AEW EVP Cody Rhodes was on a media call today ahead of Double or Nothing and spoke on a variety of topics. Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman asked Rhodes about how some fans view Anthony Ogogo as the babyface going into their Double or Nothing match due to the content of their politically charged promos. Rhodes addressed his recent promo on AEW Dynamite that set up their match.
“I very much am proud to be an American. We have tons of problems here, which is the first thing I said when I started speaking,” Rhodes noted. “We have tons of problems, but I still genuinely believe hope outweighs. I’m not trying to mansplain racism to anyone. All I was trying to say is that I’m proud of my wife. I’m proud of the city I’m in, and I’m proud of this baby girl that’s on the way. When it comes to Anthony’s opinions on the United States, those are his opinions.
“That’s the beautiful thing about being here is that you can say whatever you like. He has chosen to say a lot, pointing out things we do wrong as a country. I think you’re remiss if you only point them out and don’t point out that people are functionally and actively trying to fix them. That’s one of the things I’m most proud of and excited for Memorial Day weekend as we honor our fallen is to just always reiterate, yeah, we got a lot of messy spots, but everyone does there part, at least I believe. I’m a hopeful person it terms of trying to clean that up. Anthony is here living the American Dream like many professional wrestlers in their time. I cited Bruno Sammartino in my promo, an Italian immigrant who changed our industry forever.
“I think the way Anthony’s done it is a little crude, and I think punching a man while his back is turned and draping him under your flag is crass, I suppose. But again, that’s the beautiful thing about fans, that’s the beautiful thing about wrestling. You pay your money. You’re allowed to do whatever you want as a fan. So people who think he might be the good guy, or I’m the good guy, or I’m the bad guy or he’s the bad guy, that’s fine by me. It’s more interest for the match and more interest for the outcome for the match, but with all that said, when it’s set and done, I really hope to say, whether I like him personally or not, that I’m proud of Anthony as far as being AEW’s first developmental talent and what that looks like in a major pay-per-view spot.”
Cody had revealed in a previous interview that the promo was “focus grouped”. He clarified the statement and spoke more on the development process for his promos.
“I’m gonna chalk this up to me not knowing what the term ‘focus grouped’ means because I woke up this morning to a very large amount of people in my mentions, almost all of them with a Roman [Reigns] or a Sasha Banks avatar, making fun of me for using the term focus grouped,” Rhodes said. “I did not focus group this promo.
“What I intended to say and I did not say correctly, chalk this up to me being a dummy, I work on my promos very hard, and a lot of old-timers say, ‘I was just doing it on the fly.’ I would say they worked on their’s very hard, whether it in the gym, whether it be in the car looking in the rear-view. So when it comes to my promos, the process is usually I voice memo it out to the people I trust the most, the legends in our industry, some coaches and some members of management, and I like to see what they think, but absolutely not, there is no AEW focus group that is listening to my interviews.
“I got to see a really good working relationship first hand between Brian Gewirtz and The Rock, and I know that’s a pretty lofty comparison, but it’s one to shoot for because of him being such an exceptional entertainer and promo, so I like to take mine very seriously. I like to be all business about them, and last year, I was so humbled and fortunate to have won a bunch of those promo awards with Inside the Ropes and various outlets like that. I just want to continue to deliver really good content whenever I put the mic to my lips.”
AEW presents Double or Nothing this Sunday night live on PPV. You can find the full audio from Cody’s AEW media call below: