Pat Buck On His Working Relationship With Tony Khan, Leaving WWE

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Pat Buck recently appeared on the “AEW Unrestricted” podcast to discuss his working relationship with AEW President Tony Khan. The former OVW standout and WWE producer also detailed joining AEW after leaving WWE.

You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:

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On his working relationship with Tony Khan: “Since AEW’s inception, I feel I’ve had an unofficial working relationship with Tony [Khan]. It’s always been interesting because I never really thought, after chasing wrestling so long, not having the TV contract, sort-of-successful performer that I would be completely working for myself the rest of my career, and I was fine with that. I started in 2001, 2011 comes and I’ve been wrestling pretty much full-time, everywhere, anywhere, but never really got that opportunity to really cement something. I said, ‘Screw this, I’m going to put on a show and become a promoter.’ Luckily, that worked out, opened my schools. I figured that was what I would be doing the rest of my life and I was fine with it. If I want to wrestle somebody, I’ll book them to wrestle. A poor man’s Jerry Lawler, if you would. ‘This is my area, I’m running 30-50 events a year in the New York-New Jersey area, I have these schools.’ Then, my students started getting noticed a lot. Primarily, and only by AEW, even when I worked at my former place. It was the act of getting independent wrestling talent seen and getting into the system, they had different requirements. Tony and I value talent in a similar light: The Acclaimed, Kris Statlander, Bear Bronson, Mark Sterling. There are six or seven of my kids that I see what they’re doing and I think it’s awesome, but I never had an official talk with Tony. Ton of people I’ve worked with have worked with most of the roster in some capacity, independents, or WWE, or somewhere. Sonjay [Dutt], we worked not just in WWE together, we had a long-standing relationship before that, promoting and working shows together, producing shows together. I submitted my release on a Monday morning, post-WrestleMania before Raw. I was on the plane ride back and a certain talent texted me, ‘Tony would like to speak with you on Wednesday.’ It was a short 12 hours, maybe a little bit longer, maybe 24 hours of going from one place to another, which is pretty wild, but it’s the greatest thing that has happened to me.”

On leaving WWE and heading to AEW: “I assumed, the moment I walked in, ‘It’s going to be out there.’ I also thought, and I think people would assume when I quit WWE, I didn’t have this lined up. Did I hope in my heart that I’d be here? For sure. Did I hope Tony would recognize this and there’s a thing there? I took a gamble on myself and by what happened and being here, it didn’t get out for quite a while. I was kind of shocked. That goes to show you the different kind of respect in the locker room. Even the extras booked that day, some of them I booked for WrestleMania and the shows a week ago. They walked in like, ‘What the heck is this?’ Credit our locker room for having that respect. It got out a couple weeks later, but it shocked me.”

On having talks with AEW in 2019: “It was one of those things where I knew for a while [I was leaving WWE] and it was really because of the schedule, primarily. I always wanted to be here, but there was no official thing. However there was, randomly, I emailed Tony, I didn’t hear back, but I was like, ‘AEW has actually done more for me in terms of my reputation in pro wrestling than WWE has.’ That’s weird to say because they did take care of me for three years and I look back at that as a positive experience, but the fact that the talent here came that I produced or trained meant the world to me. This is home. It was meant to be. Early on, when AEW was starting, this was the place…there were talks early on, and it was right around the time I took the job with WWE. So many things were happening here and I ended up going to WWE, but I’m glad that happened because I feel my tool box and skill-set is extremely sharp in terms of production and structure. Now I get to be here with everybody and do my best to make this a little bit better place.”

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