The unfortunate incident involving Matt Hardy at AEW All Out last Saturday illustrated one of the biggest weaknesses in the management of AEW. AEW President Tony Khan is, at heart, a lifelong wrestling fan who still marks out over wrestling stars. This isn't really new information, but it's interesting to note that Khan actually identified this very problem during the media call that took place a few days before All Out.
Khan was discussing how running AEW changed his relationship with wrestling, and a lot of his focus was on how great it is to work with Tony Schiavone and how he hopes that AEW has been rewarding for the legendary announcer. But that same desire to please his childhood heroes also applies to some of the wrestlers, including Matt Hardy, and just days before the PPV, Khan acknowledged the need to be able to lock that side of himself away when making business decisions, something that he seemingly failed to do when making the decision to restart the match between Matt Hardy and Sammy Guevara at All Out.
"And I bring Tony up specifically because throughout the year he's been with us and even through the darkest days of the pandemic through the shut down when we ran a bunch of tape shows in April and got it all together in a marathon, Tony was such a workhorse and post-production," Khan said. "And so I bring him up not exclusively. I had these experiences all the time as I sit in Gorilla, you know, with Dean Malenko and Jerry Lynn working through the matches, but I also don't really have any time to think about it because it's so hectic and crazy. But every day, I share an office and a meeting space with Chris Jericho or Matt Hardy. It's pretty surreal. And to think that Chris Jericho and Matt Hardy are going to be in very, very prominent matches on All Out makes me really smile. But I also can't really be biased or think of it that way."
Nobody's perfect, and in the opinion of many fans, Tony Khan failed to live up to that aspiration last Saturday when he allowed Matt Hardy to go back out and finish the match after knocking himself unconscious at All Out. But hopefully, it's a mistake Khan and AEW can learn from, as the company is still barely a year old and will have a lot of opportunities to try again.