The AEW President, Tony Khan, was recently interviewed by Sporting News about All Elite Wrestling. During the interview, he talked about the way that AEW has used wrestling legends as a part of their storylines. With the likes of Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, Tully Blanchard, Taz, Arn Anderson, and others have been a part of AEW storylines, it's clear that the company has developed a certain pattern.
Talking about the matter, Tony Khan revealed how AEW had been using legends while also letting the new and fresh wrestlers on their roster grow alongside them.
Tony Khan on AEW using wrestling legends
Tony Khan talked about the way that WCW had booked Vader and given him Harley Race as his manager to complement his character.
"I remember when Vader was 399 pounds, and he was a guy that wouldn't lose matches but he wasn't in the main events. And then all of a sudden he was the pushed heel — he's 449 pounds. Now, what happened? You could tell they were really motivated about Vader suddenly, who was working with Sting. So in 1991 Harley Race came in as Lex Luger's manager, and then he also in '92 became Vader's manager. Harley Race is a great name from wrestling."
Tony Khan went on to talk about how Harley Race's presence added to Vader, without ever being the main focus himself.
"He never overshadowed Lex Luger. He never overshadowed Big Van Vader, but he was a great complement to their act, and he legitimized them. I think that's what Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Taz, Jake Roberts, some of our managers have done for us in those roles."
"So we've tried to do it in a way that enhances our current wrestlers. We were using Greg Valentine in the dog collar match to put over the stakes and the brutality of the dog collar match based on his experiences. So we use these these legendary wrestlers in a way where we revere them and respect their history, and the people that respect them will be excited to see them — but where they also help enhance our current stars and build our show for tomorrow."
AEW's methodology of using past wrestlers to enhance and build their current new talent has certainly helped to establish the AEW roster.