Tony Khan Confirms AEW Dark Will Be Taped At Universal Studios
A studio setting
Tony Khan has confirmed AEW Dark will be taped at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, the former home of IMPACT Wrestling.
The AEW president noted on a media call that the YouTube show will more closely resemble WCW Worldwide as opposed to the IMPACT Zone, though.
"I had worked with our live events director Rafael Morffi, who had really good experiences there in the past. He had worked with IMPACT and I'd like to now take the opportunity -- I want to position this. It's funny that I've seen people say, 'Oh, they're going to that building' and the perception of that building. I think people need to look at the history of that building and look where Dark stands in terms of our TV platforms. It's not like I'm doing Dynamite or Rampage there. It's very different. If we did, it's a great venue, but it's not the plan anytime soon. We're running very large arenas and have done great attendance for Dynamite and Rampage. It's a very different thing. Those are the A shows," Khan said.
"Elevation and Dark are great shows. You'll see huge stars on those shows; Darby Allin, Jon Moxley, Eddie Kingston, Orange Cassidy, Thunder Rosa, Nyla Rose, a lot of our top wrestlers compete on Elevation and Dark on a regular basis and they also do so in terms of working with young wrestlers and developmental talent. We found a lot of wrestlers who are important in AEW now through them working on Dark and Elevation; Red Velvet, The Acclaimed, Varsity Blonds, Will Hobbs. All of these people were losing matches on Dark, we saw something in them, I signed them to contracts and have looked to push and utilise. They all have great skills. It gives opportunities to young talent and I position it like the show that was taped there before IMPACT, which was WCW Worldwide. I like IMPACT, they've been very good to me. It's a difference between how we're utilising it and how they utilised it even though they had an amazing run there," he continued.
"It's more like how WCW used it as in terms of Worldwide being a show where they developed a lot of young talent. It's ironic, Chris Jericho, Chavo Guerrero, Dean Malenko, these are guys that work for me now in AEW, those were some of the stars of Worldwide and in Universal Studios they had some classic matches with some veterans. Rest in peace to one of my heroes and one of the greatest ever; Beautiful Bobby Eaton. I watched him have great matches there including with Chris Jericho at Universal Studios. It's a great place for veterans and young wrestlers. We don't have to necessarily be doing CM Punk vs. Darby Allin or Kenny Omega vs. Christian Cage or Britt Baker vs. Kris Statlander there, but we're going to do a lot of fun stuff there and the fans that come will see some top stars and great wrestling. I want to bring back the spirit of those Worldwide tapings, which hold a fond place in my heart."
Khan also noted that Dark: Elevation will be taped ahead of Dynamite and Dark will still be filmed in a big arena at times.
"We've been doing Dark and Dark Elevation in the arenas and what I've been doing to get a rhythm is doing Elevation before Dynamite. Now that we also have Rampage, when it's live, I've been doing Dark. We will hit a hit point where I can't tape both stuff together. I'll continue doing Elevation before we go live with Dynamite as the pre-show matches, it's great and warms the crowd up and they see some of their favourites. Dark will move to be, most weeks, the studio format. There will be some weeks where you get Dark in the big arena. We'll get a chance to focus on the talent. I try to do my best at it, but I'm running around doing Dynamite and I can't be in the chair for every moment on Dark because I have to produce pre-tape promos, backstage segments, I might need to go to the truck. It's good to be able to focus and work with talent and be able to put in and focus on their stories as the main focus of that taping rather than being something we're doing before or after Dynamite," Khan added.
H/T to Fightful