Tony Khan on Why AEW Rarely Uses Disqualification and Count-Out Finishes
Disqualifications and count-out finishes are incredibly rare on All Elite Wrestling programming. Famously, the first time a DQ did occur in an AEW ring was during an Iron Man Match between PAC and Kenny Omega, which is one of the few matches where a DQ doesn't actually finish the bout. Meanwhile, it's rare for an episode of either Raw or SmackDown to go without some sort of non-finish, much to the frustration of WWE fans online. AEW president Tony Khan, who books AEW programming, explained why he avoids those finishes while on The Way of The Blade podcast this week.
"Count-out finishes aren't always popular," Khan said (h/t Fightful). "For me as a promoter, you can count on one hand the number of count-out and disqualification finishes that I've done. I really like doing conclusive finishes, but I definitely think a count-out is a much more conclusive finish than a disqualification. Sometimes, there's a storyline reason for both, but ultimately, it often feels unsatisfying. I will not let people off the hook for this could I feel like half the matches on the show are like a disqualification and it's been that way my whole life [with] multiple promotions on television. Really, the competitive promotions on television. Such a large percentage of their matches ended in a disqualification. I found it very unsatisfying. Instead, you watch ECW or All-Japan, and there are a lot more finishes and maybe the happy medium is [something like] Smoky Mountain [Wrestling] was a very well booked promotion."
"I have no problem with doing it. Sometimes, I probably underdo them [to the point] where you never see them," he added. "But when we do them, they really do make sense."
Khan has openly called out other bookers in the past for not consistently giving conclusive endings to matches. Back in May he told Entrepreneur, "I don't do really cheap DQ [disqualification] finishes to prolong something. There are other wrestling programs where you might see multiple DQs and countouts in a week. I believe in giving the fans a finish to the match. I believe in not false-advertising programs and people. I might hype something I really believe in, but there's a big difference between hyping something and false-advertising outright, and I've never done the latter. I think that's why we have a lot of goodwill with the audience.
"Following through on the things you say you're going to do and trying to deliver a show that's in the spirit of what the fans want to see week in, week out and offering fresh matches and fresh programs is a big part of it. You know, not doing the same matches 17 weeks in a row over and over again," he added.