Home Notebook: Tony Khan hot-shots AEW women’s booking, Elite bleeds viewers, ‘Collision’

Notebook: Tony Khan hot-shots AEW women’s booking, Elite bleeds viewers, ‘Collision’

Chris Graham
shida vs storm
Photo: AEW

Tony Khan made a show of caving to the critics of his disjointed booking of the AEW women’s division this week, putting a women’s title match with Toni Storm and Hikaru Shida in the main event of “Dynamite.”

The effort, such as it was, died in the ratings, drawing just 807,000 viewers for the 9:45-10 p.m. ET quarter-hour, according to numbers from Wrestlenomics, which had the show as a whole averaging 894,000 viewers, peaking at 964,000 viewers for the 9-9:15 p.m. ET quarter-hour.

Blame Khan, not Storm and Shida, who pulled the upset win over Storm to walk out of “Dynamite” with the AEW women’s world title.

There was no build whatsoever for the Storm-Shida match heading into this week, though, yes, there easily could have been, if Khan and whoever is on the creative team this week had paid attention to detail.

There were hints of tension between Shida and Storm ahead of the formation of the Outkasts clique that includes Storm, Saraya and Rubo Soho earlier this year, but the two have had only the barest of contact since.

Then we get a title match and a title change out of nowhere, basically Khan hot-shotting the booking because of the heat that he’s been getting the past few weeks for how poorly the women’s division is being presented on AEW TV.

He’s had Taya Valkarie, in the past two months, as a face, a heel, a face and then a heel again; he’s pushed, then put on the shelf, Skye Blue; completely forgotten Sereena Deeb since last fall; former world champ Thunder Rosa, after being caught on TV going to visit Khan in his office ahead of the debut of “Collision,” has been nowhere to be seen; former TBS champ Jade Cargill is talking trash on AEW on social media.

There are two pay-per-views coming up in the next month, and I can’t name a single compelling current feud in the women’s division.

The booking for the women is just a jumble of one-off matches and the occasional hot-shot, like this week’s title match.

Khan needs to acknowledge that he needs help in creative.

Big drop-off for The Elite

the elite
Photo: AEW

The other bit of bad ratings news was the massive drop-off in viewers from the 9-9:15 p.m. ET quarter-hour, which opened with an MJF-Adam Cole live promo, and ended with the start of the trios match featuring three members of The Elite – The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega – against Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett and Satnam Singh.

As mentioned above, that quarter-hour averaged 964,000 viewers.

The next quarter-hour, 9:15-9:30 p.m. ET, which featured the end of the trios match, and a live promo with the Bucks, Omega and Adam Page, cratered – averaging 863,000 viewers.

The Elite, in other words, lost 10.5 percent of the audience that they’d inherited, and the rest of the show never recovered, ratings-wise, from there.

The big news of the day going into the show, the 200th edition of “Dynamite,” had been about the Elite guys re-upping with AEW, reportedly signing new four-year deals to stay with the company that they had helped found back in 2019.

The money terms weren’t made public, but you can guess that Khan is throwing more green at Omega, Page and the Jacksons.

The sharp decline in viewers for their segment that we saw this week is part of a disturbing trend in that respect for Khan and AEW.

But hey, it’s his money.

Updated ‘Collision’ card for Saturday night

punk starks
Photo: AEW

The main event, I presume – they could start the show with this, but if they’re smart, they keep us watching until the end – has CM Punk defending his version of the AEW world title against Ricky Starks.

No way Punk loses here, so it will be interesting to see how this one plays out to keep Starks strong heading into “All In” and “All Out.”

Other stuff that we know about:

  • We hear from The Acclaimed. Which is pretty much all we get from The Acclaimed anymore.
  • FTR defends the tag belts against Big Bill (stupid name for a good worker) and Brian Cage
  • Kris Statlander defends the TBS title against Mercedes Martinez

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].