AEW Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes recently spoke with Alex McCarthy of talkSPORT to promote Wednesday's Fight for the Fallen edition of AEW Dynamite on TNT, which will see Cody defend his TNT Title against Sonny Kiss.
Cody was asked about comments recently made by pro wrestling veteran Konnan on his "Keeping It 100" podcast. Konnan claimed that former WWE Champion CM Punk asked for too much money from AEW during his contract negotiations with the company. Konnan said he was told this information during his own talks with AEW. He said Punk asked for an "astronomical amount of money" and AEW really wanted to work with him but he asked for too much.
Cody was asked about Konnan's claims and he did confirm that Punk asked for a "great amount of money," adding that he believes Punk is worth a "great deal of money."
"I like Konnan a lot. He's kind of my AAA buddy," Cody said. "He's a really smart, smart guy. I wish I could spend a little more time with Konnan – I know I'm waxing poetic on Konnan here but I think he's a really great guy.
"As far as the CM Punk negotiations go, everyone heard the famous 'he got a text from us.' Yeah, of course there were negotiations and he did ask for a great amount of money and Punk is worth a great deal of money. But you also have to – and this isn't speaking to Punk specifically, this is speaking to recruitment and what we've learned in wrestling in general – a lot of people think 'these wrestlers are running this wrestling company.'"
Cody continued and said there are some key people in AEW who help them watch their spending. He said they don't want a situation like WCW or Crockett Promotions, as AEW is a business that has to turn a profit.
"These wrestlers are doing everything they can to run the creative, the brand and the marketing and things, but there are some very smart and fiscally conservative people who surround us and flank us because this isn't my money," Cody said. "At all. And I don't want a situation that happened with WCW or Jim Crockett Promotions where we think we're flying so high that we can do anything. No – this is a business. And we have to turn a profit.
"The fact we were able to turn a profit as a company within only two years of being alive, very few other companies within wrestling – it's real limited, you can count on one hand who's been able to do that versus who has bled money – but in that situation the negotiations, I don't think they ever got too serious."
Cody talked more about Punk and reiterated that their talks never got too serious, but he believes there is a good relationship there.
"Doesn't mean they won't one day, but they never got entirely too serious," Cody said of the talks with Punk. "I think there is a good relationship there. I think I have a good relationship with Phil, I believe Tony does too and I'm not sure really when it comes to him, it's not so much about the money. It's about are you interested in doing this?
"Because the price tag becomes a lot more justifiable if you're genuinely interested in what we're doing at the high speed we're doing it. And again, that's not even specific to him, just in general, if the passion is not there, the money is not there."