AEW EVP Cody Rhodes recently made an appearance on In The Kliq with Baby Huey ahead of the season finale of Rhodes to the Top. In the reality show, a lot of behind-the-scenes footage is shown from AEW, and Rhodes talked about balancing “protecting the business” and giving fans a look at the creative process.
“I’m the most old school wrestler, currently, in wrestling, and I am part of a show that completely pulls the curtain backwards,” Rhodes pointed out. “So there’s a huge irony there, but here’s the reality, we’re not the first to do this. The curtain was already pulled back. So, to me, it’s more insulting in 2021 – 2022 if you’re trying to put up firewalls. That’s like building a time machine. We can’t go back in time, we’re moving forward. Look at the speed of the actual sport, of actual pro wrestling. Look at how the matches have changed.
“We’re moving forward. There’s certainly things you can steal and take from the past, but again, it is a reality show. And to me, it would be more insulting to the wrestling fan if it wasn’t a reality show. It definitely took a lot of explaining for me, but for the most part, everyone understood that, and even better, the larger part of it, the fans who have kind of come out in droves for this and shattered the expectations of the show, they’ve understood it. That’s been a good feeling for me and for Brandi, and if anything, it looks like you’ll be seeing more of it. But if anything else, I have a home movie of the birth of my daughter and she’ll see one day, and that saved me the work. It’s really special. I got to just live it while they watch me live it.”
“The Forbidden Door” was a term many fans used after it was acknowledged by many wrestlers and executives. Cody discussed his goals in working with other companies.
“‘The Forbidden Door’, aka Tony Khan, is truly open. We have no qualms about working with anybody from any company,” Rhodes said. “We are focused on the AEW product and the homegrown AEW stars. Stars like Sammy Guevara, for example, we have that. We have the ability to cross the streams. I just want to continue to make the show destination programming, which it’s become.
“I want to continue to provide some of our free agents that have just joined us some fresh pathways that they can go on, which include a variety and myriad of dream matches, and then continue to cultivate the Dante Martin’s and Moriarty’s, these fresh, beautiful, brand new, innocent children who are joining the wrestling business and are so talented. That’s the goal. There’s a lot of wrestlers out there will continue to grow the roster. More the merrier, because we continue to grow our footprint on Warner Media so we want to give them the best wrestling, and currently, we do that.”
Before joining AEW and becoming EVP, Rhodes was going all around the indies and working for ROH and NJPW. He talked about what he learned during that time and how he plans on instilling that into his work in AEW.
“The number one thing I learned, other than to reconnect with the fans and get the love from them that I had needed at the time, is not to be in a bubble. For a decade, I had been in the bubble of WWE, and then the fact that AEW was able to happen proves that there was things outside the bubble,” Rhodes noted. “There might even have been a bigger bubble, but even with that, okay, I can’t get into a bubble with New Japan. I can’t get into a bubble in Impact. I can’t get into a bubble in Ring of Honor.
“All great places, but wrestling has to be for everybody. It really does, and it has to represent everybody. So that’s the number one thing is not to just be this single company individually bubbled up, basically unaware of what’s out there. Prime example, I’m aware of Jacob Fatu at MLW. I’m aware of these things that are happening in our industry, and I think everyone, from top to the bottom, Tony Khan, at the top, is aware of what’s out there and how perhaps we can connect to it.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit In The Kliq with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.