On Tuesday, AEW EVP Cody Rhodes spoke to the media ahead of AEW Dynamite: Homecoming where he is set to take on new AEW talent Malakai Black. Black is one of many new signings for AEW along with Andrade El Idolo, and AEW has been linked with big names like CM Punk and Bryan Danielson. Rhodes commented on AEW’s current appetite for talent acquisition.
“I tell a lot of my peers in wrestling and people who use me as a sounding board, and I use as a sounding board, I always tell them, ‘You can’t wish away good talent,’ especially when you get in a groove as a talent yourself. And it’s not unlike the world that Tony [Khan] comes from already,” Rhodes noted. “In the world of the NFL and football in the UK, if there’s a free agent out there that can move the needle and be something significant for us, I personally, I’m not saying this from the company perspective, think you have to go after them. And does that change the landscape of the show and the roster?
“For sure, but that is one of the areas where, as much as things can get personal, it is business, and no one is immune from that. We’re doing wonderful. We have added Rampage coming up on the schedule. I am getting ready to go into the second season of Go Big Show, and Rhodes to the Top will be attached to Dynamite. There’s a lot of AEW programming so room has opened up, but it’s not incredibly that much more room. I don’t know the specifics of five, or six, or seven, or three or whatever, but if you’re asking me, one executive vice president of the company, I say the more the merrier, and I also would say it’s very fulfilling for me personally as a wrestler, and I hope The [Young] Bucks and Kenny [Omega] feel this way as well, to know that three years ago, not a lot of people believed in the revolution.
“The fans believed in it, and that’s why it existed, but not a lot of people believed in it, and they weren’t comfortable, perhaps, with it. And we set this table and now new people can eat, and Tony, of course, is at the head of all of that, but to me, I have no bitterness in my heart over that. That makes me feel wonderful about a legacy in the professional wrestling industry. The table has been set, new talent can eat, young talent can eat, and that’s great because I grew up with the wrestling business being the backbone of my family. To be able to leave it better than I found it, certainly means a lot. A lot of room to grow, though.”
Another big name that fans have speculated could find their way to AEW is Bray Wyatt, who was released by WWE last week. Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman asked Rhodes if there is room in AEW for a talent like Wyatt. Cody and his brother Dustin were in a multi-month feud with The Wyatt Family in 2013 – 2014.
“Bray Wyatt was my rookie in the second season they did of NXT. The Rotunda family and the Rhodes family, they certainly go way, way back,” Cody said. “I can’t comment on if I see a spot for him, when it comes to us, but I can tell you, he’s an incredibly creative individual, an incredibly creative man.
“And whenever I see someone like that lose their job or move into the next phase in their career, as someone who left WWE on my own, at the time, that was super unheard of to leave. I can’t be everyone’s sounding board, but I really want to be. I’ll give you an example. I’ll pivot away.
“I would have never thought that Matt Cardona was going to end up being GCW Champion and getting pelted with trash, but I should have thought he would be doing something, and to circle back to Bray, I can’t comment on if he fits in with us, but I can say, if he has an ounce of passion for this, that guy can fit in anywhere because he’s a very special, special talent. That’s really all I could say there.”
AEW presents “Dynamite: Homecoming” this Wednesday night on TNT at 8/7c.
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