AEW star Frankie Kazarian lavished praise on Shahid and Tony Khan for their treatment of wrestlers in All Elite Wrestling, saying AEW stars are treated more like athletes than wrestlers.
The former AEW Tag Team Champion has been with the company from day one, experiencing the trials and tribulations AEW has faced since its inception in 2019.
Along with former SoCal Uncensored members Christopher Daniels and Scorpio Sky, Kazarian was among the first names to sign with AEW officially. They were joined by Hangman Adam Page, Cody Rhodes, and The Young Bucks.
Speaking on GAW TV with former IMPACT Wrestling colleagues Mickie James, Victoria, and SoCal Val, Kazarian reflected on his time in AEW so far, comparing it to the early days of IMPACT (formally known as TNA):
"This is kind of like the second company that I’ve been part of almost since day one. TNA/IMPACT, I joined, you know, ten months, a year into its existence. With AEW, I was around before day one. I was involved in meetings the summer before, real clandestine-type stuff, discussing what we wanted AEW to be and to see where it’s at right now is...it’s really mind blowing."
Kazarian praised AEW President Tony Khan and his father Shahid for how their NFL background has meant that the wrestlers are treated like athletes and not like "cogs on the wheel."
"One of the main things I think that sets AEW apart from at least any company I’ve been a part of is the fact that the Khans and the management team come from the NFL and they’re dealing with high dollar athletes. So we are treated very much like athletes. We are not just cogs on the wheel. They realize that the athletes are the lifeblood so the way they take care of us medically, the way they take care of us in terms of travel, the way they take care of us in terms of checking in on our mental health." (H/T: POST Wrestling)
Tony Khan has a huge background in sports that helped AEW in its early years
With Frankie Kazarian touching on the fact that Tony Khan's NFL background has helped the wrestlers in AEW feel more like athletes, it's important to note the NFL isn't the only plate that Khan spins daily.
Along with the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, Tony is the co-owner of Fulham Football Club, where he oversees recruitment. It has paid off massively as Fulham won the English Championship in 2022, getting promoted to the Premier League.
This background in sports made its way into how AEW books talents, with their rankings being an important indicator of who's next in line for a shot at any given championship.
With the recent acquisition of Ring of Honor, Tony Khan has his hands full, meaning he now has two wrestling companies to run. However, if the success of Fulham is anything to go by, AEW and ROH are in safe hands.