With AEW’s Double Or Nothing pay-per-view on its way, the fledgling promotion’s Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes sat down with Bleacher Report to discuss the pressures of starting a new brand. He also detailed the impact that Kenny Omega has had on the industry and how valuable he is to AEW as both a performer and an Executive Vice President.
With over a decade in WWE under his belt, Cody was also asked about how much of that experience will translate over into this new venture.
On the importance of Kenny Omega:
“I think what makes Kenny valuable is that he is the best big-match wrestler in pro wrestling. He doesn’t wrestle as much as someone says, like, me or the Bucks, but when he does, there’s such a commitment to it. You know he’s going to give you something just really…something you can really sink your teeth in. He’s a great example of quality over quantity. So he’s like the best big-match, big-fight wrestler in wrestling.
“He also has a really brilliant mind that is unrelated. He likes kung fu and he likes anime and he like all of these cinematic, artistic representations of violence and physicality. And he looks to those and he pulls from those. That’s needed. That’s special. He’s not just stealing from the past. He’s just creating right there on the spot. He’s really special, a unique wrestler, and he’s a hero to a lot of people. And I’m glad to have him flank me in that position.”
On the pressures of a new promotion and not making the same mistakes:
“I guess I feel a lot of pressure all the time, to begin with. I know especially during the season we’re in now with WrestleMania coming up, that’s when you see the best of the WWE…and I think to some degree, it’s so much superior to the rest-of-their-year product.
“I feel a lot of pressure in general because in saying we want to provide the alternative, you have to be as good or better, but you don’t have to take the same steps they did. I love what Ring of Honor does in providing a lot more of a high-spot-oriented, almost Japanese style of pro wrestling, but the problem with Ring of Honor is you can never find where it is, never find when it’s on. They’ve made a lot of steps with Honor Club, and I really enjoyed my time with Ring of Honor.
“But with us, I think the important thing is getting the product out there where people can see it and touch it. It’s not so much about providing a different product, it’s about providing a better product, and that’s just across the board. I like a very…I like the type of pro wrestling that I know a lot of fans like and a lot of fans have been waiting for. I’ve been using the term sport-centric, and that doesn’t lock it down, but I think people know when I say that what I mean.”
On how his time in WWE will influence AEW:
“From a creative standpoint, I think it doesn’t benefit me necessarily, because that type of presentation they have isn’t what I’m interested in. Creatively, it isn’t something I lean on. Production-wise, I will say, having been there for the decade I was there and having grown up on television, there are so many things I was able to learn from my time with the company. So many things I want to implement; things I’ve learned not to do; a great deal of things that surround putting on a megashow.
“A lot of that isn’t from the standpoint of I want it to be like this. A lot of it is from the standpoint of being a talent in the locker room. When you’re a talent in the locker room, you like that special treatment that comes from being on a big show. You like how a well-oiled production is done. You get used to it. When I left, I definitely wasn’t getting the well-oiled machine of WWE.”
AEW Double Or Nothing takes place on May 25 in Las Vegas, Nevada.