Tony Khan gets backlash over Twitter comment about Big Swole

Jan 1, 2022 - by Colin Vassallo

Tony Khan’s tweet, as a reply to Big Swole’s comments, sparked a huge backlash on social media, some in his favor, but many against the way he handled the situation.

Khan, defending AEW’s diversity record, closed his tweet by saying that he did not re-sign Swole because “her wrestling wasn’t good enough.” Many saw it as a sign of disrespect and not the way the president of a promotion should handle criticism.

A couple of AEW stars like Jade Cargill and Powerhouse Hobbs jumped to Khan’s rescue. Cargill said that she had no prior wrestling experience and was given a “once in a lifetime” high-profile debut with Shaq and Cody Rhodes. Hobbs said that he has been featured in some heavy spots along with other minorities and said if someone has an issue to pick with someone else, “pick up the phone.”

Extras coordinator Shawn Dean also defended his boss, saying as a black male in the office, he’s giving as many opportunities to minority talents as he can every single week.

AEW’s live events coordinator Rafael Morffi also came to the defense, saying he was disappointed to read about the diversity issue and he is 100% Latino and the company along with Khan value and offer him autonomy as an executive to make big decisions on their behalf.

But the reaction from fans has been completely opposite. Khan, who is usually immune from fan criticism, received his fair share of backlash over the way he handled the response, not so much about defending the way he uses minorities on the show, but rather about the parting shot to Swole.

Earlier last year, Khan described Swole as a great wrestler with a great personality and who continued to get better in the ring. She even got an AEW Women’s title shot against Hikaru Shida in October 2020 but was then largely relegated to Dark tapings since then.

Lio Rush, who is now part of the AEW roster, was not happy with the way Khan responded. “I’m not cool with any of this shit to be honest,” he said in the first tweet. He then tweeted to Khan to apologize, all in caps.

2 Responses

  1. JG says:

    While I think Swole’s comments were a stretch considering the number of POC wrestlers featured/pushed consistently on AEW programming, I also feel like Khan’s response was hot-headed and way on the defensive. It makes him look immature by taking a pot shot at someone who’s pretty irrelevant to the big picture of his company.

    Swole isn’t a factor in AEW anymore so why give her any type of response when as we’ve seen there are plenty of people working in AEW that feel the complete opposite of her. Khan has had a couple of instances recently of defensive responses that get him in hot water with fans. Hopefully this time he takes it as learning to just keep the blinders on and not worry about the inconsequential nature of an ex-employee’s bitter anecdotes.

  2. Dick Hertz says:

    Tony’s heel turn begins.

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