D-Von Dudley Shares Honest Assessment of Tony Khan and AEW

WWE Hall of Famer D-Von Dudley thinks All Elite Wrestling President and CEO Tony Khan should get some help if AEW is going to continue to be successful.
WWE D-Von Dudley Bubba Ray Dudley Bully Ray

WWE Hall of Famer D-Von Dudley thinks All Elite Wrestling President and CEO Tony Khan should get some help if AEW is going to continue to be successful. Khan has faced some backlash in recent months on how he has handled the backstage of AEW and the AEW wrestlers. AEW was the shiny new toy of pro wrestling for the last few years, but as time has gone on the shine has faded. The cracks and flaws in AEW have become more and more apparent. Fans and wrestlers have pointed to AEW President Tony Khan as a big source of the issues in AEW.

RELATED: Bryan Danielson Was Asked Why AEW Was So Popular By Vince McMahon

WWE Hall of Famer D-Von Dudley was recently a guest on Gabby AF and voiced some advice for Tony Khan and AEW. One of the big problems he sees is that Khan has too many people saying yes and not enough saying no. The former WWE Tag Team Champion stated the following:

“This is one of the problems that Tony Khan has. He has a lot of ‘yes’ people and not enough people to tell him ‘no, don’t do this.’ Because if he’s in fact really running the show fully on his own then he should know better than to do something like that [airing CM Punk and Jack Perry altercation], and that’s gonna cause nothing but negativity.”

H/T to Wrestling Inc. for transcription
AEW Tony Khan, Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli
Courtesy Of Tony Khan’s Twitter/X

Tony Khan’s Leadership Gets Criticized by CM Punk

Khan has been rumored to be in charge of various aspects of AEW, such as the on-air creative product. For someone who was never a wrestler and didn’t grow up in the business he has done a good job, but it has inherent weaknesses. Him being a fan he knows what a fan wants to see, but the backstage politics is something he doesn’t know how to address.

CM Punk had recently alleged that went to Khan in order to handle backstage problems between himself and other wrestlers. Punk claimed that Khan did not address the issues, causing them to grow much worse behind the scenes. One of those situations led to a physical backstage altercation between Punk and Perry that took place at AEW All In: London at Wembley Stadium in August 2023.

The altercation led to Punk being fired from AEW. He has since returned to WWE. As a result of the incident, Perry was suspended by AEW, and he now appears in NJPW. In light of Punk’s negative comments on his time in AEW and working with Khan during a recent interview with Ariel Helwani, Khan made a controversial decision to air the footage of the backstage incident involving Punk and Perry at All In [see below] on last week’s AEW Dynamite.

It’s speculated that Khan was trying to show why Punk was fired from the company and take some of the negative light off himself and AEW, but it backfired as fans began to chant CM Punk in the arena during the segment. Many in the wrestling business and fans were confused by Khan’s decision. D-Von Dudley also thought it was a bad decision. He also explained how showing things like that hurt AEW as a whole:

“It is a sad thing that happened in the business with the whole thing when CM Punk was there [the incident between Punk and Perry] because nobody should have to go through that stuff. No company should have to see that, but at the same token when you have the inmates running the asylum, then this is what happens. 

“Again, I’m not there. I’m not in AEW, so I don’t know the going-ons in there, but I don’t think it should’ve been appropriate to air something like that. Even if it happened months ago … That’s something that you don’t just air out. That’s your dirty laundry.”

H/T Wrestling Inc. for the transcription
Courtesy Of AEW

Dudley went on to say that because Punk has gone to the WWE and Perry is in Japan the issue was addressed already. The two wrestlers have moved on and AEW should have moved on as well. He believes Khan only did it for a cheap rating boost. 

Dudley’s comment about “the inmates running the asylum” is something that was often said about WCW. He saw some similarities between AEW, TNA, and WCW. All three had a lot of access to a lot of money. WCW used that money to acquire a lot of top-tier talent from WWF like AEW is doing with their latest being Mercedes Moné formerly Sasha Banks in WWE. 

AEW Adam Copeland Edge and Christian Cage
Courtesy Of AEW

TNA during the Dixie Carter era also had a lot of money. They hired older former WWE wrestlers, which AEW is also doing with their latest being Adam Copeland formerly Edge in WWE. WCW was bought out by WWE and TNA struggled for years.

Dudley thinks Khan should look at WCW as what to not do and look at what TNA has done in recent years so he and AEW can learn what to do. Dudley revealed that TNA’s recent success is because they brought in a new regime to freshen up the company. He thinks something similar could help AEW. He thinks if AEW doesn’t change, no one will want to go there no matter how much money they offer them.

RELATED: CM Punk Offers Brutally Honest Assessment Of Tony Khan’s AEW Leadership And Resolving Issues With His New Boss Triple H

Do you agree with D-Von Dudley that Tony Khan needs help running AEW? What area do you think Khan needs the most help in? Do you think airing the CM Punk and Jack Perry footage was a smart choice? Let us know on social media what other flaws in AEW you think need to be addressed immediately.

SOURCE: Wrestling Inc., Gabby AF, Wrestling Inc.

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Robert Watson

Just a guy reading comics, watching wrestling, and wondering if aliens exist