During the Winter Is Coming edition of Dynamite, AEW shocked the wrestling world when Sting debuted in the promotion and made the save for Darby Allin and Cody Rhodes.
Two former WWE Superstars in Paul Wight and Christian Cage have joined AEW since then, but their debuts were announced ahead of time, unlike The Icon's.
Chris Jericho noted on his podcast the change in strategy came after TNT told AEW not to do a surprise debut again because the network wanted "to take advantage of the rating."
Tony Khan has since clarified what TNT said during an interview with PWInsider and AEW's president explained the TV network didn't tell him not to book surprises.
"It's a mixed bag, I would say it is exactly how it happened... Point being I don't think that's exactly how the conversation happened, I know, I'm the one who had it. That's not exactly how the conversation with TNT went," Khan said.
"There's a balance between announcing things in advance like we've done with Mike [Tyson] coming in for this week, or with Paul Wight coming in, telling fans in advance when something's coming, or surprises that came out of nowhere like when Sting showed up. I think that's a great balance to have, and I think we'll be doing both.
"I want to make it clear, TNT never said don't do surprises, they thought that was great, and they got a huge reaction to Sting, and I think in doing the announcement with Paul, they were excited to do one with a press release, it's a great strategy."
H/T to Heel By Nature for the transcription