Being busy is nothing new for Tony Khan.

The 39-year-old native of Urbana-Champaign, Ill., wears many hats as the president, founder and booker of All Elite Wrestling, the senior vice president of football technology and analytics for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the director of football operations for Fulham. Being busy comes with the job(s).

But the past several weeks have been different. Khan closed the purchase of Ring of Honor from Sinclair Broadcasting. The Jaguars brought in a new coaching staff under Doug Pederson and had the first overall pick in last month’s NFL Draft, taking Georgia defensive end Travon Walker. Fulham’s campaign for promotion to the Premier League hit its crescendo with the Cottagers claiming the Championship title and a return to the top-flight of English football after only a one-year absence.

On top of all of that, there was the day-to-day operation of AEW as the company builds towards the Double or Nothing pay-per-view on May 29 in Las Vegas, followed by a joint-PPV with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, dubbed Forbidden Door, on June 13.

Khan concedes this stretch has been more than challenging, but worth it.

“It was the most intense run of work I’ve ever had by far, but it’s been very rewarding,” Khan told “I think with the Jags, we’ve built a very young team and hired an awesome coach to help lead Trevor Lawrence, a young offence, and a young defence. We’ve just acquired a lot of players on both sides of the ball through both the draft and free agency and a new coaching staff under a very experienced leader in Doug Pederson. And with Fulham, it’s all come together so well under the leadership of [manager] Marco Silva. We’ve had the best results we’ve ever had [in the Championship] in earning promotion back to the Premier League and winning the league championship.”

While Khan says he’s getting better in dividing his time over his many ventures, new demands keep popping up.

“In some ways, yes, in terms of like having a process for navigating things and a process for compartmentalizing and balancing responsibilities and getting stuff done [it’s better], but also things have gotten more challenging,” Khan said. “We’ve added more events and things have come up like the Ring of Honor purchase and new partnerships like AEW and New Japan partnering for Forbidden Door. We’re going back to Vegas for our biggest show ever, Double or Nothing, and the whole Owen [Hart Foundation] Cup tournament…so many awesome things are happening and it’s challenging with so many things coming up, but I’ve learned to balance it better and better, I think, with each passing month as we’ve gone on. And the results have been pretty good with AEW, in particular with our pay-per-view, and live-event business has truly never been bigger.”

The finals, both men’s and women’s, of the inaugural Owen Hart Foundation Cup tournament, held in honour of the late, great Calgary native, will go down at Double or Nothing, with the tournament proper kicking off on the May 11 edition of Dynamite. There had been some speculation in recent weeks whether Hart’s elder brother, the legendary Bret “The Hitman” Hart would play a part in tournament with conflicting reports regarding the kind of contract Hart is under with World Wrestling Entertainment. For his part, Hart told Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer that his deal was strictly for merchandising and later told Lucha Libre Online that while he would love to return to AEW, he was “happy at home.”

Khan confirmed that Hart would not be making a return to the company.

“Not right now. I think Bret himself said that,” Khan said of the seven-time world champion. “First of all, we have a great respect for Bret Hart as a company and as individuals. A lot of the wrestlers here and myself respect Bret Hart as a great person and a great wrestler. He would always be somebody we would treasure whenever he’s around. He was involved in the first Double or Nothing [in 2019, when he unveiled the AEW World Championship for the first time]. He said he’s happy at home right now. It’s a great thing he’s got going and we’ve just got so much respect for Bret Hart.”

While Bret Hart might not be in AEW, his influence can certainly be felt in the recent work of FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) and CM Punk, three devotees of the Hitman. Both the Mar. 23 match between Punk and Harwood and the Owen Hart qualifying match between Harwood and Wheeler on Apr. 27 featured some of Hart’s signature spots and offence.

“It’s an honour to pay respect to Bret Hart and, of course, and it’s something that Dax and Cash and CM Punk in particular have bonded over and had great matches with each other and with other people along the way – Dustin Rhodes had a great match with CM Punk, also, that I think reminded some people of the matches he had himself with Bret in the past,” Khan said. “Now there’s opportunities ahead for big matches with all of those people.”

One match in particular is set for Wednesday’s Dynamite when Harwood meets Adam Cole in an Owen Hart quarter-final contest that could feature echoes of the past and allusions to one of the greatest rivalries in pro wrestling history: Bret Hart versus Shawn Michaels.

