Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes has had his hands full for quite some time now. With the premiere of the most talked-about promotion/television debut in pro wrestling history, AEW Dynamite will officially begin airing this Wednesday on TNT. Rhodes is ready to break the mold when it comes to how a wrestling promotion should be run, viewed, and looked at not only for the talent involved, but for the fans who have been wanting something different to watch for a long time now.
Rhodes spoke with Rich Eisen on his self-titled show about some of the things that fans will get to witness once AEW's weekly show begins airing. One of those things that he wants to focus on specifically is building up the young roaster instead of focusing on bringing in wrestling legends.
At Double or Nothing back in May, Rhodes invited Bret Hart to reveal the new AEW World Championship. Because of his appearance as well as Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson's appearances in the company (at All Out), people have been wondering if Rhodes will continue to bring in legends on his weekly show to increase ratings.
"I try to sprinkle it in the best possible way," Rhodes says on bringing in wrestling legends on AEW events. "When you have some nostalgia, it's so important that we push forward the new class and the new roaster of talent because wrestling for a long time has been heavily reliant on bringing in legends. In this case, I just try to sprinkle them in."
Rhodes addressed in the interview that he has known throughout his whole career who he was destined to be in regards to his character. He never wanted to portray something that he was not. Instead, he wanted to portray who he is in real life. A son to wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes and a man full of charisma and talent. During his time with the WWE, he felt that the management did not understand it, which motivated him to leave the company and start working for other promotions including Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
"I had 11 years (with the WWE) and that schedule was pretty grueling," Rhodes said. "(I was working) Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. I never missed a live event. I just felt like there was a bigger picture for me. I felt like I could do more. I paid my dues. I started there when I was 20-years-old and they still treated me like I was still 20-years-old. I took the education I got from them and my dad, and I went on to be something else.
"I didn't want to be another character. I wanted to be this combination of everything that I had built. I hit the independent scene and the independent scene was thriving. The alternative brands like New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor were doing really well. I linked up with some other non-WWE backed wrestling talent and that's what ultimately led to having an alternative product (AEW)."
When the idea of AEW first arose, many people in Rhode's inner circle did not believe that this promotion would ever pull through. One of his doubters is someone near and dear to him. That person was his mother.
"An endless amount of people told me to forget it (about AEW)," Rhodes began. "The one I love proving wrong the most, is my lovely mother, who is terrified of this leap of faith. Every time we sell out a show, those are the shows I want her to be at, so she can see it, and I can say I told you so."
Rhodes mentions that he never spoke to Vince McMahon about AEW. He, however, never thought that a billionaire would ever pick up on the AEW idea. That all changed when Tony Khan, who many know to be a huge wrestling fan, thought the idea was brilliant and decided to take a gamble on this alternative promotion. It wasn't until Rhodes, Kenny Omega, and The Young Bucks were free agents, that Khan began speaking up about this idea with them.
"What happened was, there were four major free agents in wrestling," Rhodes states. "It was myself, Kenny Omega, and The Young Bucks. Tony Khan, who's a die-hard wrestling consumer and fan, was the one who said 'I can get this, I can back you guys fully. You can hold me accountable, I can hold you guys accountable, and I can get this on TNT.' He wasn't lying. The day our free agency began, he took us under his wing and everything has gone forward sense."
Rhodes elaborated more on Tony's role in AEW and how he would tell Rhodes about talents that he believed would make a great addition to the growing roster.
"(Tony) is someone I like talking to, because he has a good grip on what wrestling might be good today. '(He'd say things like) these guys are getting really popular. I saw this guy in Japan. I saw this girl at an independent event.' He has a good mind for the future and how things may be."
You can watch Cody Rhodes' full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Rich Eisen Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.