Tony Khan response to Big Swole

Happy new year everyone!

I haven’t been following wrestling as closely lately but I did see a lot of traction about Tony Khan responding to Big Swole.

I have to say I wasn’t a fan of that - I think his response was kind of lame and he was probably best off not addressing this or saying something along the lines of “we are trying to increase diversity and I am sorry she feels that way” would have sufficed.

The way he worded it, almost comparing himself as a sign of diversity - a rich playboy son of a billionaire - came across somewhat tone deaf.

Even if she didn’t have a point, I think it’s difficult to minimize her feelings as a black woman in this industry in the matter he did.

Should he have said it? No. This guy needs to relax with twitter.

Was he right? Absolutely. She fucking sucked.

I see plenty of minorities getting opportunities on the show, so I don’t really know what the fuck she was on about. Nobody should be made the championship because of their skin color. Get the opportunity and prove you deserve it. Most of the women’s champions have been minorities, because they deserved it.

Big Swole is just a talentless loser who couldn’t cut it.


On Big Swole: It screamed of someone crying prejudice on the way out the door because her job performance was deemed insufficient. Her anecdote about her daughter might be 100% legitimate but I’ll be honest, it has me questioning its validity. Her statement about black wrestlers in positions of status has some merit. I felt the anecdote wasn’t necessary, bordered on emotional exploitation and only caused me to hedge on her viewpoint.

On Tony Khan: I don’t know what to say. If she’s going to fire a shot, I think he has the right to say, “no, we didn’t offer you a job because you can’t hang with us.” If everything is going to be public now and talent seems to think they can express everything in the court of public opinion rather than deal with it as a professional, I think he’s got every right to respond to her claims publicly as well without the criticism that he’s not being professional.

That being said, he still could’ve worded it much better.


Oh yeah I don’t disagree at all that she didn’t seem to have a valid point and she wasn’t good and he probably felt the need to defend himself, I would just think that the guy who’s an executive would have a little more tact with regards to not just mouthing off like that.

Like you would never see Vince McMahon go on Twitter and respond like that. They would obviously filter the response, like they did when AJ went after Stephanie McMahon for women’s pay. Stephanie didn’t mouth off at her, same with Mickie James and the garbage bag


I think it’s a right to defend himself but at the same time he doesn’t have to make it sound like him being a self-appointed owner of this company makes minority friendly. That’s kind of silly considering who he is

Like I said he could’ve easily said “thanks
For the feedback. We are consistently pushing minorities in our programs and are a very inclusive organization. I am sorry Big Swole felt that way but her firing was based solely on her wrestling performance”

Like I’m not an executive but even I can see that comes across with the same message and sounds much more refined.


I concur.

As part of your executive training, how would you handle Lio Rush’s response?

I like Tony Khan and I think he’s a genuine guy and wants the best for the business, but you can tell he’s a fan and grew up on the message boards. He’s said a ton of stupid shit on Twitter.


Ha ha ha. I’m hardly an executive.

However either is Lio rush. I guess the key here is he is not an executive, and he is talent. Also, without knowing much about him he’s a talent with somewhat of a history of doing irrational things such as quitting and mouthing off and retiring. So this is not completely out of character for him.Tony is an executive. So I would use a different standard for both.

That being said I’m not sure he has to formally call out his employer like that. Even if he disagrees with Tony I think it’s a conversation he can have off-line first. If he doesn’t get the appropriate response from Tony I can see him then going public but I’m not sure that should be the first venue he uses.

I think this is analogous to the AJ Stephanie situation where it’s never a good look to publicly slam your employer. Like I said if he has issues he should bring them up first and then if he doesn’t get the right response I can see him escalating it but it seems like he jumped to this right away

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What do you do though? Call him in for a chat? Suspend him? Fire him?

It’s like real life TEW right now.

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I think you’re definitely call him in for a chat. Suspending him might not be the right look, so you could do a informal suspension where are you perhaps keep him off TV for a little bit. But I think you do have to call him in and say that in the future if he has any concerns he should raise them directly and not publicly.


The bottom line is Swole wasn’t good enough, I think everyone could see that.

But Khan doesn’t need to publicly engage like that on Twitter. We all know the dentist office match with Baker was the worst AEW ppv match of all time.

Swole can have her opinion too, but why wasn’t she more vocal when under contract?

I do think she has some points about the lack of women on the show, at least early on in AEW. But the women they’ve added have left her in the dust and probably is why she’s bitter.

