“The Baddest Man on the Planet” is returning to AEW.
In a wide-ranging interview with Sports Illustrated, AEW president Tony Khan revealed that Mike Tyson will appear on this Wednesday’s Dynamite.
“There are many reasons I wanted Mike to come back,” Khan says. “He made a huge impact last year at Double or Nothing, and we’re at a point where we can bring him back in front of our fans. The fans who have come to the shows in Jacksonville have added so much to AEW, and it’s important for me that our fans get to see him live. We’re excited to have Mike back.”
Tyson is no stranger to AEW. In May he presented Cody Rhodes with the new TNT championship at Double or Nothing. His second appearance, which came on the Wednesday following the pay-per-view, involved a scuffle with Chris Jericho, who happens to be returning to Dynamite this week with The Inner Circle to avenge a recent beatdown from MJF’s new group, the Pinnacle. Whether it is with Jericho or in a separate segment, there are a number of ways AEW can highlight Tyson, and the timing of the return is especially smart considering AEW is running opposite NXT’s TakeOver card.
“This is going to be a big deal,” Khan says. “With Mike coming to town, he’s going to have a real impact on Dynamite.”
AEW has had a successful run with celebrities. Snoop Dogg dropped a big splash off the top rope on a Dynamite in January, then Shaquille O’Neal set the wrestling world aflame while teaming with Jade Cargill in a tag match in March.
“Shaq is the greatest celebrity wrestler of all time,” Khan says. “Backstage, I’ve never seen anyone come in and be more genuine, spend more time working on the craft for months, as well as paying respect to the wrestlers. This is one of the biggest stars in the world, and he came in to help us. He gave to the wrestling business in a way that was incredible, and I’d be remiss not to mention that.”
In addition to this week’s Dynamite, AEW has its first house show, The House Always Wins, this Friday.
The card for the live event includes Cody Rhodes against Aaron Solow in a street fight, a battle royal where the winner meets TNT champion Darby Allin later in the evening, as well as matches that include The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, Hikaru Shida, Dr. Britt Baker and Eddie Kingston.
Although the show takes place in the same state and on the same weekend as WrestleMania, this is not an example of AEW looking to capitalize off WWE’s event. But with an influx of wrestling fans in Florida, it does stand out as a chance to benefit AEW talent and its fans at its home venue of Daily’s Place in Jacksonville.
“It’s a great chance for our talent to get in reps, and for some of our young talent to get in a match in front of a great crowd,” Khan says. “It’s also going to be meaningful since we’re going to count the wins and losses as part of our records.”
Khan’s sole focus in wrestling is constantly enhancing AEW, though, naturally, he is keenly aware of the landscape and terrain surrounding his company. And after sharing Wednesday nights with NXT since October 2019, he was asked for his insight on WWE’s third brand moving its broadcast to Tuesdays.
“I’m always very excited for Dynamite every Wednesday, and now there is more wrestling on TV every night of the week for people to watch,” Khan says. “We’d love to have all people check out Dynamite on Wednesdays, and we really want all fans to check out the show. That’s why we’re so open to working with other companies, which you’ve seen as we’ve agreed to collaborate with companies like New Japan Pro-Wrestling, AAA, Impact and the NWA.”
There was even an AEW-WWE connection, as Khan gave his blessing for Jericho to appear on Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions, which will air following WrestleMania 37 on the WWE Network.
“I agreed to that because I have so much respect for both Chris and Steve,” Khan says. “It’s a win for the fans to see them both together.”
AEW continues to unveil compelling layers for this week’s Dynamite, including Hangman Page–Max Caster, Tay Conti–The Bunny, and a six-man main event pitting Kenny Omega and The Good Brothers against Jon Moxley and The Young Bucks.
“I think Tay Conti is becoming a key part of AEW, and people are going to see that in an amazing match with Allie, who is so talented as The Bunny,” Khan says. “We’re going to bring the absolute best wrestling, and one of our biggest main events ever this week on Dynamite.
“Moxley and The Young Bucks are teaming up for the first time ever, and we know it’s always special when Kenny is in the ring against The Young Bucks. I can’t wait for people to see it.”