All Elite Wrestling Executive Vice President “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes recently had a conversation with TalkSport on a number of topics, including how AEW has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, how he thinks his TNT Title run has gone so far and more.
Below are the highlights from the interview:
On the Wednesday Night Ratings and AEW trying to put on their best possible show:
“I think early on we were looking at it, and there’s really that specialness with X amount of wrestling fans tuning in on a Wednesday night. As a big wrestling fan, what does that mean to me etc. I think now with where we’re at and as we’re gearing towards our next big pay-per-view, and we’re gearing towards Fight for the Fallen, we really have to put our focus on having the best show. It’s really easy to get caught up in the weeds with like ‘for X amount of weeks we beat WWE in the ratings’ or get into this wild demo discussion – if you ever catch me tweeting about the demos, please just delete my account.
“And it’s not wrong, I respect everyone that is bringing it up. And I don’t make the top 50, that’s the thing. People spam me and the management core; Showbuzz Daily, they make the top 50. We don’t make the lists. So, if we’re ahead of your favourite or your favourite shows, spam them! [laughs]. I don’t know what to tell you! I think instead of romanticising about the amount of people that are watching, I think the show has to be about getting better. I think there’s only been twice where I thought ‘I didn’t like the end of that show.’ I don’t think we ended better than last week. And that’s the goal, having the absolute best wrestling show we can possibly have with a disciplined and non-hot shot approach, but keeping the spontaneity, keeping the fire there and focus on longterm plans and things of that nature which we’ve done.”
On how AEW has handled the COVID-19 pandemic:
“I’m really happy with how we’ve handled this pandemic and every week you find out something new about what you could be doing better or what you are doing well. Doctor Samson, who is our chief medical member has been really strict. He is not a pro-company doctor as far as he is pro… it’s hard to put, but basically, he’s a doctor who will not let anything slide, and that’s the the type of doctor I think you want heading up your team. He is as rigorous as the CDC guidelines as themselves and I really like that.”
On how he thinks his TNT Title run has gone so far:
“I’ve been particularly pleased. I mean, I’m my own worst critic. I’m a big critic of me rather than my opponents. Last week, I experimented with Jerry Lyn as my coach. Someone who could put his expert eye on the match itself. For one thing, it was great to have Jerry monitoring my match with Jake Hager but it also felt like I was a trainee after because he didn’t stop with an endless amount of things that he thought could have been better and that’s great. Everyone at AEW should be accessing the wealth of knowledge we have in guys like Jerry, Arn [Anderson], Dean [Malenko], Dustin [Rhodes], our coaching staff from top to bottom. So I’m always critical of myself, but it is what I set out for it to be so far in terms of different and a variety. We’re talking about a guy like Ricky Starks who had $4 in his bank account when he came to Jacksonville. He impressed Tony so much that he left there with a job.”
“And that’s not what the intention really is of the open challenge, that really wasn’t it. I’m glad it became a side story to it, so I’ve been very happy. I know a lot of people are waiting for the title to be finished and the current one I have is just steel with paint on it. I think it’s adorable, but it’s not what it’s supposed to look like and you wait for that nickel plating and silver plating and that will really, hopefully, give it this whole new pop. But they’ll be hard pressed to get this one away from me because it just represents a crazy time in the world.”