On Monday, we had the chance to speak with Cody Rhodes, Executive Vice President of All Elite Wrestling. We covered a wide range of topics and will publish highlights from the interview in a few parts. In Part 1 of our recap, Cody speaks about his vision for AEW and how they plan to differentiate themselves from WWE.
A More Sports-Based Product
We asked Cody how he feels All Elite Wrestling will differ from WWE’s brand of over-produced corporate Sports Entertainment .
“I grew up in the world of sports entertainment myself because my main career experience is with WWE,” he said. “But when I say sports entertainment, I have a love for the side of the business that skews more towards sports. You find that a lot in New Japan Pro Wrestling, you find that a lot in early 90’s WCW that I am always notoriously raving about, I find it a lot in my father’s product, the same with Bill Watts – it’s more of the sports side of it. Pro wrestling is absolutely sports entertainment but it’s also pro wrestling. I think that’s the direction that we’d like to lean.”
Cody continued, “Initially, this was just the idea of doing a sequel to All In. Now it’s a massive endeavor that I’ve committed the rest of my career to. We want to keep that same spirit that we had going into All In, which was a wrestling show for wrestling fans by wrestlers. That’s really key. I spoke real briefly about a couple of things that are going to be really different, but I can say something that Tony [Khan] brings to the table in his analytical experience and his experience in the pro sports world, we’re going to have a heavy emphasis on wins and losses and will be leaning into the sports side of it in terms of that mattering a lot more. We’re not planning to create characters and chance moments in a single night vs. hopefully a more long-form story.”
Wins & Losses
At the Double or Nothing Rally earlier this month, Cody stated that wins and losses will be a big part of All Elite Wrestling. Digging into that topic further, Cody revealed that AEW is considering the possibility of featuring win/loss records and rankings.
“This is preliminary, but I can tell you that we have talked about rankings and we have talked about records. As a kid, we probably all read Pro Wrestling Illustrated and the different mags where they’d have the rankings. Everything we’d like to do is an effort to engage the audience. Not in a way that insults their intelligence. It is something that’s been discussed. I can’t confirm that we’ll do records, or we’ll do an analytical take on it, but I’ve seen some mock ups for some pretty cool stuff.”
“If you really think about it, somebody like Chris Jericho who just signed with All Elite Wrestling, that’s a really cool record to take a look at. Analytically, it’s a really unique outlook on his career, it’s incredibly impressive. New Japan does it in their own unique way, with Tag League and with G1 and you notice the fans get really into that. They want something they can sink their teeth into. I can’t confirm but we’re definitely looking at records and standings, it’s a very strong possibility.”
“Wrestling to me is very real. There is a side of this world that is artificial that we’re all well aware of that. But it’s a much fairer business (it can be) than people realize. And when I say that, the people that the crowd likes the most. Those are the people that you should invest in. You should never sleep on a moment, you’ve seen it before, a moment that the crowd gets behind somebody. That’s a thing to take note of.”
Stay tuned to SEScoops.com this week as we publish the next parts of our exclusive interview with Cody Rhodes.