Cody Shoots Down AEW Doing WrestleMania Weekend Events

Mar 7, 2019 - by James Walsh

Cody spoke with the New York Post for a new interview discussing AEW’s plans, Chris Jericho’s involvement and more. Highlights are below:

On choosing to make AEW as fresh as possible: “In terms of talent, that’s what matters a great deal to me. It’s one of the biggest factors in hiring is fresh. To give you an example: We’ve all watched a lot of wrestling where a lot of guys have been recycled and rehashed and reused, and there is always a lot of activation of the legend. I totally get that. I’m not anti it. I just think, if you’re starting a company and not many people have been starting a company in wrestling, you start with people they haven’t seen and people who haven’t gotten the opportunity and get to grow up in front of you and balance it out. Chris Jericho is a six-time world champion, cool. And that only helps the people he shares that locker room with, and that’s been a big thing. It’s ironic that it’s the ex-WWE guy saying it in me, but obviously we don’t just want to do, “He’s ex-WWE, let’s throw him the world and hope he comes hang out with us.””

On Tony Khan saying that the plan is to build around eight to ten core roster members: “I think Tony’s initial investment in all of this, it didn’t start with, ‘I want to run the alternative wrestling company.’ It started with The Elite itself. We were talking at one point about financing an All In 2 or the sequel, but he was really smart and had the foresight to see what I saw and what Matt [Jackson] saw is that if you have Kenny [Omega], Matt, Nick [Jackson] and myself and Hangman [Page], you have that. All you have to do it put names across from those and you have a pretty damn good card.”

On how they plan to avoid the concern of wrestlers in charge putting themselves over: “In wrestling, some people tend to want it written and some people want it booked. I like wrestling when it’s booked. That’s the wrestling my father [Dusty Rhodes] was famous for, the territory era. I’m not trying to bring back that era, but I think it yielded really good content, versus sitcom writers writing a wrestling show. I know that sounds so anti-WWE, it’s not. I’m just telling you from a standpoint of what we provide. If you want heavily scripted TV, that’s something WWE can do. If you want sports-centric booked wrestling, I think that’s something we can do. I’ll say this, my dad always got a lot of criticism for when he was involved with Ric Flair for so long, he was the champ at certain times and he was also the booker. Well, if you were living in the era or coming to those shows, those were pretty much the two most over guys in Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes. We do want to careful and not do that, but the cool thing is, we’re still wrestlers at heart. If the fans want it, we’ll absolutely give it to them. But I’m very cognizant of it. I grew up in the era of everybody knows the business of the business. I’ve had to have so many conversations that I didn’t want to have with people telling me the mistakes my dad made. And every time I just grit my teeth, but the truth is, I hear them. I know what they’re saying. I learned from the things he did really, really well and the things he might have not. I’m very cautious stepping into this because even when we talk to talent and hire talent, I want them to know it’s not the Cody show.”

On making jokes on Being the Elite about WWE: “If you’re able to have fun with yourself, nobody is safe from BTE. BTE is, on a personal level, super valuable to me because I try to be the most aware person ever and that means aware of the things that are wrong with me and BTE is one of the best things because it’s brought it out. It’s brought out my ego and these silly little things about wrestling. I think we take it pretty lightly on WWE. The more we do stuff with AEW, the more we are like, “Well, that joke, we don’t need it.” But there’s some stuff because they have been in power for two decades and even more than that really without any competition, and I’m not dismissing that run TNA had during the Spike time. I’m just saying it was a blip to them versus the situation with the type of backing and the type of partners that WWE thinks we have and they’re right. I think we take it pretty lightly. Like I was saying, they’ve had no one make fun of it. It’s been so taboo, so afraid to say anything about them, especially from a talent perspective to talk about it. We’re going to make mistakes, but there are some funny stuff that’s out there that’s cool to bring up. A lot of it though, if you bring Triple H on “Being the Elite,” Triple H is a pretty over character. I’m sure he’s not pissed off about that. I’m sure he’s flattered. He knocked me out. He possessed me. I don’t even know how it worked. So I’m sure that will continue. The people who get the biggest kick out of that are the guys who work for WWE.”

On if AEW will do anything during WrestleMania week: “No. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s WWE’s weekend and we won’t be near it and I’m not being coy or anything of that nature and I’ll extrapolate and tell you why. I wrestled Kenny Omega at one of my favorite matches at SuperCard of Honor. I believe it’s last year’s SuperCard. I felt like I broke my back in terms of the amount of physical effort and the amount of mental effort for that match. We had the record for an ROH crowd at the time at the Lakefront Arena. But no matter what we did, it still was there in the back of your mind that all these people are here for WWE this weekend. It still was a piggyback. It didn’t dismiss our efforts or the show we put on. It didn’t dismiss Ring of Honor. If we’re gonna succeed [at AEW], I want to succeed on our own and if we are gonna fail I want to fail on my own. I don’t want to be anywhere near it.”

On how involved Chris Jericho has been with creative: “Chris Jericho is always gonna be the same. There is a reason he’s closed out a WrestleMania. He’s very, very, very involved and he’s very smart and very fair. I think heavy, heavy, heavy disagreements with me and Chris Jericho. I have a ton of respect for him, but we disagree on a great deal. But him coming to AEW is a huge endorsement, massive. This guy, I grew up watching him and to watch him at that rally, it was MJF [Maxwell Jacob Freeman] who he walked by. To watch MJF, who doesn’t sell anything, and literally his eyes light up so it was a surprise. That to me is a big endorsement. He’s not wrong when he says he’s the bridge between the fans we have and the fans we don’t and I’m glad to have him [Jericho]. He’s kind of a d–k, but I’m glad to have him.”

On if Double Or Nothing’s quick selling changes how they are approach booking buildings moving forward: “No, we obviously want everyone to be able to get tickets and I’m aware it’s just the second event we’ve done as a group, but it’s the first event we’ve done under the AEW banner and we’re gonna carve out a more regular schedule as we go, most people have already guessed. I don’t know how to not think big. It’s just a byproduct of being related to Dusty. I can’t speak for AEW, but believe me, I have two buildings in my mind that I just know I would like to take a shot at for sure and I can’t say either of them. But larger than 10 thousand [seats].”

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