Brodie Lee Discusses his AEW Run and When he Knew He Was the Exalted One
Brodie Lee spoke with talkSPORT for a new interview promoting Double or Nothing and discussed finding out he’d be leading the Dark Order in AEW, his creative freedom in AEW and more.
On how long he knew he would be the head of the Dark Order: “Man, that’s really hard to say! I was supposed to debut in my hometown of Rochester, New York on March 13, so that was a bit of a kick in the gut. But, I think I knew far before that. We had started to plan, get some things together, get gear made and get a suit together [laughs]. So a little bit in advance to get the bearings of what I want to become and we’re still kind of fleshing that out as it goes. Because, as of March 13, everything got thrown for a loop and we kind of had to reset and as people [fans] come back, we’ll reset again.”
On working with Tony Khan and AEW’s EVP team: “Kenny and The Bucks are three people that I can’t wait to mix it up with also. I’ve been watching them for years and I can’t wait for the opportunity to get in the ring with them. I’ve mainly touched base with Cody on this character so far. The Bucks haven’t been around since all this [the pandemic] started just because it’s been insane. So I think pretty soon we’re going to have everybody back to full bore here and I can’t wait. I’ve been in contact with The Bucks quite a bit throughout all this and I can’t wait to wrestle them, honestly. That’s one of my main goals here.”
On what the conversations around his direction for the Dark Order were like: “It was laid out to me to be whatever I want it to be. It’s my vision now to make it what I want. It kind of got thrown for a loop when the pandemic started because we had some other things going on that we were going to get to. We weren’t able to, but we will get to those. We have a group mentality to conquer things, but, like I said, not everybody is around so I had to do it on my own. In terms of brainstorming, it’s more like ‘hey, what do you think? This is what I think’ and we bounce off each other and get to a conclusion pretty quickly. It’s pretty refreshing, I’ll be honest with you.”
On the creative freedom he has in AEW: “So, I’ll put it this way: when I did my debut promo vignette, I kind of asked some people, ‘well, what do you want said?’ And they said ‘this is your promo, your vignette, you say what you wanna say. You’ve been a caged animal for so long, go ahead and say what you want to say.’ So I’m like ‘Ok’ [stunned reaction]. I put a little promo together and it came off very well. And the same thing with last week; that was pretty much the first time I’ve spoken on a live mic for over 10 seconds in the last eight years because I was never given that opportunity to do that in WWE. It was kind of the same process. ‘Hey, go say what you want to say, just make sure you lay out the challenge to him and make sure he accepts it’.”
On being able to provide he could do mic work after not being able to do so in WWE: “Well, it’s a huge relief. But I’ve said this before in other interviews, there’s now pressure on me because there’s nobody to blame. There’s no writer to say ‘Hey, you wrote that’ if it wasn’t good’ – now I’m the writer. So if it’s not good, it’s on me. So there’s another layer of pressure, but there’s another layer of creativity and fulfilment from that. And I’m the one that has to be able to look myself in the mirror at the end of the day, so it’s either going to be good or it isn’t. And I know I can make it good, so I’m pretty confident in that.
“The thing was, Tony Khan laid it out to me and said ‘if you don’t wanna debut now, you don’t have to. We’ll wait.’ And I said the same thing, I’ve been a caged animal for so long now being off the road and out of the ring that I just want to engage myself in something creative and get back in professional wrestling. I love to wrestle, I hated being away from it. So there wasn’t a shadow of a doubt that I was going to be there on March 13. The first one was strange to walk out there with nobody around, then the second one when I wrestled QT Marshall was even stranger because we didn’t even have anybody in the crowd. And it is almost a surreal feeling. But once you get inside the ropes, you kick into almost a different level of insanity, for me, where you become this persona and we’re performing for our TV audience and in front of our peers. And the respect of my peers is a huge thing for me. So it’s a different aspect of it, but man, I cannot wait to get back in front of an AEW crowd because I haven’t experienced it yet.”
On if he had his heart set on AEW when he left WWE: “Nothing was ever guaranteed. I basically wanted to wrestle. I wanted to wrestle while I still could. As your career goes on and on, you have injuries, things happen and I just didn’t want to waste it sitting at home and collecting a paycheck, it just didn’t feel right to me. Like we talked about; having two kids, what example do I set for them? And at the same time, when I’m 70 years old and I look in the mirror, am I going to be able to stare back at the person looking at me? Because I didn’t want to have a regret, not one in life. And when I came home one day and I was pretty much set on leaving [WWE], my wife told me ‘go ahead, we’ll be fine no matter what happens’. I knew right there, there was no going back. But as they continued to pursue me, it became harder and harder to say no [laughs]. But all I wanted to do was wrestle.”