AEW president Tony Khan was interviewed yesterday by PWInsider.com to promote New Year’s Smash and the upcoming channel switch to TBS.
Khan recalls how over half of 2021 happened at Daily’s Place: “Well, it’s been a great year for the company. I think one of the most important things we did this year was get the show back on the road. And I think it’s very fitting that been on tour now for about six months. The first six months of 2021, we spent at Daily’s Place. And now as we approach the end of the year, and as we approach the end of this great run of Dynamites on TNT for over two straight years. Now, with Dynamite going to TBS and Rampage staying on TNT. It’s very fitting that this week we’ll be in Jacksonville where we’ll have a live Dynamite. That is the last Dynamite ever on TNT and we’ll have our first ever Rampage show emanating from Daily’s Place. And it’ll be the last Rampage to the year, the last show of the year for AEW, and should be a really fun night for the fans and I think it’s still fitting that we’ll end the year in Daily’s Place where we spent the entire first half of the year and most of last year. The fans were so great, so supportive, and I’m really excited to go back to Daily’s Place, but I think it’s just really important bringing AEW back to the fans on the road.”
More than anything, Khan feels like AEW lived up to the promise to change the world of professional wrestling also thanks to the most recent additions to the roster: “I can’t overstate how important it was to expand the roster this year. At the beginning of the year, I promised things were going to change in wrestling. There would be huge acquisitions and we delivered on that. And the biggest free agent names in wrestling this year came to AEW, when CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, Ruby Soho, Thunder Rosa, Andrade el Idolo, Malakai Black and many other big name free agents joined AEW this year and I’m really excited about the changes to our roster. I think the new people have stepped in at the perfect time for us. And really this is one of the best times ever to become an AEW fan for somebody seeking out wrestling to watch. I think we put on great wrestling shows every week and it’s what’s allowed us to keep Dynamite so strong now for a few years and allowed us to launch a new show Rampage with the buzz around wrestling and how great the wrestling business has done in 2021.”
The last arrival is Kyle O’Reilly, who will make his in-ring debut tomorrow night teaming up with his former NXT stablemates Adam Cole and Bobby Fish: “I’m very excited about Kyle joining AEW. I’m excited that Kyle debuts this week on Dynamite. It’s a huge match, Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly debuting as a trio in AEW against another one of the top trios in AEW, Orange Cassidy, Trent, and Chuck the best friends. It’s a dream match for a lot of our fans. It’s also something that I had no idea would be possible at the start of the year. It is absolutely a dream come true to reunite Cole, Fish and O’Reilly in AEW and I think it’s very fitting that they debut as a trio, and that Kyle O’Reilly makes his AEW debut, period, in Daily’s Place, this week on the last show of the year. I think this show is going to have a really surreal feel. I don’t want to compare it to some of the other surreal nights in pro wrestling and you had that feeling that history was being made, but I do think after all the great shows we’ve seen in Daily’s Place, this will be a really special moment when we see Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’ Reilly, and a number of the other three agents who joined AEW recently like CM Punk and Bryan Danielson and Ruby Soho and many others making their first appearance in Daily’s Place. I think it’ll be surreal ans it’ll just be a really cool moment. I don’t think anybody at the start of the year expected they were going to see CM Punk and Bryan Danielson appearing on Dynamite in Daily’s Place. But here we are, it’s the end of the year and that’s exactly where you’re going to see him this week. So I think it’s very, very cool.”
An important thing is to have a show on both TBS and TNT: “It’s great to have shows on both networks. I think it’s ideal. And something Tony Schiavone said to me a long time ago about when he was an executive in WCW, Tony told me, ‘We had a great business and we had strong recognizable shows and stars when we were on TBS and the company grew, but it felt like we didn’t really take off.’ This is Tony talking about his time at WCW. He said, ‘It felt like we didn’t take off really until we got our show on TNT and then we were on both networks.’ For us, I hope that’s that effect. It would be awesome for us. We’ve had great shows on TNT, but now to have our presence on TBS, and not just any presence but our flagship show Dynamite and then to keep Rampage on TNT, where we built consistently one of the top shows in our time slot and have delivered really strong results, especially in recent weeks. We just had an awesome rating for Rampage that we got last week, where we were up 29%. It’s been really, really, really great working with WarnerMedia and now to have two channels with AEW programming, I think it’s awesome.”
A main highlight of the TBS move is that Dynamite will be once again live at 8 PM in the West Coast: “As far as TBS, I think it’ll also be really good for us that we are no longer out of time, time on the West Coast, going back to 8:00 PM Pacific will be really nice and should make it more convenient for the fans who aren’t getting home from work in time to start a show. So, absolutely, I think there’ll be some benefits to that. It’s great doing the show live, don’t get me wrong, and we will be live on the East Coast and Central Time. But I think one of the good things about the TBS move is with the sports schedule it makes it more conducive, keeping the show in prime time on the West Coast.”