Mike Mansury Explains Why AEW Dynamite’s Appearance And Feel Was Changed

AEW’s Senior VP and Co-Executive Producer Mike Mansury recently appeared as a guest on AEW Restricted for an in-depth interview covering all things pro wrestling. During the discussion, Mansury talked about the new set on AEW Dynamite:

“I joined in December of ’22. I joined I believe Winter is Coming ’22 was my first show, so in Texas, right? I learned that in January when we were kicking off the year with Dynamite in Seattle, Washington that we were going to roll out a brand new Dynamite look, a brand new Dynamite set and I was like, alright, cool. That’s great. Something to look forward to. I can’t wait to see it. I didn’t really know what was going on. When we arrived in Seattle that day and I saw the set, it was cool, but it wasn’t my favorite thing, just speaking honestly here. I saw the new graphics, and I’m not gonna lie to you, and this has nothing to do with the fact that I spent the bulk of my career there, but I remember walking in that day when they were starting to run through elements and stuff I looked, and I was like, ‘Oh, that looks like Survivor Series, sort of look.’ At this point, I’m maybe three weeks into the job at AEW. I’ve been out of wrestling for a couple of years at this point doing MMA and working with Pat McAfee and his group in Indianapolis, but that was the first thing that hit me was man, that red and blue.”

“I remember connecting with Tony at some point, a couple of weeks after that show, and he’s like, initially, the direction I had kind of given the folks was he wanted to look more like the throwback American Gladiators look. I think that was kind of the interpretation of what kind of fell into play. If you notice as we got later into 2023, we amended it a little bit to kind of get away totally from Raw and SmackDown and the Survivor Series look. We had known going into that summer that we were going to kind of refresh Dynamite going into 2024.”

“Going into Dynamite 200 I believe it was, we went with a bit of a throwback look with the color powder burst or whatever, and I know that that was something that resonated very strongly with our fan base. Our fan base, they were very much into that sort of original vibe. It kind of fit into a lot of what we’ve been talking about internally when it came to sort of restoring the feeling.”

“I started to have preliminary conversations with Tony in terms of the new look for next year and also we began talking about the set. That theme was there, that restoring the feeling, but me personally, I didn’t want to do a full reversion back to what was. For me, I was of the mindset of let’s pay homage to day one, but let’s also show that AEW is continuing to grow, continuing to evolve. So when I got together with our internal team, both on the inner arena and the post production side, and then we also involved the team from WBD as they’re phenomenal collaborators to work with, you know, case in point are those what we’re calling the ready to fight from those that have been airing across the WBD networks that have just been so awesome and a fresh coat of paint and a different way to kind of attack promotion for a wrestling organization. We wanted to kind of tip our cap and acknowledge what brought AEW to the dance, but also show you like, hey, we’re also thinking about growth and moving towards the future. So that was the idea behind it. That’s why even with that colorful presentation and vibe of the new Dynamite package, it’s a throwback to the color splash in terms of just that vibrance and that eye-catching, eye grabbing sort of color palette, but it’s an evolution of it. It’s not a direct, just sort of quote unquote rip off of it. It’s just more like, hey, we acknowledge you.”

On keeping the tunnels as part of the set up:

“When we were coming into designs and when I was talking to our team, I said, in terms of the LED aesthetic or whatever, that’s kind of last on priority. For me, what I’d like to do is, let’s take the tunnels, because we still had those tunnels, they were in one of our warehouses in Orlando, but let’s beef them up. Let’s figure out a way that we can take these tunnels and again, homage to the past, but at the same time, evolution to the future.”

On being an EVP in the company:

“There’s a funny misconception in terms of the EVP title as it relates to the talents that do hold that. Everyone’s pretty involved in what we do. Everyone is very much hands on, like, those are not figurehead, or sort of, they look cool on a business title or a Twitter handle sort of deal. I know specifically from working with Nicholas and Matthew, they are hands on. They are very much involved in the process and they have their fingers on the pulse of AEW. They’re not absentee landlords. They’re very much a part of the deal. For me, the title just signifies it’s a position of leadership. It’s somebody that has an influence on what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and that title doesn’t come without a level of trust also from the boss. Tony is not throwing these things out willy-nilly because they look cool on a business card or they look cool on like a Linked-in header.”

“When I arrived, I made it a point to tell him that we’re going to build a relationship that’s based on trust. I’m not expecting you to trust me from the moment I walk in the door. I’m going to earn that with you and we’re going to build this relationship. A big part of my job is I have to bring his vision to life. I have to bring whatever exists in his head and his heart onto the screen for our fan base to enjoy and it doesn’t end with him. There are other verticals in our company, that again, I have touch points with because production is very much a central thesis for AEW. I’ve got my hands on all of that and it’s my responsibility to be that conduit of all that information, to be that good partner internally, to be that good partner externally, and making sure that I’m representing AEW to the best of my abilities. That’s something I don’t take lightly.”

You can check out the complete podcast below:

(h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription)