which made some valid points. The questioner (Samantha Shipman from DailyDDT) wasn’t given a chance to follow-up, however, and neither did anyone else on the call — so a more in-depth discussion of AEW’s presentation of women’s wrestling didn’t happen:
“Well, I strongly disagree with that... I give the TV time based on what I believe is going to draw the most ratings. And if you want my honest opinion on an eight minute Thunder Rosa promo vs. an eight minute CM Punk promo, then you’re gonna get an honest answer. I think the eight minute CM Punk promo’s probably gonna do a better rating.
“Now as far as match length, I think Thunder Rosa’s has some great matches as champion, and to come out and do a live eight minute promo? I’m not sure that would have been good for the television show, to be honest with you. And especially given where we were at with Thunder Rosa — I found out she was injured a few hours before a live television show. I don’t really have time to put an eight minute promo in when I had just a couple hours notice, versus with CM Punk, I knew days earlier that he was pretty badly hurt, and we had already made a plan days earlier for that.
“Furthermore, a lot of people criticized the way Jon [Moxley] got his match with [Hiroshi] Tanahashi [at Forbidden Door], so I guess you can’t please everybody no matter what you do. And I’ve actually seen more people excited about the 4way match with Shida vs. Britt Baker vs. Jamie Hayter vs. Toni Storm than they were for the original match. And, I think the 4way is one of the more anticipated matches on the card, and I’ve seen people way more excited about that than in some cases the way we got through the Casino Battle Royal match.
“I think Kyle O’Reilly’s one of the best wrestlers in the world, but some people complained when I had Kyle get that opportunity. To be honest, Jon vs. Kyle was one of my personal favorite TV match. I’ve watched that match so many times, I loved all the details of it... [TK describes one of his favorite sequences from the match]... there were people criticizing that too. I’ve seen less people, although there may be some, criticizing how we got to this, but you can’t necessarily please everybody, but I do think in this case it’s really been very positive given the situation we’re in...”
Some other notes from the call:
• TK spoke often about the rash of injuries after Double or Nothing, and how excited he is to have the roster back close to full strength. Asked about Rampage’s ratings struggles, he said roster issues forced him to use his biggest available stars on Dynamite, but he’s planning to stack Rampage again with people back.
• He touted their build for Punk vs. Moxley on Sunday, saying they generated more interest and intrigue with Mox’s quick victory last Wednesday and not booking the rematch until the go home episode of Dynamite. He pointed to last Wednesday’s ratings as proof.
• The original plan for Forbidden Door was Punk & FTR vs. Will Ospreay & Aussie Open. He also has a “great idea” for a Punk/Tanahashi tag match he’s hoping to use later.
• ROH Women’s champion Mercedes Martinez is currently out with an injury.
• There’s no update on TV or streaming for ROH other than that TK is working on it.
Chime in on any or all of this below, Cagesiders.