When AEW held their official launch party last month in Jacksonville there were many expected names announced for the promotion and also many unexpected names. One of those was Billy Gunn who was hired as the promotion's first producer after working as an agent with Impact Wrestling and a trainer with NXT.
Gunn talked with Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast about how he became AEW's first producer and also revealed what his job entails.
"To be honest with you, I don't know," Gunn admitted on why he was hired as the first producer. "They were starting the company and they were looking for, I guess…they call me a head coach, we don't use producer. My job will be to help the younger talent as we get going and I look forward to it. It's gonna be awesome."
Gunn has been wrestling on the indie circuit over the past few years and he says he will still be able to do that in addition to his role with AEW.
"I'm still out working and doing my independent stuff which is good," said Gunn. "We have a lot of new, younger talent that needs to be developed and I'm gonna help them find their way. I'm not going to take control of talent. I'm just going to help them develop what they have.
"Sometimes they just need direction. We're gonna be doing TV eventually and a lot of these kids don't have the experience that I have with TV, and I'll help them with that
"I'm literally an all-do-everything kind of guy… I will literally help them with anything and everything that they need me to help with."
AEW has some established talents like Chris Jericho and Cody, but they also have lots of young talent not familiar with working for a national promotion. Gunn was asked if it is exciting or daunting to be working with such raw talent.
"It's exciting," stated Gunn. "If I thought it was daunting, then I don't know if I would take the job because a don't want to be a "daunter." Those are Billyisms if you know the way I talk.
"We're bringing talent that a lot of people have never heard of, or have heard of but not seen. Now we're gonna give them a platform to be seen on and to get out and to be the best they can be."
As a part of his head coach role with AEW, Gunn says he will begin scouting talent on the indie scene.
"I'm out looking and I make suggestions….I haven't been looking all that hard, but I'm gonna start doing that," said Gunn. "I just didn't know where we were at the time of what they needed me to do out there. There's a lot of good talent out there just waiting for their break...
"That's all we did back in the day. They gave us an opportunity and we did the most with it."
"I fit in pretty good. I think they're looking to me for a little bit of guidance, not that they need it," stated Gunn. "It's a camaraderie of everybody's strong points.
"Cody has a direction. The Young Bucks have a direction. I'm just along for a ride and helping them in any way that I can. Their vision is why this company came together. They have an awesome vision and they're gonna bring it to the public."
The one non-wrestling person involved with the operation of AEW is president Tony Khan. Gunn talked about meeting Khan and had nothing but good things to say about him and his vision.
"He's super awesome. I've had a couple of conversations with him. I first met him at All In and I've seen him a few times after that," said Gunn.
"He's just a super down-to-earth guy and he's excited about all of this. That's the best thing – the guy that's putting this all together is super-excited about it. It's not just a business venture, it's a passion of his and he foresees great things happening."
Through his family also owning the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham F.C., Khan is more familiar with running a sports franchise than a wrestling promotion. Gunn was asked if AEW will be part-wrestling promotion and part-sports franchise.
"I think it's a little bit of both," revealed Gunn. "Tony and them are very sports-oriented but again this is a wrestling business and company. I feel it's a wrestling product, but I don't feel wholeheartedly. And I don't mean that in a bad way, I just feel its going to be a collaboration of things that are gonna make it good."
Before Gunn and AEW make their event debut at Double or Nothing, Gunn will be throwing a party over WrestleMania weekend. His Badd A$$ Mania Party will take place the Friday before WrestleMania 35 in New York.
"We're doing a party. Bully Ray, the girls – Angelina [Love] and Velvet [Sky] are gonna be there. So it's like a reunion of The Beautiful People," revealed Gunn. "...It's gonna be a lot of fun. That Legend's Bar is really cool. If nothing else, come hang out there. I don't drink or nothing, but I'll watch you drink. I've got no problem with that.
"But it's gonna be fun. Take some pictures. We've got all kinds of stuff. Q&A stuff going on most of the night…or until my old ass has to go to sleep."
Billy Gunn's "Badd A$$ Mania Party" in NYC goes down on Friday April 5th at Legend's Bar in Manhattan. Guests already announced to attend include Bully Ray, The Beautiful People (Velvet Sky and Angelina Love), "Cowboy" James Storm, former NXT Superstar Bull Dempsey and Austin Gunn.
You can listen to Billy's full WINCLY interview in the embedded audio player below. In it he also discusses how the AEW era will be as good as The Attitude Era, the possibility of AEW signing Goldberg, blending in with AEW management, the different paths he and Road Dogg are on, focusing on young talent, Double or Nothing and more.