I feel like a broken record at this point, as I’ve repeatedly advised that Tony Khan needs to get off of social media and put the phone down, while stop being AEW’s public relations department at the same time. He is humiliating himself with his own words while simultaneously displaying how immature he really is at the age of 41. Frankly, I’m shocked that his dad, Shahid Khan, hasn’t stepped in and tried to help his son operate a business but I’m guessing Shad was too busy building his wealth to remember to kick his son in the arse every once and a while. I’m guessing the nannies went too easy on Tony back in the day.
Tony is KILLING many opportunities for his All Elite Wrestling (AEW) company to grow. He just won’t shut up on social media or at AEW events, while his posts or replies are spewing immaturity. Anyone wanting to become AEW fans could get instantly turned off by seeing Tony’s social media posts or hearing any ramblings said during conference calls or media scrums. Instead of letting the product doing the talking, Tony is doing too much of it himself.
However, while Tony wants to hog the public relations glory for himself, he’s completely hands-off when it comes to enforcing discipline among his wrestlers. Hence why All Out 2022 and All In 2023 were major embarrassments not for what happened in the ring, but what happened backstage during and after those events. “Just hand it to the Disciplinary Committee”… How should a group, led by Bryan Danielson, have any say over what fines, suspensions, or even terminations are given out to wrestlers? Tony can’t have his cake and eat it too.
What Tony needs is a spokesperson to professionally handle the media, while professionally responding or promoting things online. For most corporations, you NEVER hear the President/CEO speak on a matter. If he or she does, it’s in a completely controlled environment with no questions from the media or shareholders unless those questions are controlled. Even then, said President/CEOs are limited on what they say. Then, take a look at the President of the United States… They have multiple spokespersons who speak to the media, rather than the President themselves.
In contrast to that, WWE Hall of Famer and former President Donald Trump would ignore what his press secretaries would say and just Tweet his thoughts anyway. Instead of using a literal human shield to protect himself from liability, he just posts what he wants. While that does provide authenticity and has created a strong reason for many to remain devoted to him, it also could implicate him in various indictments and lawsuits. His unfiltered Tweets have been collected and cataloged, and worse yet, Trump is providing even more evidence based on his unfiltered responses on his Truth Social platform. And then, he campaigns without a script, saying things off the cuff that could also be used as evidence about incidents or indictments.
Now, I’m not comparing the two, but I’m making the point that both individuals taking on too much public relations responsibilities for themselves is leading to trouble. While Trump’s words may be used in court and cost him re-election, Tony’s words are discouraging new customers from trying his product. Getting in fights during social media, spinning every response to questions, and then outright lying is painting a bad image for AEW’s president… And worse yet, he’s not self-aware of his own issues along with not being self-aware that maybe he’s too friendly with the talent as a boss. Even worse, there is zero accountability for anything Tony says or does.
Here are some recent things that he’s said…
On December 19th, I already covered what Tony Khan said about Disco Inferno… But in case you missed it, all former WCW/TNA wrestler Disco Inferno said was “like the shows need a reset” to Tony Khan’s 12/17/23 Tweet that asked “AEW fans, how are you feeling?” regarding AEW Collision.
• @TonyKhan – 12/17/2023 – 1:34am: The belief that you’re an irrelevant parasite unites the entire pro wrestling community.
“Irrelevant parasite” to a guy who legitimately performed in WCW and was valued by his fellow talent there, along with contributing to TNA. All Disco said was “shows need a reset” and nothing slanderous. After all, AEW Collision was built around CM Punk and without Punk, the show is lost. In fact, viewership for this prime time Saturday night show has plummeted to being around or below 500,000 weekly on a cable channel available to around 80 million households.
If Tony would have replied “thanks for you input, Disco, may we have a conference call to discuss”, he would have been applauded to being OPEN for feedback. And again, Disco did not say anything negative or degrading to AEW. He just suggested, as we all have, that AEW Collision seems a bit lost without CM Punk and that’s even an admission that other wrestlers have made.
But let’s get into Tony’s recent Tweets about Jinder Mahal, whom the WWE employs:
• @TonyKhan – 01/09/2024– 4:35pm:
A double standard:
@730hook 28-1 career record, on winning streak calls out the Champ, a logical challenge sparks online outrage
Jinder has literally lost every single match he’s in for the past year, immediately gets title shot, where is the rage
#AEWDynamite TOMORROW on TBS
For one, where is this heat about Hook challenging for a title shot? I must not be following the right people or hanging out on the correct Subreddit. Secondly, exactly why are you, as AEW President, even mentioning Jinder Mahal, a WWE talent, at all? Their world shouldn’t even matter to you. By mentioning Jinder, you just put him over online and everybody is laughing at you for caring too much about what WWE does.
