AEW Boss Tony Khan Talks ‘Dynamite’s’ Three-Year Anniversary, Lessons Learned and ‘National Scissoring Day’

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) is celebrating the third anniversary of its weekly Wednesday night show, “Dynamite,” and company leader Tony Khan is thrilled to have seen the program grow by leaps and bounds in that time.

“I think we’ve done about 160 episodes of ‘Dynamite’ now, and we’ve learned a lot in the last several years that I think has helped improve the flow of the show,” Khan said in an interview with Variety. “I think we’ve developed a lot of new stars in these three years to where we can put on more consistent great cards week to week.”

The very first episode of “Dynamite” aired on Oct. 2, 2019 on TNT (the show now airs on TBS), but that was not the first AEW card to air on television. The company had already run multiple pay-per-views prior to “Dynamite’s” launch, something Khan credits for a lack of serious nervousness going into that first broadcast on TNT.

The show got off to a strong start both with wrestling fans and in the ratings, but things began to stall toward the end of the year.

“That was when I started to say, ‘You know, a lot of these setbacks were very preventable,’” Khan said. “And there were things that I didn’t even want to do in the first place. So I just said going forward that I’m only going to do ideas that I feel good about. … As I gained experience in wrestling, I started to gain more confidence.”

It has not been entirely smooth sailing since then, however. Khan has had to contend with a number of issues with many of his top talents recently, ranging from injuries that kept people sidelined for months to more personal matters. According to multiple reports, AEW executive vice presidents and wrestlers The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega were involved in a legitimate physical fight with CM Punk backstage following the “All Out” pay-per-view on Sept. 4. All those involved with the incident have been suspended and stripped of any championships they held at the time.

Khan says he is unable to comment as the investigation into the incident is ongoing, but he is willing to share his thoughts on another top AEW talent with whom he has had a strained relationship of late: Maxwell Jacob Friedman, or MJF. MJF also reportedly had issues with Khan earlier in the year, supposedly over MJF’s desire for a more lucrative contract given his prominence as one of AEW’s top performers. Following a heated promo from MJF on “Dynamite” in June, in which he called out Khan and the fans, he did not appear at any AEW events until making a surprise return at “All Out.”

“It’s very professional,” Khan said of his current relationship with MJF. “He’s been part of AEW from day one, and he’s one of the most important stars on our TV show. … Whether you love MJF or love to hate MJF, I think he’s one of the wrestlers who’s connected with the audience in recent years and made himself a star. He’s also had the company behind him to help build him and support him. I think that he is the total package of everything it takes to be a successful pro wrestler. I think he has it all. He’s a really important part of AEW.”

Khan also praised those now overseeing AEW as part of the newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery, specifically thanking Nancy Daniels and Scott Lewers for working with him and offering “amazing support.”

“They’ve integrated us into the new company and given us the opportunity to be involved in their most valuable intellectual property and weave it into AEW,” he said. “It’s really exciting.” Those integrations include themed episodes around both “Shark Week” and the launch of HBO’s “House of the Dragon.” Khan also described the move to TBS as a “big success for us,” saying that that the time since the move “is the hottest we’ve been this whole year.”

Finally, Khan spoke about another special event happening as part of this week’s “Dynamite” — National Scissoring Day. The event was born out of the rise of an increasingly popular catchphrase and hand gesture coined by The Acclaimed, the current AEW tag team champions. Khan praised The Acclaimed — which consists of Max Caster, Anthony Bowens and manager Billy Gunn, a.k.a. Daddy Ass — as AEW’s first homegrown tag team champions, saying they worked their way up to the point “where the audience was completely behind them.”

“They found ways to connect with the audience, but also to have great matches, and you have to be able to do both to be a truly top wrestler,” he said. “Scissoring is something that really connects to the fans. So I think all this week and especially around Wednesday, and maybe the continuing into Thursday at school the next day, there’s going to be people scissoring at school, at work and in the audience at AEW, and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a great way to greet somebody.”

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