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Cody Explains All Elite Wrestling’s Contract Tier System

All Elite Wrestling Executive Vice President “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes recently appeared as a guest on AEW’s Unrestricted podcast with the hosts AEW Announcer Tony Schiavone and AEW referee Aubrey Edwards to discuss a number of important matters, including the promotion surpassing its first year in the pro wrestling business and his thoughts on the incredible feat.

“The American Nightmare” Cody said that he was more pessimistic than everybody else, and not because he doesn’t have any confidence, but because he is living in the same situation Tony Schiavone did in WCW.

Cody also said that he remembers his father, Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, and a number of other people celebrating WCW’s ratings and talking about the ratings, and the next thing you know, what WCW was, it all just went away, which is why that fear made his more pessimistic than others.

This is what Cody Rhodes said:

“I feel like I take the more pessimistic stance [out] of everybody.” “Not because I don’t have confidence. It’s because I lived the same thing you lived Tony. I just lived it as a son vs. being in the mix, but I remember Dusty getting the ratings on Thursday via fax.

I remember them celebrating the ratings, talking about the ratings and wrestling being the most popular thing ever, and the next thing you know, this area, this jewel of the south that was Atlanta, where all of WCW was, it just went away. And then there was this terrible fallout four years. The south, for the most part, was lacking its wrestling.”

“So that fear and that experience makes it so that I’m always very pessimistic, but to answer your question, because I’m more pessimistic, I did not think we would be doing as well as we’re doing, and that’s with COVID in mind. I thought we would be moving, and shaking and aiming for expansion, but you mentioned the TV Guide thing.”

“To be in the top 50 shows, to maintain top five cable series, to take a dip in the ratings and then shoot right back up with the Brodie [Lee] and Dustin episode cruising fully and registering over a million in this era with attention spans the way they are and the cord cutting and all of that good stuff. I didn’t think we would be expanding, and I wouldn’t think we’d be in this spot right now. I’m very happy and also very trepidatious and scared. I want it to keep going. I don’t want anyone to screw it up.”

Cody Rhodes then discussed how the current wrestling system that is in place wants AEW to ultimately fail, but so far the promotion is in its second year and for them there is no end in sight, so they just have to keep working and expanding.

This is what Cody Rhodes said:

“We got to check, and we got it balanced each other because the wrestling system that has been in place systematically would love this to fail because ‘oh, no way will this work.'” “There’s multiple wrestlers with creative. There’s random, weird job titles. It’s half office have not. No way will it work, but so far, we’re in year two. New logo. (Rhodes knocks on wood) There’s no end in sight. So we just have to keep working. Keep expanding.”

Cody Rhodes then talked about and explained AEW’s current contract tier system, revealing that a lot of their talents, even the indie wrestlers, are signed to a tier 0 contract, which means that they make a lot in bonuses. Cody also explained that tier 0 is just like a signing bonus contract and it is something that guarantees exclusivity to AEW in terms of that they get first option on the talents and they guarantee the talents a certain amount of dates. Cody then discussed the other tiers in AEW and joked that there is also a “tier Jericho” as well.

This is what Cody Rhodes said:

“Agree to appear is a tier 0 meaning you’ll get a bonus, which Tony’s super super generous. If you ask some of these extras what they’re making for being there (Rhodes takes a moment), my dad would have lost it.” “But he’s right. It’s COVID era. They have no other work. There’s no indies. Tier 0 is just a signing bonus and exclusivity to us in terms of we get a first option on you I believe is how it works, and we guarantee you x amount of dates, five dates.”

“The exclusivity thing is case by case, but we guarantee you x amount of dates. The goal is you don’t want to pay someone agree to appear, Chris Harrington would handle this much better than I am, you don’t want to keep giving them their weekly, their weekly, their weekly, their weekly vs. tier 1-ing them, which is our base contractor agreement. That’s another thing, we’re just talking about Tony, we built a middle card and a lower card. We have tier 1’s, tier 2’s, tier 3’s, tier 4 and tier Jericho.”

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