Then, of course, everyone is laughing at how Jinder Mahal took your softball thrown and knocked it out of the park on this now deleted Tweet:
• @JinderMahal – 01/09/2024– 5:01pm:
Who tf is Hook?
WATCH MONDAY NIGHT RAW ON @USANETWORK MONDAY 8PM EST!!!
Even if there was true heat online about Hook challenging for the AEW Title, let’s look at the criticism with face value. He’s a 24 year old kid who started training during 2020 but only wrestled his first televised match on December 2021. Just on that alone, he has TWO years’ worth of experience… Unless he’s a prodigy like Kurt Angle or Brock Lesnar were with the minimum amount of training they needed, let’s pump the brakes a bit. Plus, there is a shred of nepotism here, as Hook is the real life son of Taz.
Compare him to Dominik Mysterio. Dom started just a few years earlier, yet Dominik is still heavily paying his dues. While Tony Khan is boasting that Hook has a 28-1 career record for Hook, Dominik Mysterio has an actual record of 105-132-2, meaning that he has significantly lost more matches than he has won. But, for 2023, who is more over? Dominik is one of the hottest heels in wrestling and he’s getting better and better by working with everybody despite the losses. He doesn’t need to be protected by winning every match, which maybe Hook possibly needs within his 2 years of working.
Even if there was criticism of Hook, it could be legit just based on years of service inside of the ring. However, Tony boasting his “28-1” record as if that matters in a scripted environment is completely ridiculous.
But then his criticisms of Jinder Mahal were completely tone deaf. Tony doesn’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to pro wrestling. Jinder is receiving this World Heavyweight Title shot from Seth Rollins AS A REWARD for doing great during the segment with the Rock. That’s what you do… Pro wrestling is mostly merit based and because Jinder built up so much heat for the Rock to have an easier job, WWE is rewarding him with a World Title shot next week on RAW. That’s all that it is… And this is NOT on a PAID LIVE EVENT, Tony… Just a singular episode of Monday Night RAW. Thanks to Mahal’s great job with the Rock, the heat is justified to look credible during the title shot.
Listen, if you read my columns during 2017, I was CRUSHING the WWE for their decision to rush Jinder Mahal to the WWE Title. It was well deserved because Jinder didn’t have any wins throughout his tenure on RAW from 2016-2017 and suddenly, he’s pushed to instantly win the World Title… THAT SAID, because of this event, he’s a former World Champion. So, yeah, it’s perfectly OK for a FORMER World Champion to wrestle the CURRENT World Champion on a televised wrestling show that isn’t a Pay Per View or PLE.
But Jinder isn’t just a former WWE World Champion from 2017… Jinder has been wrestling since 2002 and been in the WWE, off and on, since 2010 with various roles. According to CageMatch.net, he’s worked 874 total WWE matches and has more than paid his dues by putting over EVERYBODY. Holy cow, his 77% losing record in the WWE! And with that, Jinder Mahal has ZERO CHANCE of defeating Seth Rollins. It’s just a RAW match and Jinder, thanks to his GREAT work putting over the Rock, is getting rewarded. Then, he’ll reward Seth with a victory while WWE makes a quick buck capitalizing on Jinder’s recent heat.
It’s as if Tony Khan doesn’t get the wrestling industry… It’s not about wins or losses, it’s about HEAT on whether you’re getting reactions from the fans or not. With due respect to Hook and his 28-1 career record, but is he truly over to the point where people will gravitate to whatever AEW show he’s when he receives this title shot? That’s a great question… But you know that people will tune into RAW just to see Jinder Mahal thanks to his great work with the Rock.
Tony, do you reward wrestlers for their great actions, as WWE has for Jinder Mahal helping to get the Rock over? Do you even understand that concept or understand how wrestlers get heat from the fans?
And finally, let’s go back to the Worlds End media scrum following that 12/30/23 event… During the day of the event, online rumors swirling about NDAs signed by female wrestling talents prompted a question with regards to safety of performers. Here is Tony’s response:
“It’s a great question, Kevin, and I think it applies to everybody in our company, women and men, and it’s something we’re very serious about, and we’ve had a policy in place, and certainly, I think any time there is anything like that, we would make sure we do everything to prevent it. AEW has the best safety record, I believe, of any pro wrestling company in the world. I believe we have the most safe environment. I think we have the best safety record of any pro wrestling company, and I would hold the record of AEW on safety against any wrestling company in the world. I think AEW is the safest place for pro wrestling.”
