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Tony Khan: AEW's Power Structure Hasn't Changed For A Long Time

No changes for a long, long time

Amidst reports that All Elite Wrestling's Executive Vice Presidents Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, Nick Jackson and Matt Jackson have lost power within the promotion, AEW President Tony Khan has clarified that the company's power structure changed in December 2019 and hasn't been altered since. 

Khan said the following to PWInsider:

"Yeah, I saw those reports this week and I thought that was pretty disingenuous stuff from some of the internet wrestling writers because nothing has changed in recent months and really, the structure changed for me at the end of 2019 and it was because of me. I felt like I needed to take over and be more accountable as the CEO and as the booker. I was the final say, but there were probably too many different people with input on segments and this show wasn't as organised at the end of 2019 as I thought it could be.

"So for the past two years, we've been a lot more organised and I've written every show by hand, which allows me to know which segments are where and I think the shows have gotten significantly better. The fans have enjoyed them more. They've performed better in terms of the ratings and it's been a good change for us, but I saw somebody reporting that recently in the news and it's not because, we talked about this, like over a year and a half ago we talked about this, and I went on the record. I talked to you about it and Dave Meltzer, this week in The Observer, even wrote a pretty good account of it that nothing has really changed.

"This is all stuff that came into effect at the beginning of 2020. I had said my New Year's resolution, myself, [was that] I was going to get very organised or I told myself if there's something I didn't feel good about, I wasn't going to do it and that I was going to create much more of the work product myself, that I was going to lay out the matches, the stories and format everything into a nice package, myself, and I've been doing it for over a year and a half with the collaboration and help of a lot of great people, including the people I started with.

"I think the biggest difference has been instead of five people getting in a room and putting a format together, I get in a room and put a format together. I also get very amused when people refer to QT [Marshall], like the guy on the creative team. He's effectively my assistant and he's great. He works his ass off. He'll show up in my room whenever I need him, and I sometimes will call him up at one in the morning to come up and I want to reorganise the show or make card changes, or I'm putting stuff together for Elevation or Dark or whatever I need. He's usually there for me, but I'm very hands-on with this stuff and it's been that way for a long time. So I thought it was really disingenuous.

"Somebody talked about it this week, like it was news and then people acted like there'd been some change, but there's been no change. I've been in that position for a long time. And I think we've had our shows, in my opinion, have gotten stronger, recently. And there are a number of things you can attribute that to. One of the things I think you can attribute it to is the great star power that came in, and we're getting a lot of great wrestlers who bring tons of great attributes, including their experience, their great ideas, and trying to integrate those things. Then me, myself personally, I think I've gotten better and more organised over the last couple years at doing this job and have learned a lot in the past two years.

"So as we go into the two-year anniversary of Dynamite, the way the show is put together is different than when we started, but it's a better show. It's performed better. If you look at where we are going into the two-year anniversary compared to a year ago, we're up huge year over year, and we've added another show in Rampage. We've set new milestones for live attendance. Multiple times we've broken our own records at the gate in recent months. We've set new highs in pay-per-views multiple times. Each of our pay-per-views, all of the four quarterly pay-per-view specials have been up year over year, over the prior edition. And our TV ratings, as far as maintaining consistent high audience, it's the best it's ever been. We had never been the number one show on cable until April of 2021. We did this show for a year and a half before we ever hit number one. And now we've hit number one so many times, and it's been six straight weeks that AEW Dynamite's been the number one show on cable and the two year anniversary show, we're going for seven straight weeks. 

"And it's all a credit to the wrestling fans. I am a wrestling fan, and I know this wouldn't be possible without our fellow wrestling fans. I knew that there were so many of us out there starving for something like AEW and it's grown faster than I would've ever imagined, but I always believed that we could get to this point. I just didn't know it would happen all inside of two years, that we would've accomplished this much and then so many great legendary stars in the world of wrestling would've come in the past year, in particular. So we're really in a great place. 

"And I think we have a lot to celebrate, but I thought it was a very strange story that popped up in the past week. And again, kind of disingenuous because sure, there were some changes and yes, I did take more control and become a more organised booker, but I think those things started happening around the end of 2019 going into the January 1st, 2020 show, not so much recently, Although, I would like to think I've been trying to do a better job and get better at this and with the launch of Rampage, it gives more TV time to different wrestlers and it's allowed me to experiment with different formats. So, I think it has helped and the shows have gotten better for a variety of reasons and I think the shows did get a lot better in 2020, also as a result. So I think we're growing and evolving, but as far as a report that I just took over and took all the creative control a few weeks ago, that's crazy. I did that a long time ago."

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Journalist/Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com Twitter: @theaidangibbons