Will Tony Khan’s Five Year Plan For AEW Work Out?

On January 1st 2019, the professional wrestling landscape changed with the announcement of a new promotion, All Elite Wrestling. Spearheaded by Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, Matt and Nick Jackson, who all took up Executive Vice President roles as well as being signed on as competitors. The buzz behind the fledgling company was off the scale. Although this wasn’t just an indie company looking to make a quick buck.

American businessman and lifelong wrestling fan, Tony Khan was signed on as co-owner, president and CEO of AEW. This provided vital backing for the company to become a big name in the world of pro wrestling. Sitting down for an interview with Chris Van Vliet in 2019, Khan was posed a question about the new promotion. “What’s the five year plan for AEW?”. Khan’s response to this was a three-pronged answer that seems a lot easier said than done.

The 5-year plan for AEW is that we will have built up a brand, we will have built up a roster, we will have established ourselves as a top brand in wrestling for people who want fast-paced exciting action and want a product that is more of a sporting based product

This response begs the question, will Tony Khan’s five year for AEW work out? Only three years into the company’s lifespan and that question has already been answered… Yes! As a matter of fact, Khan’s five year plan has already worked out for the most part. Let’s take a deeper look into this.

The Brand

All Elite Wrestling has taken on an identity by itself at this stage. A massive marketing machine that pumps out a great wrestling product weekly across two nationwide stations, TBS and TNT, with multi-year deals worth big money. Two weekly shows on YouTube also fill out the field. AEW also has some other divisions already including AEW Heels, AEW Games and of course Shop AEW. So if you break it down, in just three years of this company being around they already have live events, pay-per-view, television deals, a streaming service, home video, publishing and merchandise…lots of merchandise.

The Roster

This is where it gets really good for a wrestling fan. AEW boasts one of the strongest rosters in pro wrestling today. Superstars who have plied their trade to worldwide acclaim. Journeymen and women. Workhorses, veterans and the most important for the company’s lasting survival, future stars. Whether you love them or hate them some of the leading players for AEW since it’s inception have been stars such as, Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes and “Hangman” Adam Page. They have steered that ship forward with no wasted motion.

The future looks bright for AEW  too with their “four pillars” consisting of MJF, “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry, Darby Allin and Sammy Guevara. A stacked women’s roster that has had some great moments so far through the work of Britt Baker, Thunder Rosa, Hikaru Shida, Riho and Nyla Rose. Although it does feel the best is yet to come in that women’s division. They also have possibly the best tag team division in wrestling right now with the likes of FTR, Lucha Brothers and Santana & Ortiz leading the charge. Couple all of that with the blockbuster signings of CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole it’s clear to see they have built an incredibly talented and dynamic roster already!

The Alternative

Pro wrestling is at it’s best when there’s competition. While WWE are a force to be reckoned with. Rightly so, having carried the torch for over 60 years, it’s still a very exciting time to be a wrestling fan. It seems competition drives Tony Khan, like it drives everyone else. Why rest on your laurels? Why settle for second best? Much like Vince McMahon and WWE, Khan and AEW are not without fault or criticism of course. There has been times where we have been left disappointed by the finish of a match or an angle. I have literally shook my head after seeing a tenth Canadian Destroyer within an hour or while reading a tweet that shouldn’t have been sent. As a whole though I find AEW an entertaining portrayal of my favorite art form, pro wrestling. That’s all we want right? To be entertained.

So in closing I have got to say, All Elite Wrestling are working wonders. Three years in and a hell of a lot going their way. I can only see the trajectory trending upwards to be honest. 2022 should be a banner year for the company. With the world slowly opening up again, it wouldn’t shock me to see big AEW touring schedules, possibly overseas too. When AEW inevitably branch out to the likes of the United Kingdom and beyond, then we will see what the next big step for the company is. As for now though, it is clear that Tony Khan’s plan is working.

– Warren Garry

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