AEW EVP Cody Rhodes was on a recent episode of Talk Is Jericho where he and Chris Jericho discussed Rhodes’ memorable matches with the late Brodie Lee. Jericho pointed out that Lee’s time in AEW was predominately spent in Daily’s Place and not in front of a full capacity crowd. Rhodes also revealed details about the nixed Rochester show where Lee was set to debut for AEW.
“That guy, his entire AEW career was in this building, in Daily’s Place. Think about that,” Jericho noted. “He never appeared in front of a crowd except for our small crowds here.
“The one that really pisses us off is that Rochester show,” Rhodes admitted. “I don’t know if anyone knows this, but he was going to come up out of the ramp like the monster in ‘The Munsters’.”
One of Lee’s iconic matches in AEW was his quick defeat of Rhodes for the TNT Championship. Rhodes revealed that his idea for the match was inspired by Vader’s match against Antonio Inoki at Sumo Hall where Vader defeated Inoki in swift fashion that caused the crowd to riot and led to NJPW to being banned from Sumo Hall for a number of years.
“Well, I wanted to do Vader – Inoki. I wanted to do it for a while, but no one fit the profile,” Rhodes revealed. “I thought, no one’s done that. It would be really shocking. It would be the right call because in wrestling, anything can happen on any given night, and we have to consistently remind them of that.
“And also, he’s near seven feet. He’s a legit super-heavyweight whose mobile. It would make all the sense in the world if he was to catch me. I think the first thing he caught me with was a dropkick. It would make all the sense in the world that could be the thing, that could be the piece that puts me out. It’s the liver shot [and] the shot on the jaw.”
Rhodes also revealed that when he told Lee how the match would play out, he didn’t believe him. He talked about Lee’s hesitations about the match, and he noted that Arn Anderson was the one who came up with the spot where Anna Jay choked out Brandi.
“He didn’t believe me when I told him,” Rhodes revealed. “I told him, ‘This is the easiest match you’ll ever have.’ He didn’t believe me. I was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t want to do anything.’ A flurry of punches at the beginning and that’s it. I said, ‘I don’t want to do anything,’ and he was all worried about, ‘Well, I want to hook your leg.’ Don’t even look my leg.
“Absolutely disrespect me. Absolutely own me, eat me alive. And then Arn added, as Arn does, he’s a great finish man, the cherry on top, the moment with Anna at the very end with Anna and Brandi choking her out. I just thought it was a great way to end the show, and honestly, it’s a weird thing to say, but only in the inside baseball. In other interviews, I wouldn’t give this answer, but in this in this space, I would absolutely say it’s my favorite match at AEW.”
Rhodes elaborated more as to why that match is his favorite. He described what it was like to feel Lee’s excitement when he pinned him, and he talked about how great of a story they told.
“It’s my favorite one I’ve had, and I’ve wrestled you,” Cody stated. “I’ve wrestled Dustin. I’ve had a really fun outing with Darby. I just loved how I felt. Last week was obviously all about Brodie and wrestlers always have a tendency to somehow make it about themselves. It’s just wrestling. We don’t mean poorly. It’s wrestling, but my favorite thing in that moment was when he covered me, I could feel in his chest how excited he was. I could literally feel how that was a big deal. He had some words for me right before he covered me, and that felt so good as a wrestler.
“I feel just as good had I won in this fashion as I do in this moment watching him do everything he said he wanted to do. You put him in my playing field when you got him to come and have a conversation with me. So I consider him one of my people. Man, if I can’t do it for one of my people, so I felt like that was the right thing. It was the right thing for the show. It was the right thing for the flow the TNT title, and it was the right guy.”
Lee’s character on BTE was also a highlight of his time in AEW. While Lee played the character straight, there was much humor in The Dark Order segments, but Cody felt that he was perfect for that dynamic.
“I talked about this with The Bucks, Brodie was able to jump into a place BTE and the show where he could do both,” Rhodes noted. “Super fun BTE stuff with John Silver and the crew, and it can easily translate right over, but he was still a monster. The big concern is always if you go funny — whatever Daniel Bryan used to always tell me, ‘If it’s funny, it doesn’t draw money,’ but it can when it’s the right person.”
Rhodes also discussed how AEW can subvert fan expectation especially that of the hardcore fan that can chart how a match or a story is going. He said that he enjoys that AEW can take the traditional rules of wrestling and play around with them.
“The big question I always ask Tony, and Tony’s always got a great answers,” Rhodes admitted. “‘How are we ending? What’s the final final. Really more than anything, tell me what you think for the final final.’ Wrestling should never be, especially for the hardcore fans, which so much of our audience is made up of the hardcore fans, we should never allow them to be like, I know how this is going to go.
“The beauty of AEW, whether it’s finishes or break spots, all those rules that aren’t correct are gone, and that’s not knocking anyone. The rules have been created, and now we’ve been able to break all the rules. And that is a beautiful thing. We’re not reinventing the wheel. It’s a beautiful thing we have here, and he was a prime example of that.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.