Tony Khan, the Founder and CEO of All Elite Wrestling (AEW), has openly expressed his opinion that the Ring of Honor (ROH) and AEW appeal to divergent demographics within the wrestling community, each catering to its unique audience's preferences and demands.
Khan voiced this perspective during a media interaction following the most recent ROH event. In Khan's view, AEW boasts a more extensive, more diverse fanbase, whereas ROH caters effectively to the more zealous, hardcore fans of the wrestling world.
This distinct segmentation, he believes, is a product of the different missions and visions these two wrestling promotions embody.
Khan's Vision for Independent ROH
Khan took ownership of ROH in March 2022, pledging to operate it independently of AEW, albeit hinting at the potential utilization of ROH as a breeding ground for future AEW talent.
The recently held "Death Before Dishonor" event in New Jersey, which featured a loaded card of twelve matches, exemplifies the exciting, high-octane wrestling ROH offers its fans. Standout bouts included Athena's successful defense of the ROH Women's World Championship against Willow Nightingale and Pac's challenge to Claudio Castagnoli for the ROH World Championship.
At the post-event media scrum, Khan articulated his satisfaction with ROH's current state, simultaneously distinguishing his objectives for the company from those he holds for AEW. He views both companies as fulfilling different roles within the wrestling world, with ROH targeting a more niche audience compared to AEW's broader worldwide reach.
Although acknowledging that AEW's emergence disrupted ROH's standing as the number two wrestling company in North America and potentially the world, Khan expressed his firm belief that ROH remains influential, potent, and well-supported.
He added that it continues to serve as a significant player in the industry, despite not holding the position as the second-largest company globally. The event, Death Before Dishonor, notwithstanding last-minute alterations due to injuries, still featured appearances from wrestling icons such as Samoa Joe, Claudio Castagnoli, Pac, Athena, and Daniel Garcia.
Tony Khan's delight at owning ROH was palpable as he spoke of the pleasure he derives from booking matches for both ROH and AEW, emphasizing that the two cater to different audiences, thereby shaping his expectations accordingly.