SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Prior to AEW’s Dynamite Episode from Atlanta, Ga. AEW executive vice president Cody Rhodes held a press conference for assembled wrestling media. Below are the highlights of that conference:
-When asked about events and names that Cody has registered, he mentioned that it’s unlikely we would see many, “with the exception of one, hint hint”. Cody said that his goal with the trademarks were to assist his mother in protecting Dusty’s IP. Bash and the Beach was mentioned as not returning potentially.
-Cody was asked who were underrated members of the AEW roster, which Cody said he wasn’t comfortable using as the phrase due to its connotation of lack of push or belief from a company, but cited Jack Evans as a person he would like to see get more opportunities as a singles wrestler.
-On Jeff Cobb, Cody mentioned that the advantage of working with a Tony Khan is the flexibility to have “gestation” periods of relationships with wrestlers, where they may not have them under a long term contract, but can use their talents without impeding other bookings. Cited Wrestle Kingdom as an example, and followed up with their intention being to try and get Cobb for longer term, but at this time “he’s gotta keep it close to the vest” in terms of answering media on the relationship with Cobb.
-On the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Cody said they’re going to load up with AEW appearances due to Double or Nothing 2 having a Dynamite following the event that Wednesday.
-In terms of the search for new talent, Cody said that AEW is a “bell to bell” company and so that will weigh heavily in any recruitment efforts.
-Cody then was asked about the potential for a training facility, which Cody said he’d taken the lead in ownership of a facility in Norcross, Georgia they’ve dubbed the “Nightmare Factory”. While it isn’t officially associate with AEW, signees Anthony Ogogo and Sadie Gibbs are currently training there, and Dean Malenko has held a seminar there with 85% of the roster in attendance. It is Cody’s hope that Nightmare Factory eventually is AEW affiliated.
-Cody talked about the women’s division growing, and that the criticism/feedback cannot be ignored and you have to grow it with time. Said he didn’t want to get “Woke Points” for having a women’s division like some groups have done in the past, and wanted to note the women are doing quite well in minute to minute viewership and merchandise.
-On the question of Chicago and the spirit there for wrestling, Cody noted that it’s responsible for giving the company their start, and so wants to be loyal to the region. Didn’t want to get in trouble with “rest of the office” for giving away plans in the area, but mentioned more to come in the area.
-As a follow up to my question to Tony Khan regarding wrestlers of color in the singles scene as asked by Joe Anthony Myrick of Fansided, Cody noted that there is still work to be done to have AEW reflect what America in 2020 looks like. Cody followed with saying there needed to be more folks that look like Big Swole, Private Party and Scorpio Sky in the promotion and that has continued to be the goal. Mentioned Chris Bey as a person in particular that he’s been looking at as the conference was going on.
-I asked Cody as a follow up to that question what can AEW and the EVPs do to make sure that they’re about the work of diversifying the roster and their content without seeking out the “woke points” he mentioned earlier. Cody said that the importance is to make less statements and to have what is on AEW Dynamite reflect their vision and mission far better that just words.
-Cody was asked by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful about acquiring the rights to All In, and has a good relationship with ROH personnel. Cody additionally said ROH doesn’t own the name, but the Massies do. Cody said his focus is on AEW but that acquisition could happen in the future.
-Cody was asked about Val Venis’ response to Nyla Rose winning the AEW Women’s title, and said that “if you were a fan of Val Venis back in the day you’d be disappointed”. Cody said that Venis is like the Disco Inferno of WWE and no one knows him anymore. Cody finished by saying you “can’t give people like that oxygen” and “you can’t hit the ball back to them” to end the propogation of their bigoted comments.
-Cody concluded the conference discussing the possibility of AEW in Canada in 2020 and said he loved the country and would like the first show to be in Toronto. None are in the cards at present at the moment.