“You have somebody who is a disciple of Bret Hart, a student of Bret Hart, against Adam Cole, who is a student of Shawn Michaels,” Khan said. “To have a student of Bret Hart against a student of Shawn Michaels and, frankly, Triple H, it’s really something to behold and it makes the match that much more interesting…it’s a cool clash of styles, so to speak, and a blend of wrestling history, I think, in seeing two people who have a respect for wrestling history, but in particular, seeing the association of the two men is kinda cool.”

Even with the culmination of the Owen Hart Foundation Cup and a huge AEW World Championship match between current titleholder Adam “Hangman” Page and Punk, Khan won’t have much time to rest on his laurels after Double or Nothing with Forbidden Door arriving only weeks later. While NJPW stars like “Switchblade” Jay White, KENTA and Tomohiro Ishii have already appeared on AEW programming, the June PPV will feature a slate of AEW versus NJPW dream matches at Chicago’s United Center. It’s something that Khan says had been in the planning stages for a while.

“We’ve spoken for a while between our offices, and I talked to New Japan about collaborating on a show,” Khan said. “We both wanted to do it and I think this was the time when it made sense because we have weekly television commitments and live shows every single week of the year…and New Japan gave us some dates when it made sense for them to be able to send people over. So, we circled it a long time ago and said this is the time, the window, the weekend when New Japan would be able to get the top stars in America for those people to make their debuts in an AEW environment, in a building where we had such an historic debut ourselves for the “First Dance” and CM Punk’s arrival in AEW.”

As for the actual logistics of the show, Khan says he will be working in collaboration with New Japan booker Gedo.

“We’re planning it together,” Khan said. “We’re gonna be two-man keys and turn them together like a submarine. We’re going to agree to a great card of matches. For the two of us, I think it will be fun working with him…we’re putting stuff together and now we’re kinda taking our separate ideas and separate stories and trying to find ways to make everything work with our people getting involved on each other’s shows and our own respective shows and stories and staying faithful to the great things we do in AEW and the great things they do in New Japan Pro-Wrestling.”

Khan has made it a point to try to create certain traditions in AEW’s short history, with shows like Double or Nothing in Las Vegas, the Dynamite before Thanksgiving in the Chicago area and the Fourth of July-week television tapings in Jacksonville. Another such tradition is All Out in Chicago, but with Forbidden Door in Chicago, Khan concedes that could change for 2022 with the Labour Day weekend event potentially being held elsewhere.

“We’re going to talk more about that, but I think one thing for sure is that from the beginning, Chicago has been an awesome market for AEW and I’m very excited about doing lots of shows there,” Khan said. "I think All Out is the biggest show we’ve ever done so far before on pay-per-view and it’s another one of our landmark events where we’ve reached our highest highs so far. We’ve got a great history there at the NOW Arena, formerly the Sears Center, in Hoffman Estates near Schaumburg, the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I think we can continue that, potentially, but on the other hand, there’s a lot of places around the world where All Out would be a great show and we’re going to continue exploring options here.”

One potential place is Toronto, a market that has yet to host an AEW event. The Khan family has history in Ontario with ownership of Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel and a Flex-N-Gate, the auto parts company owned by family patriarch Shad Khan, factory in Windsor. Though Khan says a date for the Toronto area has yet to be confirmed, he and the company hope for one in the near future with relaxed international travel restrictions.

“I really want to get up to Toronto, and now I think travel restrictions hopefully will continue to ease and make it much more possible to bring in such a large crew of people – not just wrestlers, staff and coaches, but so many people involved in the production and backstage – with the travel and logistics involved," Khan said. “It’s far more manageable, I think, today than it was six months ago or especially a year ago. So, hopefully soon we can get up to Toronto.”

As potential markets grow for AEW, so does the size of its roster. High-profile recent additions include Toni Storm, Danhausen, Keith Lee and Shane “Swerve” Strickland. With three hours of television programming and two streaming shows, there is only a finite amount of time available for Khan to showcase his talents every week. It’s a difficult balance, Khan acknowledges.

“Trying to keep as many people involved as possible means very hard choices,” Khan said. “I spend a lot of time thinking about it and there’s a lot of great minds, great coaches here [doing the same] and a lot of people to keep in mind for spots that are available because it’s such a huge roster of great pro wrestlers.”

Even if a particular performer might not be on a given episode of Dynamite or Rampage, Khan says it’s important for as many people as possible to be engaged in storylines or feuds.

“We try to do it as much as possible and it’s so important to me,” Khan said. “I spend so many hours a week thinking about how to do that without oversaturating Dynamite, Rampage, and our pay-per-views. We have other great vehicles – of course, the “forbidden door” allows for people to go wrestle in other companies, but we also have our own AEW programming that hundreds of thousands of people watch every week on YouTube with AEW Dark and Dark: Elevation on Mondays and Tuesdays.”

Khan credits the company’s YouTube shows for helping him to continue to develop talent and turn some lesser-known acts into bona fide stars.

“Streaming has also helped us find new stars, identify, train and get experience for people who have become regulars who are featured on television like Powerhouse Hobbs or finding The Acclaimed separately and putting them together – Max Caster and Anthony Bowens had never teamed – and refining that act and developing that entrance with Caster rapping and Anthony with that signature line,” Khan said. “There’s Red Velvet and a number of other people who have come though AEW Dark and have made the company even stronger and continue to have that pipeline of both veterans and younger, developing talent on Dark and Dark: Elevation in addition to the three hours of TV we have and occasional specials like the Battle of the Belts hourly specials and our quarterly pay-per-views.”

And even as Khan tries to stay on top of things, there’s no guarantee that the fans will go along with particular parts of his vision. When that happens, Khan must roll with the punches and call audibles.

One such scenario occurred in a recent double turn during the TNT Championship feud between Sammy Guevara and Scorpio Sky. While both popular babyfaces on their own, real-life couple Guevara and Conti have found themselves booed out of buildings since becoming an on-screen item. Instead of fighting it, Khan turned them heel, with Sky going babyface.

“It’s different and it puts me in a unique circumstance, and we’ll soon see how it turns out,” Khan said. “It led to a second championship win for Scorpio Sky and another reign for Sammy Guevara. It was kind of unprecedented for it all to happen so quickly, but on the other hand, a lot of things changed, and circumstances changed. It all happened in real time, and it made for exciting matches and exciting TV. Scorpio Sky’s second championship win was better than the first and it made it all worthwhile and now Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti are in a very interesting place in pro wrestling. They just returned to America from a trip, and I personally really like them as a couple and individually. I think it’s great that they’ve made this connection, this family connection and that he’s so close with her and her family. I’m happy for them, but a lot of fans are not. That’s okay, too, and I think they’re okay with that. They’re going to embrace it and they don’t care. They’re both great wrestlers for AEW, but it’s a little bit different than how I expected it was all going to turn out. But that’s how it goes, and I think the most important thing is that they’re happy and the fans are okay, too, even if they don’t like them anymore.”

Although the fans can surprise Khan, it’s normally the AEW booker doing the surprising. One such surprise could be introducing new titles. With the likes of House of Black, the Blackpool Combat Club and Death Triangle among other stables currently in AEW, bringing in trios championships to the company seems to be a likely move with such a deep roster.

It’s one that Khan has been on the record in favour of, telling Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp earlier this year that he would like to wait until Kenny Omega is healthy before introducing them, but Meltzer reported in the Observer last week that trios title belts have already been made.

It turns out they might not be the only new titles.

“I saw Dave reported it and nobody’s asked me on the record yet, but it is truthful that I have made the belts,” Khan said. “I made them a long time ago, to be honest with you. They’ve never been seen, and I did have them made. I do have more championship belts in my possession that have never been unveiled than anybody might suspect. The TBS Championship was in my office for months at the shows before anybody knew it was going to be unveiled, for example, recently. The Ring of Honor purchase and now the great stable of champions[hips] and IP and, not only the legacy of past events, but the great slate of, I think, potential future events we can do with Ring of Honor and all that was kind of a surprise to everybody that we kept under wraps, that came together more quickly, whereas the trios championships are something I’ve thought about for a long time. But there are more championship belts than people might think that I’ve had up my sleeve and the trios championship are, arguably, the foremost.”

Fans will just have to wait to see just what else might be up the sleeve of the AEW owner.