Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks and Excalibur took part in a panel at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo 2020 this afternoon. Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman was at the panel and we covered it live on our Twitter @WrestlingINC. Below are some highlights from the panel:
- Excalibur asks about how All In was a test to see if they could compete with WWE. WWE gets booed and Cody asks, "What? Did they get bad press yesterday?"
- Excalibur asks about Pro Wrestling Tees and the others that paved the way for AEW. Cody jokes that Ryan Barkan has an ego. They then bring up Tony Khan and how influential he has been. They praise his mind. Cody says Tony once gave a match of his a really bad review on-line. Excalibur noted that Tony met Jim Ross at All In and that's where everything started to come together.
- Matt talks about how they were originally just going to announce another show last NYE but the AEW trademarks leaked so they decided to announce the whole promotion. They all talk about how miserably cold that night in Tokyo was they filmed the NYE announcement vignette.
- Cody talks about how Chris Jericho wanted a serious meeting with them early before he signed and they invited him to a TGIF in Japan. They got the "backstage" private room. Cody noted that Jericho seemed underwhelmed by the meeting.
- Cody then praised Dean Malenko for having a cool head backstage. Excalibur admitted that Dean has the best sense of humor of anyone in the locker room. Cody said that Dean and MJF will be playfully mean back and forth to each other backstage and it's really something to watch. The "MJF" reference got loudly booed.
- Matt and Cody said that one of their original AEW signings took place at a TGIF. Matt says it was Tony's idea to do the Jacksonville rally. Matt says he was ready to go to Disney World with his family and Tony told him to cut the vacation short. He sent a private jet. Matt talks about how sick his kids got on the flight and how beat he was at the rally. His eyes were bloodshot. They talk about all the pyro at the stadium and Cody noted how Tony owns that parking lot. He was very clear about that.
- The Bucks talk about how challenging it was to stay interesting after the rally when nothing was really happening. They talk about working indies then and how a lot of AEW talent started doing it. They note fans chased them like The Beatles at a Bar Wrestling show.
- Matt said in the beginning none of them knew what they were doing and were all wearing 25 hats. Says they micromanaged Double Or Nothing and were just ready to have it done by day of. They questioned how they'd do weekly TV.
- Excalibur talks about the production team being assembled from scratch like the wrestling roster. Matt talks about how Excalibur was one of the first people they knew they'd hire. Says they like his look at the desk in a mask. Cody says that pairing Excalibur with Jim Ross is all about bridging tradition and what is new. Says a good snapshot of AEW is Tully Blanchard staring across the ring at Orange Cassidy and taking it seriously. Excalibur says Tully told him that Orange gets a big pop and that's all that matters. Cody says they are trying to serve all fans and give a lot of everything with their product. Notes that the gauge of what works is what gets a pop and makes the crowd happy. Loud applause.
- Excalibur brings up how at the last minute Kenny Omega requested a stack of giant poker chips for DoN. Cody said how those chips would have cost a lot less money if he'd have asked earlier. Says they could've been $2500 but wound up $7000. Say it was worth it.
- Excalibur says there is no blueprint for AEW so there is a lot of experimenting. Matt teases the staging for AEW Revolution and notes there will be interactive elements. He doesn't want to spoil anything.
- Matt says TNT and Cody wanted time name the weekly show AEW Revolution. They claim Tony Khan had always envisioned the show being called Dynamite so they saw through his vision. He said that they did tests and Dynamite resonated better too.
- Nick says the fans are part of the show. Cody says he told WarnerMedia that other than Jericho, their biggest star was their fans. They all agree that the crowds have stayed consistently on fire reaction wise. Say Kansas City last week was particularly hot.
- Nick says Omega vs PAC in an Iron Man match was the best televised pro wrestling match ever.
- Cody talks about how different he is than The Bucks but says he respects how well they handle their meet and greats. Says they weren't famous five minutes ago and now they are and they are still some of the best people on earth.
That was the end of the panel, we will highlights from the Q&A shortly.