AEW: Tony Khan Names Best Matches, Moments and Breakout Stars of 2021

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AEW president Tony Khan was a recent guest on Barstool Sports’ My Mom’s Basement podcast, where he named off some of his personal choices for the Best of 2021. For Match of the Year, Khan went with the Britt Baker vs. Thunder Rosa Lights Out Match from St. Patrick’s Day Slam and the Steel Cage Match between The Young Bucks and Lucha Brothers at the All Out pay-per-view. Khan picked CM Punk’s AEW debut and Bryan Danielson & Adam Cole’s surprise arrivals at All Out for best moments, then for Breakout Performer of the Year he named AEW Women’s World Champion Dr. Britt Baker while giving nods to AEW’s four pillars — MJF, Darby Allin, Sammy Guevara and Jungle Boy.

AEW will wrap up its 2021 schedule with one last major event, Winter is Coming, this Wednesday in Garland, Texas. Four matches have been confirmed for the show so far, including an AEW World Championship match between Hangman Page & Bryan Danielson and MJF vs. Dante Martin for possession of the Dynamite Diamond RIng.

I played a little ‘Year End Awards’ game with @TonyKhan and got his picks for some big categories….

Tony’s Match(es) of the Year:
-Britt Baker vs Thunder Rosa; Lights Out (TV)
-Young Bucks vs Lucha Bros; Steel Cage (PPV) pic.twitter.com/BDq5oJsp7g

— Robbie Fox (@RobbieBarstool) December 9, 2021

Tony’s Moment(s) of the Year:
-CM Punk returns to wrestling at The First Dance (TV)
-Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson debut at All Out (PPV) pic.twitter.com/OOlxXnwLch

— Robbie Fox (@RobbieBarstool) December 9, 2021

Tony’s Breakout Performer of the Year: @RealBrittBaker
-Honorable mentions: MJF, Jungle Boy, Darby Allin, Sammy Guevara pic.twitter.com/gtmHfU64vB

— Robbie Fox (@RobbieBarstool) December 9, 2021

Khan confirmed earlier this year that he restructured the creative booking process within AEW at the end of 2019, scrapping a booking committee with the executive vice presidents in favor of running the shows himself.

“Around the start of 2020, the end of 2019, I moved more towards me writing the show, and I think it helped,” he told PW Torch. “And I think the show has been better for it. Not because everybody doesn’t have any good ideas, because they’re still contributing their ideas, that part hasn’t changed. The idea of getting everybody in a room together and trying to spitball ideas, and then three people get really into one idea and they get 10 steps down the road on it, and the other two people are like, ‘What is this?’ That’s just an example.

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“But in general, I have found it much easier and more productive if I just try to organize a show at home between shows and have a good idea arriving for TV what I want to do next week,” he added. “Which is why, generally, until we get pretty close to the pay-per-view, we are always announcing matches a week ahead. Then when we get closer to the pay-per-views and we are building the pay-per-views, and I am only announcing a few things as opposed to the whole card.”

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