Cody Rhodes On The TNT Championship, AEW’s Culture And More

cody rhodes

Photo Credit: Lee South / All Elite Wrestling

All Elite Wrestling TNT Champion Cody Rhodes recently spoke with Mike Johnson of PWInsider and discussed various topics, including the TNT Championship, the changing dynamic of The Elite and the culture in AEW. Here are some highlights. Transcription credit of Mike Johnson of PWInsider.

On holding open challenges for the TNT Championship: 

Cody: “‘…There is no writing core, there’s much less scripting going involved.  With that in mind the TNT Championship has been, kinda been open mic, it’s an open challenge but it’s been an open mic for me pretty much every week as far as how I want my wrestling career, what I want to do next. It’s very important to me, very…I think some people might think it’s silly but I’m a wrestler so it’s not silly to me but it is important to me that I grow as a wrestler, I’m only going to do this for 5 more years and the next 5 more years I want to really carve out that bell to bell aspect of what I was able to do, cause I’ve always been very confident in myself in the ring, and I try not to be overly confident, but we’re dealing with different athletes now and we’re drawing from all walks of life in terms of the wrestling world…that’s what I always loved about The Elite.'”

On finding challengers for the TNT Championship matches:

Cody: “‘And per recruitment of or I guess scouting of opponents pretty much been half and half, when I think of it in my mind, Tony has some people he wants to see get in the mix, and then there’s some people I’ve wanted to see get in the mix, and never really is it a hard sell to one another on these things. Arn Anderson’s actually been involved, his involvement goes beyond the on-screen coaching role, it really is special to have him around and Jerry Lynn secretly is the, kinda been attached to me by the hip for the last few weeks and my gosh, I’m so glad to have him because it feels like 2007-8 all of a sudden again, it feels like I know nothing, and he doesn’t do it in a mean spirited way but it’s never about ‘oh what you did well or what worked’ it’s about ‘well you could have done this, you could have done this’, and really special…he’s found his identity as a coach, but this has gone very well, and I’m a large critic, very well in terms of viewership and ratings, very well in terms of critical reception to the matches  but the trick is it’s gotta keep getting better and I think there’s an element of unpredictable to the open challenge that I want to kind of turn the volume up on.'”

On forming AEW’s identity:

Rhodes: “‘Probably the largest lesson that I’ve personally, kind of taken in is that we don’t have our identity just yet, and that’s a really wonderful thing. It’s going to take time. And if you look at the campaign and the build to AEW, you look at some of the things that I said, and then you look at the product, there’s areas where we’ve done other things, there’s areas where we’ve veered from the path and then back into the path, we’re kind of putting our toes in multiple bodies of water and that I think is a really beautiful thing. I think that’s why it’s so cool to be a fan now, to jump in now with AEW, because we’re slowly forming that identity as who we are as a brand and much quicker than you would have thought, you know Fyter is already an established brand for example, Fight for the Fallen, which I do have to mention I was so keen on the idea that it remain charitable and Tony and his family, you know, quietly donating over a million dollars to North Florida Covid relief and that shirt, which you can still get now, that shirt on ShopAEW.com, Fight for the Fallen shirt, still making money for the said charities Tony’s supporting, they’re all to combat the pandemic, but with us the biggest lesson is that we haven’t found our identity yet.'”

On how his relationships with members of The Elite have changed:

Rhodes: “‘I think in a way and a lot of people will be like “No way, he’s lying”, I think in a way it’s actually made us stronger, but we don’t spend near as much time as we used to together. Everyone is so busy, Kenny is working from the time he gets there, Matt, Nick uh are always up to something in terms of the BTE is such an important brand to them, and it’s an important brand to AEW, um, and then I’m always up to something. We literally have you know, a couple of rooms in the hallway where management is all and they’re basically different offices, and sometimes you think there might be a lot of goofing on in there but it’s not, it’s literally from 1 segment to the next, from 1 talent to the next, so I think in a way years from now we’ll look at it and say it made us stronger, you know, I do miss some of the fun we had when we didn’t have as many cares in the world, believe me.'”

“‘I’m never on BTE anymore, BTE has become a spotlight for younger guys and girls and I totally get that, but uh, I have nothing but respect and love for Matt, Nick and Kenny and if you ever hear about any in-fighting or any things of that nature, sure, I’m sure there’s arguments and I’m sure there’s differences of opinion but we have never gone into a show where we weren’t all on the same page, very professional, those guys all put the professional in professional wrestler and uh, you know, we don’t spend near as much time together anymore but we have this show with our faces on it and I know we want to make it the best.'”

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