AEW Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes recently spoke with Joseph Staszewski of The New York Post and said there’s no reason that there couldn’t be a crossover between WWE and AEW some day.
Rhodes was first asked where, in his mind, does AEW’s working relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling stand, and if the door is open for AEW vs. NJPW dream matches to take place COVID-19 travel restrictions ease up. Cody named NEVER Openweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Jay White, IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Champion Kota Ibushi and NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champion Tomohiro Ishii as potential opponents.
“I’m all AEW, but I’m not blind to the potential of these crossovers,” he said. “I do think when travel restrictions lift, perhaps there are crossover matches, the dream matches that are available for us. I know in my heart that there is somebody I’d love to wrestle from New Japan. I didn’t get the opportunity and time is running out on that opportunity.
“I’m a big fan of The Ace (Hiroshi Tanahashi). I like to challenge myself and they have a great roster in terms of (Kazuchika) Okada, Jay White and of course (Kota) Ibushi, who I got to wrestle so many times, and many people. (Tomohiro) Ishii, my gosh. There’s some good potential there for crossover elements and good friendly relations, but I also want to never forget that we have a loaded locker room of men and women who are champing at the bit to get in this two-hour time slot and I always look at AEW first. Just respectably to any other company, I’m probably the most guarded up when it comes to crossovers.”
Cody made the comments on a potential AEW – WWE crossover when asked about how Dynamite recently had wrestlers from the NWA, NJPW and Impact Wrestling. He was asked if there is an end goal in the minds of AEW officials as to how they want the talent-sharing idea to affect pro wrestling. Staszewski noted that it feels like a throwback to the territory days of wrestling.
“I think of ‘All In’ itself. ‘All In’ is a show that ROH (Ring of Honor) helped us with that Matt (Jackson), Nick (Jackson), myself did all the work for outside of that initial production element and the reason it was important that the three of us do it was we were able to let all these old rules go away,” Cody said. “That’s a very dangerous and powerful precedent to set if you literally do put down all the bridges and you do put down all the doors.
“Again, this is all hypothetical, but there is no reason AEW couldn’t work with New Japan. We’re aware of the world outside. Bullet Club is a big part of our blood in AEW. So there’s no reason we couldn’t work with New Japan. There’s no reason Jacob Fatu couldn’t take a step over from MLW and stand across the ring from me.”
Cody continued and said there’s no reason that there couldn’t be a potential AEW – WWE crossover one day, but he made it clear that this has not been discussed and is not happening. He also pointed to how Vince McMahon Sr. and Florida promoter Eddie Graham traded talent.
“There’s no reason that there couldn’t be a potential WWE crossover one day,” Rhodes said. “And I don’t mean that’s a thing that’s been discussed or happening, but none of those rules that exist for other places exist for us. Wrestling is really this universal industry. The territory reference that you made, that’s fairly accurate, but the part of it that’s most accurate was there was a genuine trust.
“Eddie Graham and Vince (McMahon) Sr. they traded people all the time and made prolific pieces of business out of it and they did it in a way where they introduced these characters in New York and then next thing you know they introduce these characters in Florida and it kept things fresh because above all, Wednesday Night War or not the main thing we have to do for fans for the rest of this run – and I want this company to be around forever — is keep it fresh. It can’t ever get stale. Our doors are open if the business is right, if the moment is right, if the time right. Our bridges are down. I’ll be the one curmudgeon AEW guy to make sure it’s all good.”