AEW wrestler and Executive Producer Cody Rhodes recently participated in a conference call where he answered a variety of questions regarding himself and the company.
During the call, Rhodes was asked whether he believes that deathmatch wrestling has a place in mainstream wrestling. He says yes, then proceeds to discuss the main event deathmatch on AEW Dynamite between Chris Jericho and Nick Gage, praising it for living up to its name. He then notes in the past that he had actually considered participating in one himself.
“Great question,” noted Cody Rhodes. “I think the match was as advertised. Chris Jericho, or that night, ‘The Painmaker’, and Nick Gage, were very clear about a deathmatch and what you were going to get. It went on in the second hour and it was indeed as advertised. I, before AEW was a thing, considered doing a deathmatch with Matt Tremont. I had really heavily considered it, and I never pulled the trigger on that. But that was indeed a deathmatch.
“And I think the answer to your question about does it have a place in television, well, we were the number one show on cable. And that is a huge honor, three weeks in a row. That’s a huge honor and responsibility to our fanbase, during the Olympics we were the number one show on cable! So yes, I think it does have a place. I don’t think it is something you will see often. That’s just my opinion, as asked for.”
Despite Cody being pleased with the match, not everyone else was. Domino’s Pizza reportedly suggested possibly pulling their advertising from future AEW shows after one of their commercials aired immediately after Gage used a pizza cutter on Jericho during the match. Gage later apologized for the incident.
Cody then went on to express the importance of having a show that is diverse. He notes that while you can have a deathmatch, you can also have other talents who cater to other demographics that are of importance to the company. He then reiterates his respect for both Jericho and Gage for putting on such a performance.
“I don’t think it’s something you’ll see often,” reiterated Rhodes. “And I think it’s important that you balance your show out with, sure there was this deathmatch between ‘The Painmaker’ and Nick Gage, an unbelievable match. But also, there are wrestlers on our roster who try to present a little bit more of a family aspect to what they do, a little bit more clean-cut.
“There are wrestlers who are a little bit more geared towards children in terms of building a younger fanbase. And that’s what really makes this wonderful buffet of wrestling. So, yeah, I do think there is a place for [deathmatch wrestling]. I don’t think it’s something you’ll see often on our product, but there’s definitely a place for it. And kudos to those guys for putting themselves through that and having a great main event.”
Later during the call Cody was asked about how AEW manages to keep their momentum going from show-to-show and week-to-week. Rhodes noted that the most important aspect of keeping the momentum going is building up new talents on a weekly basis.
“I think the answer there is what you see front and center, as much as it’s the focus and priority of the show, what’s in the ring,” Rhodes said. “What’s very important in keeping the momentum happening is what is happening with the younger talent that is developing not in the ring at that moment. Building new stars. It’s something we hear in wrestling all the time, building new stars and how it wasn’t possible and [how] you can’t do it. I would completely disagree.
“Take a look at Darby Allin. Really, look at him. There are kids at every crowd, that’s one thing I at these shows, I count the shirts I see in the front row. I see the kids with the face paint on. That’s huge to put your hat in the company, is building your next golden circle.
“We know who the golden circle of the company is right now. Their faces are on all the billboards, they’re on all the action figures, all the things. But that will change. And this is a company that will not make the mistake where we hang on too long. When it’s time to change, it’s time to change. And developing young talent is crucial. That’s why I love Dark, and love Elevation so much. To see those challenges and things done right, mistakes made, all that good stuff. Yeah, developing new stars, that’s it. The resource [of] wrestling is wrestlers, so we have to make more.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.