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It was going to get people talking. AEW has been a complete game changer in the wrestling world and that has been a good thing. The company is led by President Tony Khan, who has been a force in wrestling since he entered the industry. However, like everyone else, Khan is going to have some controversial moments. That was the case last week and now we are seeing the response.

Late last week, former AEW star Big Swole spoke about some of her issues with the company on her Swole Nation podcast. Several over her comments criticized AEW’s lack of diversity in management positions and in prominent roles on television. Khan responded, listing off people of color in the company and saying that he let Swole go because he did not think her wrestling abilities were good enough. Several AEW wrestlers have since responded, with a mixture of positive and negative reactions. Here are some of the responses to Khan’s comments, including Lio Rush, who has since had a conversation with Khan:

If nobody says something, then I will. Because this is fucked up and now I’m pissed.

— Lio Rush (@IamLioRush) January 1, 2022


— Lio Rush (@IamLioRush) January 1, 2022


— Lio Rush (@IamLioRush) January 1, 2022

Shawn Dean @AEW Extras Coordinator…my official title in #AEW behind the scenes, a black male in the office, giving as many opportunities to minority talents as I can every single week.

On the community team…raising awareness for inner city kids any chance I get…

— Capt. Shawn Dean (@ShawnDean773) January 1, 2022

The things we are expecting can and will happen…Trust the process

— Capt. Shawn Dean (@ShawnDean773) January 1, 2022

— PowerHouse HOBBS (@TrueWillieHobbs) January 1, 2022

Absolutely not. This is completely disrespectful, not only to Swole, but to the black community that AEW has been consistently not listened to.

I wanted to be a part of the change AEW so desperately needs but you’re showing that you’re willingly missing the point.@TonyKhan

— “The Revolutionary” Darius Lockhart (@DLockPro) January 1, 2022

It takes more than meeting a quota. It takes more than predetermined wins that you can count off in a single tweet.

Your tactless response to Swole’s valid critiques have now shown us all what you truly think (or don’t think) about us as a community when we voice our concerns.

— “The Revolutionary” Darius Lockhart (@DLockPro) January 1, 2022

Or what we truly provide as talent for that matter. @TonyKhan

Professional Wrestling is committed to ignoring our power.

— “The Revolutionary” Darius Lockhart (@DLockPro) January 1, 2022

This is not the change you promised, this is more of the same @TonyKhan , and it’s been more of the same, and it’ll be more of the same because you are not listening.

The entire industry is not listening.

— “The Revolutionary” Darius Lockhart (@DLockPro) January 1, 2022

A lot of buzzwords are being thrown around, so I’ll say it bluntly:

Your wrestling isn’t diverse if only white and white passing wrestlers are at the top. @TonyKhan

You can’t gaslight your way out of a critique that the entire community you’re allegedly serving has.

— “The Revolutionary” Darius Lockhart (@DLockPro) January 1, 2022

We had a quick meeting at AEW in Greensboro where I gave you a flashdrive that featured an extensive explanation (with numeric breakdowns) on exactly how the black community is being underserved in your company. That breakdown was not only there for personal gain. @TonyKhan

— “The Revolutionary” Darius Lockhart (@DLockPro) January 1, 2022

I want to be a change but don’t want a check bad enough to ignore what’s going on.

This ain’t it. @TonyKhan

— “The Revolutionary” Darius Lockhart (@DLockPro) January 1, 2022

To everyone saying “he wasn’t wrong”, “he should be able to defend himself”… I’m just saying that this isn’t the way to address anything, specially when you are an authority figure. Address people in private or don’t at all. That’s the way I believe things should be handled.

— ?????? ????? (@Kelly_WP) January 1, 2022

This was a heck of an exchange. Check out some of the wrestlers in question:

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[This post contains video, click to play]

[This post contains video, click to play]

Opinion: I have no idea what goes on backstage in AEW, but it seems that there are wrestlers who are on both sides of this. In other words, there are going to be some people who are unhappy with the current situation. I’m not sure what that is going to mean for the future, but it seems that something is going to need to change. Hopefully Khan and AEW can figure that out, because it needs to be done.

What do you think of Khan’s comments? How can AEW make things better? Let us know in the comments below.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.

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