Last week's AEW Dynamite saw Taz revive his classic FTW Heavyweight Championship from his ECW days and award it to Brian Cage. The title was originally used in 1998 when Taz was unable to challenge then-ECW Champion Shane Douglas due to the latter's injury. He spent a good chunk of the year defending the title, eventually lost it to Sabu on purpose, beat Douglas for the championship in early 1999 and unified it with the FTW title by beating Sabu that March. Since ECW never officially recognized the championship, WWE was never able to get their hands on it when they purchased the company's assets, leaving Taz free to use it as he pleased.
In a new interview with PWInsider this week, AEW president Tony Khan explained why AEW decided to include the championship in their programming.
"This thing had been planned for a long time for Brian to make the big intro, and make the big splash, and challenge Moxley. Brian and Taz, they've established a rapport on television," Khan said. "When Taz told me he still had the belt, it was a perfect thing to add to the story I thought. And so, a couple weeks ago, when it came up, I really jumped on it. Once I found out he had it, and we were able to use it, I wanted to make it a part of the story. I wouldn't have done it without his blessing. I mean, he's the one who told me he had it. So once he said he still had possession of it, and I checked, and we're cleared to use it, then, at that point, I was like, 'This is, to me, almost like a no brainer. It adds so much to the story, to the presentation of Brian. It's so much credibility, the FTW title.'
"I grew up watching ECW, as you know, and that belt meant a lot," he coni Even though it's not a recognized championship, when it was defended, or when you saw it, it felt like it was part of the presentation of Taz as one of the top wrestlers in the sport and I think it can be the same thing for Brian Cage.
Cage defended the title on this week's episode of AEW Dark, and will challenge Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship on Wednesday night at Fight for the Fallen.