Tony Khan discusses contingency for recent AEW debut

Pantera's iconic track sets stage for Rob Van Dam's AEW entry

by Noman Rasool
Tony Khan discusses contingency for recent AEW debut

The atmosphere in the All Elite Wrestling arena became electrifying as the iconic heavy metal track by Pantera blared through the speakers, signaling the much-anticipated entrance of Rob Van Dam. This latest foray is in line with AEW's recent approach of utilizing licensed music for its wrestlers' entrances.

Notable examples include the familiar tunes accompanying the arrivals of stars like Ruby Soho, HOOK, and the legendary CM Punk. These aren't just generic beats but are songs recognized and celebrated beyond the confines of the wrestling ring.

The integration of licensed music into AEW events, while undoubtedly enhancing the entertainment factor, doesn't come without its complexities. The rights to use these renowned tracks, especially on a platform as widely broadcasted as television, can come at a significant price.

Moreover, obtaining these rights isn't just about meeting the financial aspects; the artists themselves need to give their consent.

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Given the potential challenges, what would have been the course of action if, for instance, Pantera had declined AEW's request? This query was posed to Tony Khan, the President of AEW, during his appearance on the Battleground Podcast.

Reflecting on the matter, Khan acknowledged the existence of an alternative track that could have been used for Rob Van Dam’s debut. However, he was candid in expressing his relief and satisfaction at securing "Walk" by Pantera.

He said, "We did have a backup in the wings for RVD’s AEW stint, but the effect wouldn't have been identical. That's why I felt it was worth it to invest extra and ensure we acquired ‘Walk’ by Pantera. Thankfully, Pantera was incredibly collaborative, and we struck a deal that was reasonable for both parties”.

Expanding on the subject, Khan drew an interesting analogy, likening the process of obtaining music licenses in wrestling to the trades in professional sports. "Every trade is its unique transaction. For it to materialize, there has to be mutual agreement," he explained.

"Similarly, in wrestling, the negotiation for music rights isn’t unilateral. A fair deal needs to be struck, ensuring all involved parties are content. However, the definition of 'fair' is subjective. Sometimes, the financial demands are, in my opinion, exorbitant." This narrative underscores the intricate balance between enhancing viewer experience through iconic tracks and the multifaceted challenges accompanying it.

Tony Khan Aew Rob Van Dam