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Thank you, Tony Khan

AEW’s YouTube

Dynamite’s Jan. 25 episode was as eventful as AEW’s Wednesday night shows usually are. But it’s almost impossible to focus on anything other than the video that aired after the opening match, and everything about the main event.

Both the Jay Briscoe tribute video (for which producer Zane Decker deserves a ton of credit) and Mark Briscoe’s match with Jay Lethal were things, as of Tuesday morning, we didn’t think we’d ever see on national television. We got them because AEW and Ring of Honor Tony Khan “fought hard” for them.

It’s not that he and his team fought to honor the ROH legend on the biggest stage possible. It’s who he fought. There are a lot of unknowns about the status of AEW’s relationship with their media rights partners at Warner Bros Discovery. It seems unlikely Dynamite and Rampage will stop airing on TBS and TNT, but it’s not certain they will past the end of AEW’s current contract. It’s even less certain that Khan will be able to negotiate for more money on their next deal, something his company’s continued growth depends on.

So there was risk involved in pushing WBD to do what so many wrestling fans have done — forgive The Briscoes for their admittedly hurtful past words and actions. Jay apologized repeatedly for his homophobic tweets. Dem Boys didn’t comment on their use of the confederate flag in their attire and merchandising, but they also stopped using it once the world at large stopped pretending it was a symbol of “southern pride” rather than acknowledging its actual hateful history. Everyone who spoke of the Briscoes vouched for how they treated everyone around them with love and respect.

But Jay & Mark didn’t ask the countless co-workers who loved them to advocate on their behalf to get WBD to reverse their decision. They didn’t launch an apology tour, or go to war with “Cancel Culture”. Instead, they shut up, listened, and let their behavior demonstrate who they were.

But it didn’t seem like it was going to matter. Even after the tragedy of Jay’s death, it looked like Dem Boys wouldn’t be recognized on one of wrestling’s biggest stages. Until Tony Khan made sure they were.

There are a lot of things to criticize Tony Khan for, and things that make it very easy to poke fun at him. We’ve done it before, and I’m positive we’ll do it again.

But last night reminded us that pro wrestling is better for his involvement in it. It would have been easy for Khan to not rock the boat, claim his hands were tied, and point us to the (also excellent) online-only ROH tribute to Jay Briscoe. Instead, he took a risk to make sure that an important figure in modern wrestling history and a good man was recognized on national television, and that his family, friends and fans got to say goodbye — or “see you in the next life” — to someone we loved.

Thank you, Tony Khan.

Like we said at the top, there were a lot of other things that happened on last night’s Dynamite. Catch up on highlights from it below. We’ve put all the YouTube videos AEW has released as of this morning in a playlist, and since they don’t release everything that way at the same time, we’ve got Twitter clips of the other big moments and matches below that.

  • Thank You Jay Briscoe Tribute Video - Extended Cut
  • Did Darby Allin Retain or is The TNT Title Property of the House of Black
  • Mark Briscoe and Jay Lethal Pay Tribute to Jay Briscoe

For complete results and the live blog for Dynamite click here. To read a complete recap & review of all the night’s events click here.

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