The phrase Wednesday Night Wars wasn't something that was created by WWE or AEW or the talent that is a part of those promotions. It was created by the fans as a line was drawn in the sand and fans were almost forced to choose between AEW or NXT when it comes to Wednesday viewing.
Cody Rhodes is someone who isn't a fan of that mandate and thinks that wrestling fans should be able to enjoy both programs. He talked about the divide between AEW fans and NXT fans when he joined Busted Open Radio.
"I think about this a lot because it's so toxic, and when I say toxic, I mean social media. Social media is becoming an accepted part of our lives now. I keep reminding people about how life was like before we had Instagram and Twitter and what we used to do, it's almost like saying remember when we didn't have cell phones? Social media is not going away so what I've tried to learn from it and study from it is that there is a logic to both sides of this big, deep divided argument," said Cody.
"Whether there's a little bit of fear from long-time WWE fans or whether there is a dislike of the bold personalities because we have done some pretty bold things like the breaking of the throne or taking little fun jabs like Chris Jericho did here and there. But, on the other side of that is the defenders of AEW that are kind of overly protective and sometimes being too generous to us because obviously, we are going to slip and make mistakes too. But it's like you said though, if you those people together with one side wearing NXT shirts and the other guys wearing AEW shirts they would get along just fine because they are wrestling fans."
Cody then cited himself as an example of someone who works for AEW but would get along just fine if in the same room as someone who works for WWE.
"If you look at the geopolitical climate closely and you look at everything that is happening out in the world, our fanbase needs to do a better job, I think, to get along in a way and that starts at the top," stated Cody. "I can go ahead and say that I think a lot of things get screwed up with what was done with me in WWE but if I was to be in a room with Triple H at this moment, I would shake his hand and would probably give him a hug outside of everything that has happened. I learned a lot from him. He is on the absolute opposite side of the fence in the same role that I am in AEW and has much more experience in it.
"I think it's fun but we can't eat our own. You have to look at the number of wrestling fans that are watching wrestling every week and Wednesday night. We wanted Wednesday night to be must-see TV. If you take the ratings from both products and you truly understand that there is less cross-over than you think, that is a lot of eyes watching wrestling on Wednesday nights. It's not going to stop because what happens is competitive, we are counter-programmed against each other. We are trying to beat each other's products. We are trying to have a better product, just like the wrestlers in the locker room trying to have a better wrestling match than the guy before him but that doesn't have to be mean-spirited.
"I've never been meanly-spirited about wanting to climb the ladder as a wrestler, particularly as a babyface wrestler. I do it very transparency and honestly. I want to have a better outing than Moxley. I want to have a deeper connection than Kenny Omega; I make the steps to do that and they take the steps to do that. That is what pro wrestling is so we are doing that with shows too."
He then again stressed that whether you prefer AEW or NXT, you are still a wrestling fan at the end of the day and that should unite fans more than separate them.
"I just think, especially the holiday season, you can love what you love, the ring is still there in the middle. There are other products out there as well. It's definitely a toxic environment, but if there's anything positive though about the fact that it's a toxic environment is this: the most toxic fans have been Game of Thrones and Star Wars fans and I'm in both of those fan bases and I am screaming and yelling about everything too. And at least we have such passionate fans that they are screaming and yelling about what they think we should do right, what show is better, that isn't a problem. Maybe how they scream and yell is, but it's good to have the passion," said Cody.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.