Eleven months ago on AEW Dynamite, Cody Rhodes proclaimed his company was “Ellis Island” for a professional wrestler. Eleven months later and that proclamation of freedom still holds true.
Speaking with the Busted Open Podcast, Cody doubled down on the freedom AEW wrestlers have to compete in other promotions.
“You can’t put a saddle on a mustang,” Cody said. “People need this. They want to experience other worlds, and no contract in AEW is a blanket contract. Everybody can go from different places and register down. The doors are open. I know the classic things in wrestling is ‘perception is reality.’ In 2020/2021, it kind of feels like ‘reality is reality’ because we can see so many more wrestlers just via social media and just the different platforms. So you can’t just say you’re the best anymore. You have to get out there.”
Many AEW wrestlers have lent their services to other promotions while still being under contract with Tony Khan and company. AEW World Champion Jon Moxley has competed overseas in NJPW, where he is the current IWGP United States Champion. Cody says he enjoys seeing Moxley compete with New Japan because he feels he represents AEW strongly.
“I love it when Jon makes the move out there and does something like that,” Cody said. “He always represents AEW really highly because he always represents himself really highly. So that was a cool thing, and I think you’ll see that as long as AEW is around. I can never see the doors closing or the bridges going up. It’s just not the type of culture Tony’s helped create and not the type of place we work.”
When Cody and The Elite announced All Elite Wrestling nearly two years ago, it sent shockwaves throughout the pro wrestling industry. While Year 1 has been kind to AEW, the TNT Champion says they aren’t done changing the pro wrestling landscape just yet.
“I think we’re going to continue to change it,” Cody said. “I think year one, maybe we thought we had an identity card out, but really, the identity that’s constant is the one that’s not constant. It’s a product that’s evolving. It’s a wrestling style that’s evolving. It’s a robust flavor profile. I want to keep changing it. I genuinely do for the betterment of the wrestling fan and for the betterment of the locker room. Just change our culture! The Elite slogan is ‘Change The World’, and that’s a pretty bold statement. But a year worth of Dynamite, some great memories, fortunately, has favored the bold. And I’m very fortunate, lucky, and all those things to be in this spot with this organization.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the Busted Open Podcast and give a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.