AEW star Cody Rhodes joined Busted Open Radio Thursday to talk about, among other things, the negative reaction he’s received from AEW fans recently. Rhodes revealed he was going in a direction perhaps no wrestling had previously gone, and stated if fans wanted to boo him, they were more than welcome to.
“I’m of the outlook that if you pay your money to attend the show, if you give us your attention to watch the show, you can do whatever you want,” Rhodes said. “I think our competition in the wrestling space, one of the things that has hurt them is their inability to hear. If you’re a wrestler in the ring, you can hear. And if you don’t hear, you’re doing yourself a disservice, you’re doing the whole card a disservice, you’re doing the match you’re in a disservice. I can hear. But I also play chess, not checkers. I think it’s fun to speculate and there’s so much that we’ve seen in the past ‘that’s how this went and that’s how this could go.’ The challenge I’m facing in the direction I’m going is something that has never been done in wrestling before.
“There’s tons of just old plays that we could run here. ‘Oh, kick this guy in the balls and abuse my EVP power.’ Very soapy, very soap opera, what I would just call b******t. I don’t mean to say that harsh, but the challenge for me now is to go in a direction that perhaps no wrestler has gone before. I don’t come out of either tunnel. That’s probably the best way to put it, and I’m looking forward to it. The most fun I’ve ever had in my career has been navigating some of these new spaces. For example, in New York, we had 25,000 people and that reaction’s a little different. Last week, I’m in the concourse doing a book drive for community outreach and it’s the opposite of that reaction in Philly. That beautiful feeling of ‘alright, these are my people.’ It depends. Some places I go, they’ll be my people. Other places I go, they won’t. But that’s your right as the fan. Do what you want.”
Rhodes also talked about Rhodes to the Top, the reality series focusing on his life with wife, AEW Chief Branding Officer Brandi Rhodes, and their AEW experiences. Rhodes described being filmed for the show as annoying, in a good way.
“I mean no disrespect to Shed Media or to our friends at WarnerMedia, but it’s very annoying,” Rhodes said. “The annoyance of it, it’s a great complaint to have that these people want to document this company as it grows, and they want to document our family as it grows. It did get to the point that some of the reasons I think the show is really quality is it got to the point where many times I said ‘hey guys, I’ll wear this mic and you can follow me with that character. But don’t stage anything, don’t ask me to repeat something, don’t ask me to frame something up. Just film. If you just film, you’ll be very happy with ultimately what you get.’ I think that’s been a great complaint to have, that they were very annoying.
“They were very persistent, they did their best in being back of house at AEW. That crew learned a lot about wrestling. They certainly did. They got an up and close personal look at the build to our PPV, the highs and lows of that build. But yeah, that was annoying. And I’m ready to be annoyed again, because it was fun and seeing the show, my kind of respond in the wrestling community right now is very polarizing. A lot of boos, there’s some cheers. Boos, cheers, whatever it may be, it also depends on the market you’re in. But when it comes to Rhodes to the Top, I’m very excited, and I know when it’s on because everything on my phone is very positive. People are really enjoying the show, and it’s a side of me I didn’t think people would see. But now they’re seeing it, and I’m all in on it.”
Another topic was Rhodes’ current relationship with coach Arn Anderson, who has called out Rhodes on both TV and Busted Open recently. Rhodes teased something between him and Anderson occurring on Dynamite, and said that Anderson was his coach and he would listen going forward.
“I think the pattern of Arn and my relationship from the time I started working under him in 2007 to him coaching me now is I think that student/teacher dynamic, in my mind, had shifted a little bit,” Rhodes said. “Not where I was the teacher but where I was in a different position. I was the one that asked Arn to have the play card, I was the one that put him in the Mike Ditka look to have him as the coach, which he did. But I can also see that’s not really what Arn Anderson does. And when you have Arn Anderson sitting in a chair in the corner of your locker room, and you’re talking about ‘how you’re going to do this’ and it will be awesome, and ‘how you’re going to do this’ and the crowds going to react. It’s almost insulting to Arn, because he would actually know. He actually lived and breathed this.
“There’s a clip of him and Dusty and Ronnie Garvin and Flair, where the entire crowd is in a near riot over the good guys prevailing, and he lived it. And sometimes I think I forget to ask Arn ‘hey, what do you think?’ Sometimes I think I probably neglected Arn to a degree, especially when I went to film the second season of Go Big Show, which I assume is what he got the Hollywood line from, which is a kick in the nuts for sure. But I think it’s all fun being self aware and transparent. I don’t think Arn is wrong. I don’t think he’s entirely right either, but I think is the time in his career with me where I’m going to let him lead. This weekend we’re doing something fun on Dynamite, according to him. Something fun. I’m going to let him lead. He’s the coach, and I’ll let him coach. I think that’s when our relationship was at its best, when he was coaching and I was listening.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription