PRESS CONFERENCE HIGHTLIGHTS: Cody Rhodes discusses roster diversity, working with young talent, whether he will be watching NXT backstage during Dynamite
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AEW EVP Cody Rhodes conducted a press conference with the wrestling media today ahead of AEW Dynamite debuting on TNT tomorrow night.
Here are the highlights of his interview:
-Cody was asked about NXT as competition. Cody said you’ll never hear him disparage NXT. He has a locker room full of friends over there. He talked about Kenny Omega’s recent controversial remarks on Twitter about the NXT roster and said that Omega’s remarks were made in character about NXT and he was having fun.
-PWTorch columnist Sean Radican asked Cody Rhodes about following through on storylines where he’s working with young talent. Radican referenced unfinished storylines with Flip Gordon last year leading into the “All In” PPV and Darby Allin after Cody went to a draw with him at “Fyter Fest” in June. He asked Rhodes what he was going to do to follow through on strorylines with talent now that he had 52 weeks of TV to work with and asked Cody about working with rising star Sammy Guevara in the first match on Dynamite. Cody said he is going to integrate what he’s done in the “Road to” series to introduce new talent. He said he’s got unfinished business with Darby Allin based on their draw.
Cody said he won’t go to Full Gear if he loses to Sammy Guevera tomorrow night on Dynamite. He said that with 52 weeks they have the chance to play some new songs and mentions several talents young talents like MJF Jungle Boy that will get the chance to shine.
-Cody was asked about using the Rhodes name. He says he can use the Rhodes name, but he won’t. He said he liked getting the name Cody over in Japan. He says by no means is WWE holding that name hostage. He says he made enough out of the Rhodes name in the past.
-Cody said he’s not good with math in regards to a recent tweet he made where he said 40% of the roster hadn’t been revealed. He said there’s a great deal of talent left that they haven’t used. Cody mentioned wanting to use Aerostar and Black Taurus from AAA. He said a lot of talent has been saved for Dynamite and had been purposely kept off the other PPVs and specials AEW ran this year.
-Cody was asked about expectations for the ratings of Dynamite on TNT. He said they have a ratings number they want to hit tomorrow, but he doesn’t want to say what it is right now. Cody said the live audience will be the biggest test tomorrow and their reaction to the show will be a big indicator to what the ratings are. Cody said Turner has big expectations and they hope to bring back the millions of fans that left wrestling when WCW closed.
-PWTorch contributor Rich Fann asked Cody about the lack of diversity on top of the singles division. Fann mentioned several minority wrestlers that might be deserving of a spot on the roster. Cody said the roster a work in progress. He asked Fann to link him up with the wrestlers he mentioned when the interview is over and he will check out their matches.
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-Cody announced that AEW will come to the UK in 2020.
-Cody said that right now the AEW roster is at 85% capacity. He says TV has been written and there’s a lot of emphasis on long form storytelling. He said people having a bad Raw or Smackdown can’t just call him and get a spot.
-Cody was asked about getting talent over that is unknown to the public and he said they have two hours of moldable clay and shoulder content like the “Being the Elite” and “Road To” series that are popular to introduce the audience to new talent.
– Cody said AEW will present a buffet for fans. He said the only thing that matters is what fans think. He said “Being the Elite” is the Deadpool of wrestling and the “Road To” series is old school southern wrestling. Cody also mentioned that Omega has brought in Joshi wrestling as another added element to Dynamite.
-Cody said PPVs will likely be quarterly. He said PPVs are expensive and less is more. Rhodes said AEW is looking at 4-5 major PPVs per year. Cody said the forth PPV in the calendar year after Full Gear will be on the west coast.
-Cody was asked about AEW airing in Germany. He said he’s hoping the German market isn’t left out tomorrow. He says they don’t want to leave anybody out.
-Cody said he’d like to buy War Games back. He said Dusty Rhodes came up with it on a napkin in a parking lot and Arn Anderson saw it and was a witness. He says the current format in WWE isn’t true to the original concept of War Games.
-Cody also talked about developing new match concepts in AEW. He said Nick Jackson came up with the layered Battle Royale concept for the pre-shows, but he said they got the formula right with the Women’s Battle Royale at “All Out” last month. Cody announced he has the rights to the Bunkhouse Stampede and Battle Bowl match concepts.
-Cody was asked if he will be watching NXT on a monitor backstage while Dynamite is being taped live. He says they won’t be watching NXT backstage and they’ll be focused on their own show. He said they will be aware of what happened come Thursday when they look at the side by side numbers. He went on to say that WWE’s move to USA on Wednesday was a reaction to AEW, so they can watch them on Wednesday nights backstage on the monitors.
-Cody was asked about storyline development going forward in AEW. He said there are no weekend live events, so the heart and soul of their storylines will go into Dynamite. There will be specific storylines that only take place on Dynamite and not on PPV. Cody said they can bring fans back by using twitter angles. He talked about MJF getting shutdown on Twitter when he put down “Dungeons and Dragons” to build his match against Brandon Cutler on Dynamite tomorrow.
-Cody said nothing has surprised him from the corporate side because he saw what Dusty did as a performer and management while he was with Turner. He said he had three decades of talking wrestling with the best minds to prep him for this moment tomorrow.
–Cody mentions how he has flanked himself with smart people like Chris Harrington to run the numbers from a business standpoint and help him where he lacks on the corporate side. Cody mentions that he did not attend college.
-Cody was asked about how wins and losses will work on Dynamite. He said wins and losses will count, but it will be like college football where you look at the quality of wins. He talks about the press release to SI that announced AEW World Champion Chris Jericho vs. Cody Rhodes main event for the “Full Gear” PPV in November talking about the quality of his wins, which earned him a shot at the AEW World Championship. He also mentioned that as time goes on, AEW will have charts that track which moves have put away certain competitors and that information will be used on TV.