There is probably also a lack of structure. There are no writers and you have to be able to convince someone that your stuff belongs on the show.

I have no clue what to say about Lio Rush, lol. He’s only been in AEW for a few months so I question why he signed or what he knows if this bothered him so much. And yelling at your boss on Twitter just doesn’t seem that bright or constructive


I think this is probably the biggest PR disaster AEW had ever had. It’s currently affecting other people as well with people commenting pro and anti on the roster.

Firstly, Big Swole’s ability. To me she was middle of the road. She could put on good matches but could also be inconsistent. I put her on the same level as Penelope Ford as the handicap match with Swole vs Ford and notably bad wrestler Rebel was one of the worst Dynamite matches ever. I bring this up simply to point out this. Her ability as a wrestler is completely irrelevant to the argument. It’s the same as Allie Katch going off on PWG’s lack of women. The point still stands regardless of the wrestler’s ability. I wouldn’t have pushed Swole over her level but that doesn’t take away from the fact AEW had a diversity issue, specifically at the top of the card.

This could be fixed with some extremely good talent coming in like Keith Lee, Shane Strickland and Ember Moon but you still have wrestlers in and out of the company that could be used I always felt Jazz could have been someone to bring in when they started as it was a rough go for a lot of the women. Also naming people who won matches doesn’t help matters and it does give off the vibe of, some of my best friends are black.

They also have an issue with their women’s division and again, Tony did have a PR blunder responding negatively to that criticism but was quick to apologize before things got out of hand like they have been now. But yeah, I thought Tony was smarter than this.

Also, in regards to Lio Rush, I’m a fan of him for standing up for what he thinks is right. He’s been complimentary to Tony so it’s not a disgruntled wrestler thing. He’s pissed that someone he likes said something really bad.

One more edit. So one thing I did see was her illness may have affected her in ring as I have seen Swole have good matches so I wanted to also bring that up.


Feelings/opinion vs some very basic known facts. Everyone is entitled to and should have a respected opinion. However is your a public person doing a public media appearance or hosting your own public show and you start saying things that are opinion but states as fact somebody can quickly point to facts and it blurs the original viewpoint and (in my opinion) hurts the authenticity / good faith nature of the opinion.

There were several outright contradictions and clear omissions of basic fact. Maybe she didn’t use the right words and instead of saying diverse should have said black. Instead of using her daughter to convey her opinion that says nobody looked like her instead of saying not enough people.

This is exactly what it was for me reading it👆 and while it doesn’t take away from somebody’s opinion, absolutely opens the door for push back and pointing to fact patterns that being the merits of the opinion into question. Yes, I do believe ones opinion can be respected while also questioned or proven factually misrepresentative of the actual situation.

Here’s another quote from the transcript:
I want nothing but the best, but I also want the change and application to happen. With promises you made to be diverse, I want to see that. Not just with black people. I would love to see a Latino or Hispanic or more Asians. I feel like Asians and Indians do not get the love. They just don’t. It’s such a big gap. I hate the fact that I turn on the
I respect she feels how she feels. I don’t walk in her shoes so I’ll trust her expressed words are how she feels. However factually, 2 of the first women’s champions were Asian. Nyla is Native American and African American. So again, there’s fact patterns and then there is personal perception and opinion which I see being conflated with fact. Everyone should independently look at the situation and think about what they know to be true (or not) and decide how valid the complaint is. Paint brushing it because a talent decided to torch it on the way out feels exactly what was designed for us on this.

The whole ‘we’re on good terms but I’m going to pretty much label them as racist or non-diverse’ was petty savage. There’s feedback and exit interview dialogue then there’s publicly taking the blow torch to them. Appears she did both. Which she’s entitled to. Her tact was lacking which leads me to TK responding.

TK should not respond to criticism stemming from IWC and especially talent and performers. It’s a very bad look and some talented workers are going to find it easy low hanging fruit to drag TK into the mud knowing he’ll respond if baited. So in no way do I defend TK responding. Let others battle the PR war. Why are wrestling companies SO bad at real life PR. You’d think these work-shoot minds would understand good PR.

I agree with the above comment that thought TK was smarter than this. I agree. Which makes me speculate if he knows who is fueling her comments which would explosive / provocative in nature and probably was going to result in civil un discourse about AEW and therefore fights back when antagonized. Either way bad to fight back on this one, even if the facts suggest a totally different narrative than some of what was said by Swole


By show of honest opinions who here has liked anything Lio has done in AEW. He has been extremely front an center in terms of getting consistent TV time despite his absences on regular extended periods. And he did a whole I’m retiring but then I’m back bit. Which I think fans largely didn’t care and were happy he was in AEW. It’s weird to get super mad at TK on twitter like he did when he’s a very good example of AEW trying to improve their diversity of notable names and giving them time to find their footing. So Lio is small proof AEW is trying and get going to cause friction for himself or the company which seems detrimental to the entire cause.

I want Lio to focus on being great so we have another person of another diversity doing great things in a company that from my view is trying to give opportunities to everyone. Attacking the opportunity maker doesn’t feel like it’s helpful to the overall goal of change.

It feels like wanting to have race debates in wrestling which if anything like the rest of society when debating it gets toxic quickly. Makes me think Swole knew exactly what she was doing on the way out which appears to be using a common refrain and amplifying it under the cover of not being attacked back because “race”. Well Tony attacked back. So he wasn’t silenced by the threat of being labeled a racist which I can applaud to a small degree. And there’s also a huge audience for brands that fight back against mislabels of such. So maybe he understands the world he’s operating in better than a loud minority of us on the interwebs.

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People who follow Fulham or English football probably aren’t surprised, this is his reputation. If anything, i’m surprised he’s managed to keep this level of arsehole at bay in relation to AEW for so long. Below are two of the most prominent football pundits in the UK tearing him a new one for his dumb tweets in 2020:

What Roy Keane says at the end of this video applies here too: “Take your medicine and look at things over the next few days”.


I want to try another post because here and other places, I see a lot of talk on, well there is diversity and yes, there is in AEW. But I want to look at it in one of my favourite ways to look at things, tier lists. Being a gaming nerd, you see this in different places, specifically Smash Bros and Pokemon. Templates are here:

So let’s look at AEW through a tier list. Start at S tier which is your undisputed top guys and special attractions to F tier, which would be enhancement talent used on Dark. That’s one reason I like AEW’s large roster, it’s really easy to establish tiers of wrestlers. So, in the S tier, for me at least, it would look like this:

S - Hangman Page, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Sting, Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes, Jon Moxley

What do they all have in common? Let’s try the A tier. Your “next in line”, upper mid card standouts.

A - MJF, Darby Allin, Jungle Boy, Christian Cage, Britt Baker, Orange Cassidy, The Lucha Bros, Adam Cole, Pac, Malaki Black, Andrade El Idolo, FTR, Sammy Guavara, Miro

There is a little more wiggle room here as there could be arguments made for the Men of the Year but to be honest, I just don’t think they get the TV time like the people above too. And hell, I might remove Andrade from there as his TV time has been sparse and Pac is a weird one with his living situation. And of course, Britt Baker I would put there as the only woman in that tier. Now of course this is my opinion but I would argue there is no woman above B tier besides Britt based on how they are presented on TV, TV time, the importance of their segments, etc. None of this has to do with wrestling ability by the way. B tier of course is where I think many of the black wrestlers are. Powerhouse Hobbs, Dante Martin, Lio Rush, the Acclaimed, Ricky Starks, Scorpio Sky with the Men of the Year and most of the top women like Ruby Soho, Thunder Rosa, Jade Cargill, Nyla Rose, Hikaru Shida, Tay Conti, etc. Now, this is my opinion but I don’t know any good reasonings outside of Scorpio Sky to be any higher on the AEW pecking order based on their TV time. Maybe Dante Martin but I’m somewhat on the fence as he’ll beat B and C tier wrestlers, but lose to MJF. I think this is what is being talked about with diversity. It’s not about Big Swole, who to me based on her TV time would have been C or D tier, but it’s about the roster as a whole. Even with a more diverse roster, the Lucha Bros aren’t getting the tag title run that the Young Bucks would get.

Nate Milton has talked about it and it’s a funny analogy. AEW’s main event scene is a white bowl of rice with a glass of milk in the middle. Even if you bring in people I mentioned before like Keith Lee, Shane Strickland and Ember Moon, where do they fit in AEW tiering wise? But yes, moral of the story is, tiering things is super fun and try to look at AEW in that way.

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They’re right, when you engage with fans on social media you will always come out looking bad. Same thing goes for engaging with disgruntled talent.