Tony Khan Explains Why AEW Only Runs Four Pay-Per-Views Annually

Tony Khan Explains Why AEW Only Runs Four Pay-Per-Views Annually - September 2021

In an appearance on the Bloomberg Business of Sports podcast, Tony Khan detailed why AEW only runs four pay-per-view events annually


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AEW has emerged as serious competition to WWE, but the quantity of pay-per-views certainly isn't a key reason why.

WWE runs double-digit pay-per-view events annually, far more than the amount AEW performs each year. In 2019, the company ran five events: Double or Nothing, Fyter Fest, Fight for the Fallen, All Out And Full Gear. The first four were held before AEW's weekly Dynamite program premiered on Oct. 2, 2019.

As was the case in 2020, AEW performed the Revolution (March 7), Double or Nothing (May 30) and All Out (Sept. 5) pay-per-views. Full Gear, the final AEW pay-per-view of 2021, will also be held in November. By the end of 2021, AEW will have performed four pay-per-views for the second straight year.

During an appearance on the Bloomberg Business of Sports podcast (h/t WrestleZone), AEW President and CEO Tony Khan explained the thinking behind the decision to run far less four pay-per-view events compared to WWE:

"They do a lot of shows, at least one a month. I don’t put on that many of these big PPVs. I really try to focus on television product. The three hours of television and our shoulder programming and developmental content is really a core focus for me and then the stories build up to the quarterly PPV events and it’s pretty exciting because the closer we get to the PPVs you can really feel the excitement building, these stories building, people can’t wait to see these big matches."

While AEW has one last pay-per-view event scheduled for 2021, WWE has four more: Extreme Rules (this Sunday), Crown Jewel (Oct. 21), Survivor Series (Nov. 21) and a show to be announced for Dec. 12. That would presumably be the annual TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs show that is traditionally held in December.

WWE Should Do Less Pay-Per-Views

One can certainly argue that WWE runs way too many pay-per-views. A lot of the non-major shows tend to be filled with predictable finishes and no real surprises. The four marquee events — Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series — rarely disappoint. Money in the Bank and TLC are usually action-packed and full of drama as well.

This isn't to say that WWE should significantly reduce the amount of pay-per-views. There is no way they'll follow AEW's format of doing four annually, but it wouldn't hurt to drop a few of the pay-per-view shows involving main event stars. It would certainly add more excitement and hype for the matches, and that's something AEW easily accomplishes with the less-is-more approach.