It’s been a big month for All Elite Wrestling with the company two Fyter Fest shows on July 1 and July 8 with several title matches and PPV quality level matches on both weeks of TV. AEW’s Owner, President and booker Tony Khan did some interviews this week talking about this Wednesday’s Fight for the Fallen event that is raising money to help people dealing with Coronavirus. He did a long interview with PWInsider and here are some of those highlights.
The home base for AEW has been Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, which is connected to TIAA Bank Field where the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars play. The Jaguars are owned by Tony’s father Shad Khan. Tony clarified why the company was able to use that space.
“Well, the city actually owns the building. The Jaguars’ organization leases. We have a long term lease agreement with the city. But the City of Jacksonville actually owns these facilities, but we worked out an arrangement. We have access to them and we are a tenant of these facilities. We have a great relationship with the city and had worked it out where we could do this safely, and got their blessing.”
Tony also talked about how AEW hasn’t released anybody even though they have been dealing with the pandemic that has forced them to run events with no fans.
“We haven’t let anybody go through the pandemic, because I know it’s a very challenging time to go out and get work. I made this statement early in the pandemic that we haven’t let anybody go. We still haven’t let anybody go. I can’t do that forever. Eventually, this company will have to sever ties with people, but so far we haven’t let anybody go and there’s a lot of people overseas right now that have not been able to get over here. And, at some point, I had to look at how sustainable that is with travel, but to date we’ve kept everybody on. There are a couple people that have nothing to do with the pandemic, but due to their own conduct I suspended without pay while I try to decide what I’m going to do with them, but everybody else here we’ve kept on and paid through this whole thing, which hasn’t been easy, but I think it was the right thing to do.”
“We had great revenue streams that would have made it a lot easier from the live events. Obviously, we do huge gates and we had tons of big six-figure gates coming up every single week, and it’s millions, and millions, and millions of dollars in gate receipts that are gone and we’ll never get now. People always say, ‘You can go and you can do those arenas later,’ and it’s like, ‘eah, but we would have done that anyway. We do every Wednesday.’ We’ve lost months and months of revenue that we won’t get back, and that’s okay. I mean, there’s people with bigger problems in the world than this, and if we were a tiny company that was hamstrung and didn’t have financial resources, then we wouldn’t be able to sustain it.”
Tony also explained AEW’s testing process for the Coronavirus and how everybody that’s part of the events at Daily’s Place are getting tested.
“For the last several months, we’ve been testing everybody who goes into the backstage area, anybody who comes really within, probably, 15, 20 yards of the ringside area would have been very, very, very closely tested and monitored. They’d give you a wristband when you come in, and you’d be quarantined until your test results came in. And then, that applies to anybody who’s in the backstage area or the lower bowl area. And so far, it’s been a great system for us. I think it’s very logical. And you have to have principles and be curious about them. So for us, it’s worked really well because we’ve had people that are going to be honest with us. And if they’ve been at home and they don’t feel well, why take a chance? Don’t come here. So, between testing people on site and giving a questionnaire to people in advance before they travel, it’s allowed us to keep things safe. And, knock wood, we haven’t had that kind of spread here and we’ve been able to put on shows safely, and I think that’s been great for all of us here, obviously, to keep the business going. But it’s also been great for our fans who’ve been really loyal to this pandemic with us.”
The main event of this Wednesday’s Fight for the Fallen event will see AEW World Champion Jon Moxley defending the championship against Brian Cage. The match was supposed to take place last week, but Moxley missed the event due to a health precaution. Khan was asked to talk about that process.
“I always wanted to do Fight for the Fallen and raise money for COVID. The card got shaken up a little bit and things have changed a little bit, but Jon Moxley and Brian Cage were originally going to be part of the two-day Fighter Fest that we had the last two weeks. It worked out, I think. We were able to have a great Fighter Fest over the past couple weeks. The issue between Jon and Brian is, I think, hotter than ever, so it worked out very well. Fight for the Fallen is a huge show for us. And I’m glad that we can do something to give back. That’s the idea of Fight for the Fallen is giving back. So, putting such a huge match on the card, I think it’s going to work out great, because, hopefully, it’ll drive a lot of awareness. I mean, obviously, I want to always do a good rating for the show, but also I think the first and foremost thing about Fight for the Fallen is if we can raise a lot of money for charity, which I think we can. Every little bit helps, so please if anybody out there would be willing to make a donation.”
“Last year we gave proceeds from the Live Gate and we gave, I think, it was $125,000 to the Mayor’s Victim Assistance Fund of the victims of violent crimes locally here in Northeast Florida. This year, while that’s still a very pressing issue, this year it was something new that had attacked us, which is Coronavirus. So to deal with the response this year, Fight for the Fallen we’re doing things to benefit Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund and also Feeding Northeast Florida. You can donate to these causes on our website, AEWFightForTheFallen.com. We also established a T-shirt that’s sells at PWTees at prowrestlingtees.com, and it’s the top selling shirt at Pro Wrestling Tees by far the last few days, which is awesome, because all the profits are going to charity. And I think Pro Wrestling Tees, their end of it too, they’re going to donate to charity, which is awesome. So all the profits from both AEW and Pro Wrestling Tees will be going to these good causes and it’s a cool shirt, and it represents a great card. Brian Cage and Jon Moxley is a huge match. Taz really threw some gasoline under the issue, bringing the FTW title back. And that is another fun layer of the story.”
They covered other topics in the interview including Taz introducing the FTW Title for Brian Cage, Sonny Kiss getting a TNT Title shot, why Tony tweets about television ratings and more. Check out the full interview at PWInsider now.
Khan also did a long interview with Conrad Thompson and Eric Bischoff on AEW’s Youtube channel.
You can also check out AEW’s Road to Fight for the Fallen video below.