Tony Khan has been a lifelong fan of pro-wrestling. An ardent fan of WCW during its heyday, he took a lot of inspiration from the Monday Night Wars. However, Khan is also conscious about not repeating a key mistake.
During the 90s, WCW signed a some huge stars from WWE, like Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall (Razor Ramon) and Kevin Nash (Diesel). It also had other megastars, like Sting, Goldberg, Bret Hart, Lex Luger, and Ultimate Warrior. Yet the product crumbled due to poor booking decisions.
Hot-shotting matches were one of those reasons, and ultimately played a role in the demise of WCW. Burning through matches is one error Tony Khan wants to avoid in AEW, as he told Barstool Sports.
"It's similar to what happened as the 90s went on. Big free agent moves happened, like WCW started to gain traction in 1994 when Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage later that year came over. And WCW already had a nice foundation of stars. And Nitro happened in 1995. And what's happening right now, it's similar, because in 1996, there was a huge wave of free agency again... And I think they [WCW] did a lot of great things along the way that nobody else has ever done... so you can't take those contributions lightly. I think they would've had a much better chance to sustain and succeed and be around a long time had they not burnt through a lot of the matches, which is something I'm very conscious of," Tony Khan said.
Tony Khan believes WCW did not use its young stars properly
The WCW cruiserweight division had stars like Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero, but they never got a chance to make it to the main event. Ultimately, the two superstars, along with plenty of others, moved to WWE and had a terrific run.
This is another mistake Khan wants to avoid.
"We're not gonna burn through every combination of matches, because first of all, we have more young stars that we developed. And I think one of the mistakes WCW made, in hindsight, was they never got to see through the growth of their young stars. Even if the company had stayed in business, Chris Jericho was gone and Eddie Guerrero was gone," Tony Khan said.
Much like WCW before its boom, AEW has a plethora of young stars, like MJF, Jungle Boy, Sammy Guevara, and Hangman Page who are likely to be the future of the promotion.
Meanwhile, Tony Khan has also signed big names like CM Punk and Bryan Danielson to get some much-needed star power to AEW. They will not just get eyeballs, but also help the young stars evolve further.
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Q. Is AEW headed the WCW way?
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