Tony Khan spoke with TV Insider this week and was asked about upcoming AEW talent contracts that are expected to expire this year. Many of the deals initially made when the company launched in 2019 are coming up, and unlike WWE AEW opted to not release anyone over budget constraints during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the statuses of a few stars are already up in the air and Khan openly admitted he won't be re-signing everyone.
"When we started a lot of people had contracts that were a couple of years long and a lot of them are coming up," Khan said. "I have really tried hard to be very considerate of the people on the roster, especially going through the pandemic. That encompassed a long period of time where we were still in our first year of television and going into our second. I kept a lot of people under contract even though I wasn't necessarily using them on television because I wanted them to still have paying work, which was hard to come by for wrestling during the pandemic where there weren't any independent shows. Really only two places were running and the other place was cutting people left and right. I did want to give some job security to people. Now with so many wrestlers coming in, I can't renew all the contracts. I've had to make some tough choices based on ability, fan response, or both. I try to maintain the best roster I can for the company and fans."
AEW signed quite a few stars in 2021, including CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Malakai Black, Thunder Rosa, the original Undisputed Era trio, Andrade El Idolo, Ruby Soho, Ethan Page, Christian Cage and Jey Lethal. Khan has been promoting another major signing for tonight's Dynamite and addressed fan expectations later in the interview.
"I try to listen to the fans and pay attention to audience feedback. I think it helps because it gives me some idea of what the fans in a larger sense want to see," Khan said. "Different fans have different ideas about the different wrestlers they like. You can gauge the excitement around a certain wrestler or match or moment. I believe people will get very excited about the debut of this new signing is. This is somebody wrestling fans really respond to."1comments