The most recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily featured AEW EVP and TNT Champion Cody Rhodes’ media call ahead of AEW’s Full Gear PPV. Last year’s Full Gear featured Rhodes challenging Jericho and failing to capture the AEW World Title, which as a result, meant that he could never challenge for the world title ever again. Rhodes has regained the “Cody Rhodes” name, but he vows that he will never take any loopholes and explains his reasoning for putting up that stipulation.
“Well, we’re on our second annual Full Gear, and it was Full Gear last year where I had this situation made. And it isn’t my fault,” Rhodes said. “I don’t mean to make excuses, and that sounded so terrible. It’s definitely MJF’s fault for throwing in the towel, but nonetheless, I can never challenge for the world championship again. I’m not going to challenge for it under a different name. I’m not going to be the Midnight Rider. We’re not doing any of that stuff. I gave you my word. I do not want fans to think nepotism is involved.
“I do not want fans to try and put an asterisk on my career because I’m in any sort of management. I gave you my word as fans. I gave you my word as people who cover the industry. I will never challenge for the world championship. With that said, that was a specific circumstance to me because I had grown up and I had seen how the wrestling smarties, that’s not the best way to put it, I had seen how they came after my dad. And it wasn’t until the last few years of his life and certainly in death, people realized Dusty was the most over guy on the show.
“That’s why he was wrestling Ric Flair other than Ric at times. That’s what it was. They sold tickets, and that personal experience and that genuine angst that apology for something that never truly happened, as a son, carrying that forward is difficult. And it’s really hard to wrap your head around, but that’s where the stipulation came from. I wanted to do my best to avoid that in my life. I wanted to do do my best, whether it was true or not.”
The Young Bucks have offered the same stipulation for their match against AEW Tag Team Champions FTR. Rhodes admitted that he wouldn’t have recommended that move to The Bucks, but he offers his support for his fellow EVPs.
So with that in mind, I don’t fully understand The Bucks wanting to do that in terms of I wouldn’t have recommended it,” Rhodes admitted. “Matt and Nick Jackson are one of the best tag teams in the world if not the best tag team in the world, and Nick Jackson’s an outstanding singles wrestler in his own, which more and more people have discovered. No doubt, Matt is as well. I think doing this is a bad idea, and I told them that in the conversation we had. I think doing this is a bad idea.
“Look at me, I can never challenge for the world championship again. Just on an optics standpoint, people think the world championship is the biggest championship in the world. It’s called the world championship. So why wouldn’t you want to be the world champion, and I just think it was a bad idea on Matt and Nick’s part. Maybe they did not learn from my experience, but that’s wrestling for you. That’s a wrestler. We’re bullheaded, and we are how we are.
“I wish them the absolute best of luck. I always will have a bond to a group that’s really no more in terms of The Elite. It’ll always be a bond between us. We jumped off into this journey together. So I always want them to succeed. I know how important their families are, and I know how much their families who want them to succeed, but again, in short, I think this situation is a bad idea and one that can really come back to bite you in the ass.”
AEW President Tony Khan addressed if AEW is still sports centric as promised after the “Le Dinner Debonair” segment had people questioning that identity for AEW. Rhodes also addressed those questions and spoke on how AEW is a place that offers different flavors for everyone.
“I look back at what I said and sometimes I chuckle a bit because I hit things so hard before the first AEW show because no matter what we were aiming for and no matter what we envisioned, you don’t know until you know,” Rhodes noted. “You don’t know until the lights are on and the red light is blinking and you’re off and beaming across television sets to the world. When I speak of sports-centric wrestling, I speak of the wrestling that I grew up on, Jim Crockett Promotions, World Championship Wrestling [and] WCCW. Everything that was available to me in the south and just that library that still currently exists.
“I also speak of the current MMA scene with what UFC is doing [and] the current boxing scene in terms of unscripted promos and drama that is existing based on who the people really are or who are the people want you at home to think they are. So when it comes to sports-centric wrestling, I consider everything I do, me personally to be sports centric. I honor my own identity by presenting myself as such because that is who I am. You talk about ‘Dinner Debonair’, That is who Chris Jericho is. There are different flavors of ice cream that we serve at AEW, and it is very funny to me some of the modern, I don’t know if pundits is the term, the wrestling journalism that tells you how it all has to be one way. That hasn’t worked for anyone you’ve told that it has to all be one way. So why tell us such? It’s very much different flavors.
“Chris represents his brand incredibly well. The meta style that The Young Bucks have does very well. The Strong Style approach that Kenny is bringing back into his singles repertoire, very much himself. Honestly, so many different flavors, but I can always stand by what I said then and very much still be able to say it now because what I do as a wrestler, what Cody Rhodes does when he’s own screen will always be sports centric because that’s the type of wrestling I love and that’s the type of story that I personally like to tell.”
The topic of licensed music came up when a recent episode of Dynamite used Cinderella in a hype package. Rhodes said that while the in-house musician and band is great, he noted that licensed music can have a stronger effect on fans.
“I’m fairly certain that Tony and Kenny are the ones who wanted to use Cinderella and got everyone in the backstage area and out in their seats singing it and being blown away, but it actually, the second part of the question is what interests me the most, licensed music,” Rhodes said. “We have a wonderful in-house musician and band with Mikey Ruckus.
“We do, and Mikey, not unlike AEW, is open, bridges are down [and] doors are open to that crossover with some licensed music. Some of the best VTR vignette packages and great songs were licensed songs. You absolutely will see more of that in AEW, and it is not my money to spend, but when it’s spent on music that connects with people just like a promo can connect with people, it’s typically money well spent. I think you will see more licensed music.
“It becomes an interesting bit of legality, which I’m learning how that all works. As I again, jokingly always said, I didn’t go to college. I’m getting a great experience and education from those who did, but yes, you’ll definitely see more licensed music in the future for us because it’s a beautiful thing. It connects with people, and there’s even some, perhaps, on the way now in terms of the marketing of Dynamite in year two.”
AEW Full Gear takes place this Saturday night on PPV. The full audio from Cody’s AEW Full Gear media call aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.