“AEW is the safest place for pro wrestling”. Really? Weren’t you reportedly afraid for your own life during All In 2023 at Wembley and used that as cause to terminate CM Punk? Furthermore, why was Jack Perry confronting CM Punk and wanting to get physical with him?
Why did the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega barge into CM Punk’s dressing room following All Out 2022? And if that incident was “so safe”, then why did everyone involved have to sign NDAs to protect the message about what really happened that day? Punches were thrown, chairs were thrown, and someone was bitten around Ace Steele’s wife who had a cast on her leg. Really? That’s a safe environment?
Or how about Andrade punching out Sammy Guevara? How is that for a safe environment? And I could get into what Sammy said during the past about women, but I’ll chalk that up to him being young and immature.
Hey, AEW, can you tell me where Jimmy Havoc is? We haven’t seen him for a while. Where is he?
And who knows how many Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) have been signed in the past? I don’t personally know that information, as I don’t have access to AEW’s offices or filing cabinets. But, thanks to various legal inquiries, we do know that they are used by AEW’s legal team for any departing wrestlers.
But even getting deeper into the weeds of safety, we’ve seen a metric ton of in-ring injuries thanks to dangerous spots performed. Botched high risk moves, being slammed on the floor outside of the ring, and dangerous ladder/table spots have injured wrestlers. That’s not safe…
How is partying with the boys after events considered “safe”? You kind of encouraging and enabling some bad behavior there, Tony.
Getting back to the CM Punk incidents… I would think that EVPs who leak information to dirtsheet writers and then storm into a locker room, looking for a fight, would appear “unsafe” to me as a working environment. I’ve worked around EVPs for years and anytime one would get physical or aggressively vocal, they were punished for their actions and held accountable. During early 2023, the members of “The Elite” signed new contract extensions as rewards for their great trolling services.
If AEW is so “safe” and great, then why did Cody Rhodes just up and leave? And he has stated that a “personal issue” made him leave. What was that personal issue?
These are just recent quotes, folks… I could go deeper into the well for past quotes on social media or media scrums.
The FACT is that Tony Khan, maybe like Hook rushed to a title shot, was rushed to becoming president of AEW based on nepotism. Because of who he is and how much money his daddy makes, it placed him in a position to start-up a wrestling column. Now, I have actually defended Tony and AEW from 2019-2021… But there has been a significant erosion in AEW from 2022-2023 and that’s thanks heavily in part to Tony’s mismanagement of the company and his rabid immaturity as its spokesperson. Because Tony had everything handed to him and didn’t have to grind and fight to earn something, he feels entitled and also bulletproof for any goofy things he says or does.
Again, compare that to Vince McMahon Sr.’s handling of Vince Jr. Vince Jr. joined his dad’s company as a ring announcer to announce matches during 1969 and was slowly given more responsibilities over smaller territories within the WWWF’s reach during the early 1970s. Vince Jr. had to prove himself in any task in order to do more within the company. 13 years of working hard and grinding, Vince Jr. bought the renamed WWF from his dad during 1982. From there, Vince Jr.’s work ethic remained and exists to this very day. The rest is history… WWF took over the wrestling world with Vince Jr. in charge and is still dominant 40 years later. Why? Because Vince McMahon had to earn it.
Tony didn’t… He’s an immature rich kid whose mistakes are plugged up by his daddy’s money. Furthermore, he’s enabled by the rich lifestyle that he grew up in and he doesn’t know otherwise. Before even started AEW, he was always getting into fights at games or online with Jacksonville Jaguars or Fulham FC. The immaturity, along with the lack of accountability, was there before he even created AEW.
Tony’s immature crap makes it hard to enjoy AEW, period. It’s hard to throw money and time at a promotion that is led by an immature dolt who refuses to put his daddy’s money to good use to hire smart people to help AEW. Sorry, but the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega’s lack of managerial experience and business sense aren’t the right people for those EVP positions. Tony hired Jim Ross, but he never takes his advice and the EVPs refuse it as well.
Most of my columns about AEW lately have been about something stupid that Tony Khan said or other unnecessary drama. The “buck stops here” for accountability for AEW’s top officer and Tony needs to “lead by example”. His example is poor due to his awful verbal responses to very simple questions and his online immaturity. Because the guy at the top is obtuse, everyone reporting to him can see that and their behavior influenced for the worse… Then the wrestlers see who is managing AEW and they aren’t disciplined as well.
“AEW is the safest place in pro wrestling”… Please. Take Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis out of the equation, you’re not even close, AEW. And we only know about the WWE’s stuff because they are publicly traded. Lots of doors an be sealed shut in a privately owned company…
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