Tony Khan gave FTR a new theme to signify their new era, wanted to do better with their booking

Tony Khan chats the creation of several themes in AEW such as Claudio Castagnoli and FTR's music along with the meaning behind those themes

Photo Courtesy: Denise Salcedo

Khan discusses the creation and meaning behind several AEW themes.

The July 6th episode of AEW Dynamite emanated from Rochester, New York and on the lead up to the show, Tony Khan made the media rounds to promote it and one of the outlets he appeared on was Robbie Fox’s ‘My Mom’s Basement’ show.

As the interview went on, Khan was asked about theme music in AEW and collaborating with Mikey Rukus to create that music. Khan touched on the current theme of FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) and said the change was to signify a new era for the team. Khan said he planned to book them stronger and initially, Harwood and Wheeler were not sure about the theme change.

When FTR, I felt needed an overhaul, a repackaging and I really wanted to get behind them and signify that it was gonna be a new era for them in AEW and that we’re really getting behind them, I wanted to change their song since I was gonna try and book ‘em stronger than I had and do a better job than I had done with them and really I wanted to make them one of our top acts and one of my favorite entrance themes is the old Midnight Express theme and it’s different but, it’s probably more similar to the knockoff of The Midnight Express theme than it is the original theme but that’s by design. So, it’s very similar to the song I grew up on, you know, in the early 90s especially with ‘Beautiful’ Bobby [Eaton] and then going back and watching VHS tapes of Bobby and Stan [Lane], they always had that song and I went back to Bobby and Dennis [Condrey], they had the original song but I’d imagine that’d be a little bit more expensive and we wouldn’t be able to create our own content there so I asked for a theme inspired by the Midnight Express song and I think — I thought it was perfect and I took it to Dax [Harwood] and Cash [Wheeler] and they, at first, they were not sure, but they said, ‘Okay, we’ll try this. I mean it seems like a cool idea.’ They love The Midnight Express more than anybody and it’s worked out really well and it’s become a calling card for them and you know FTR’s in the house when you hear that theme so that’s a good example of it.

At AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door, Claudio Castagnoli made his debut as a contracted AEW talent. Khan recounted the conversation he had with Claudio about his music and he wanted it to be a celebratory and fun song that was similar to the ‘1812 Overture’ music that Claudio used in Ring of Honor.

Super involved [in the theme music creation for AEW wrestlers]. That was my call [Claudio Castagnoli’s music] and most of the themes you really liked in the past year are ones that I worked with Mikey [Rukus] on and Mikey composes the music. He is the brains of that and I just try to come up with concepts. So, I’ll give you different examples of some of them. Claudio we’re talking about is a really good example of this. I talked to him, it was the same day Bryan [Danielson] called me, about a week before Forbidden Door and told him, ‘Bryan’s not gonna be able to do this. Can you step up and wrestle these matches: Zack Sabre and Blood & Guts? This is the contingency plan, we’re activating the contingency’ and he was very cool and very excited about it and I said to him, ‘Okay, I’m gonna have to get your music together a little bit quicker than I would have otherwise. I remember you had a classical song in Ring of Honor. I’m trying to remember what it was’ and he took a minute and then he mentioned he had ‘Sledgehammer’ which is a great song. We don’t have the rights to it but it’s a great song but it wasn’t what I was thinking and then he hit me back and he said, ‘Oh! When we were on HDNet, I had that 1812 Overture’ and I said, ‘That is absolutely what it was. That is what I was trying to remember, the 1812 Overture. That is a perfect song. I would do a different interpretation of it’ and that’s where I told Mikey, ‘I want to have a really celebratory, like a exciting, fun, loud version of the 1812 Overture.’ Probably 97 percent of the times I’ve heard that song were either Claudio’s entrances in Ring of Honor and even more so, I’ve seen the last part of ‘Caddyshack’ like 500 times.

Coming out of the 7/6 Dynamite, it was announced that Castagnoli is taking on Jake Hager next week at Fyter Fest. In addition to that, FTR issued a challenge to The Briscoes (Mark & Jay Briscoe) for an ROH World Tag Title match at Death Before Dishonor.

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit My Mom’s Basement with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions. 

About Andrew Thompson 7743 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.