AEW Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes recently spoke with Scott Fishman of TV Insider as the company prepares to celebrate one year since officially announcing the promotion. The Homecoming New Year’s edition of Dynamite will air on January 1 from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL, the home base for AEW.
Cody was asked about his current heated feud with good friend MJF. He praised the up & coming wrestler, but claimed that AEW Chief Brand Officer Brandi Rhodes had to remove MJF from their media list because he upset a few people.
“Max is really a special talent,” Cody said of MJF. “He is not the nicest guy. If you’re doing this interview with him, he always has some choice words. He is off our media list. Brandi [Rhodes] has taken him off our media list because he has upset a few folks, but he is definitely the future of pro wrestling. Now here is where push comes to shove. Here’s me who doesn’t want to give any inch on the role I’m in right now in this crazy kind of moment I’m having with these fans and supporting me. I wanted to keep that going.
“There’s him who doesn’t want to give an inch and wants to know everything and how he knows everything and has commitments to MJF. It’s the perfect match for a wrestling match. People will point things about the industry that are artificial so often that they don’t do things that are very real. The best wrestling rivalries come when things are very real. We have gotten under each other’s skin. When you are challenging each other to be better in the ring. This is his time. He does have the platform, but if he doesn’t deliver, he won’t have the platform. At the moment he is continuing to deliver.”
WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes passed away in 2015 and never got to see his son move into a behind-the-scenes role. Cody was asked what he thinks Dusty would say if he were alive today.
“I wish I knew,” Cody admitted. “I’m flying into Texas the other night and thinking about so many other things, but I can never not think about him when I’m around wrestling. I just think he would respect the person I’d become when people aren’t looking. It’s a weird thing to say, and I’m not trying to pat myself on the back, my dad was a good man when people weren’t looking.
“This is an industry of hustlers and thieves. It’s cutthroat, but when people weren’t looking he was a good man. I’ve tried to apply this with how I manage and captain. Right now we are doing well with all that. I think he’d be proud of what we’ve done here. He would probably love to meet everyone because so many guys I’m flanked by have nothing in common other than the main thing you need to have in common when you’re a wrestler. The yearning to sell tickets and be popular with the fans. He would see that and want to know more about the guys.”
Cody called 2019 the most important year of his life. He was asked how he would sum up the year, and what are some of his goals for himself and AEW going into year two.
“For sure I know this is the time of my life,” Cody said. “Marrying my wife is the most important day of my life, but this has been the most important year of my life. Every second of it, through a lot of blood from me particularly, sweat and tears, some frustrations here and there. This has been the time of my life. Looking at 2020, we have to expand upon the missions statement. That’s always my goal when I’m out there. The mission statement that we have to be the alternative. We can get in the weeds on counter-programming on Wednesday nights and talk about ratings and use the word war and all that stuff, but we have to stick to our mission statement of being an alternative. Be sports-centric.
“That’s something people have been critical of here and there. The show is a buffet and sometimes the foods are vastly different. That can be a little offensive, but I just want to make sure we key in on our mission statement. And we key in on our outreach to fans. We are in a different environment. The most over roster member at AEW isn’t Chris Jericho. It’s the audience. It’s the sixth man our audience is and we have to continue to make it a safe and fun and vibrant environment. That’s the nature of this all-inclusive brand that we have. It’s about making everyone feel comfortable. I want to key in on the things that helped build us in the first place.”