Tony Khan Reflects on How He Booked The Elite During AEW's First Year

When All Elite Wrestling first launched as a wrestling promotion back in January 2019 many wrestling fans expected its four executive vice presidents — Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks — to be the four dominant stars for the promotion right out of the gate. But that's not what happened. Kenny Omega lost AEW's first main event match at Double or Nothing against Chris Jericho, the Bucks lost their Dynamite debut against Private Party, Rhodes lost a match to Jericho to prevent him from ever challenging for the AEW World Championship again and The Dark Order knocked out every member on the final episode of Dynamite in 2019.

Things have changed quite a bit for the four since then. Rhodes held the new TNT Championship twice this year and was often in Dynamite's best singles match each week, the Bucks finally won the AEW World Tag Team Championships at Full Gear and Omega will get his first shot at the AEW World Championship when he takes on Jon Moxley at AEW Dynamite: Winter Is Coming this Wednesday.

AEW president Tony Khan hosted a media conference call on Tuesday to promote the special episode. At one point he was asked about booking the four and if there was an overcorrection in not making them look too strong in the company's first year.

"I don't think so. I don't know if the guys needed to get the hell beaten out of them to end the year the way we did, but I definitely think this past year was the right way to do it. I think we built a lot of strong wrestlers outside of just the Elite. I don't think it was an overcorrection, but I definitely think this was the year to be booked stronger. Kenny and Hangman [Page] had one of the best tag runs I've ever seen anybody have and now the Young Bucks, I expect to have a great run too hopefully.

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The Young Bucks were prominently positioned, Kenny was prominently positioned, Hangman was prominently positioned from the beginning. So no I don't think it was. I think it was an effort to showcase a lot of other people and build strong wrestlers like Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho, Darby Allin and PAC."

Check out the lineup for AEW's Winter Is Coming Special below:

  • AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega
  • Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale
  • Darby Allin & Cody Rhodes vs. Powerhouse Hobbs & Ricky Starks
  • Chris Jericho vs. Frankie Kazarian
  • Britt Baker vs. Layla Hirsch