AEW President Tony Khan isn’t afraid to acknowledge that a world outside of his promotion exists. The company’s “forbidden door” concept has allowed wrestlers from other promotions around the world to showcase their talent on AEW television and pay-per-view.

It gets a little trickier when you’re dealing with wrestlers signed to WWE. AEW star Malakai Black is married in real life to WWE wrestler Zelina Vega. Vega managed Andrade El Idolo in NXT and on the WWE main roster.

Tony Khan explained on today’s Wrestling Observer Live how he used the Zelina Vega link to his advantage in an AEW storyline without really saying who he is talking about.

“It got personal when Cody stuck his nose in when Andrade’s old friend from Florida, of course they’re both close with the same lady, Malakai Black’s wife has managed Andrade, that’s no secret and you know they’re good friends. Malakai Black came to do Andrade a solid and Cody was there to stop Malakai and it was the third match in their trilogy and there’s a lot of meat on the bone there, too. There’s unresolved issues and it’s a pretty exciting situation right now.”


The subtle approach to acknowledging outside organizations or non-storyline wrestling news in general is also employed by rival WWE. Amid rumors that Kevin Owens is AEW bound, the promotion exploited the buzz by writing it into a television segment. Now, instead of everybody talking about Kevin Owens going to AEW, they were talking about what Kevin Owens said in WWE.

Tony Khan appears to be taking a similar tact with the angle involving Malakai Black and Andrade. They’re able to make Zelina a part of the story even thought it is impossible for her to appear on the program. It’s a nice touch that adds a lot to the feud between Cody Rhodes and Malakai.

Zelina Vega famously re-signed with WWE so she could be closer to her husband. Ironically, he was cut shortly after she signed. AEW is still finding creative ways to include her in their storylines without her even being present.

What’s your take on this story? Sound off in the comments!

Transcription by Ringside News

Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a news contributor for Ringside News and Thirsty for News. Michael has an M.A. in Communication Technology from Point Park University in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

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