AEW Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes took part in a media call on Friday afternoon to hype Saturday night’s AEW Full Gear pay-per-view from Baltimore, Maryland. Cody will challenge Chris Jericho for the AEW World Heavyweight Championship in one of the most anticipated bouts in AEW history.
- Check out our AEW Full Gear Predictions
Here is a detailed write-up of the highlights:
His promo from this week’s AEW Dynamite:
Cody said he was just being himself this week when he delivered what many are calling the best promo of his career. He’s not hiding who he is, he’s not hiding the fact that he’s one of the key power players behind the scenes in AEW. “Wrestling is best when it’s real, so I don’t know if you can even call it a promo. It was just a real statement from me, and I’m glad it resonated with fans. I really am.”
Following up on his announcement that he’ll never challenge for the AEW Championship if he does not defeat Chris Jericho, Cody said the stipulation is authentic.
AEW’s production style:
AEW’s lead producer Keith Mitchell helps them deliver an “an element of danger, spontaneity, and grit.” He spoke about the importance of building a “family” relationship between the producers and the talent and named Darby Allin as someone who is very hands on with his presentation.
The possibility of an AEW mid-card championship:
Cody said he does not like the term “mid-card” but acknowledged they are considering a different route for recognizing rising stars. “I think it’s very possible within the next month or so, there will be a prize of some sort for the guys rising through the ranks,” he said. Cody stressed the importance of protecting AEW’s existing championships, which were only established recently.
“It’s not willy-nilly, handing these belts out, handing these prizes out,” he said. “They matter, and the next one will matter just as much.”
AEW Top 5 Rankings
AEW will begin announcing Top 5 Rankings for each division (Men, Women and Tag Teams) starting this Friday afternoon. The plan is to update the rankings every week.
Improving AEW Dynamite
A lot of work goes into each week’s episode of AEW Dynamite and they are constantly striving to improve the product. After each show Cody sends out a company-wide email detailing areas they need to work on. He enjoys getting constructive criticism from fans on social media.
Audio Issues on AEW TV
Cody acknowledged they are still working on getting the audio balancing where it needs to be. Some viewers have complained that entrance themes are too low, but they don’t want to pipe theme music into the television feed like WWE does, because he thinks it will drown out the crowd noise.
“There’s a lot of fire in that audience, and we want to hear them,” he said. “At the cost sometimes of not hearing the music, we would rather hear the fans as loud as they are, because they’ve been so generous and we’re so grateful for them.”
AEW’s Women’s Division
AEW plans to feature women more prominently in the months ahead. This includes not just in-ring action, but also interviews and vignettes. Fans can expect this initiative to be rolled out starting next week. They’ve wanted to feature even more international talent than they already have, but have dealt with some work visa issues so far.
Dynamite’s Television Ratings
Cody said many wrestling journalists are ‘stuck in the past’ as it relates to gauging AEW’s popularity. It’s not just about TV ratings anymore. “We’re not only looking at our Nielsens, we’re looking at our social Nielsens, we’re looking at our ITV representation, we’re looking at our FITE usage, we’re looking at an amazing amount of data.”
They are satisfied with AEW’s success so far, but sees a lot more room for improvement as fans learn about the product. “Six weeks in a row, we’ve gone head-to-head with WWE, the biggest wrestling company in the world, and six weeks in a row, they’ve been on the losing end.” Cody believes this solidifies that AEW is in fact a revolution.
The Panel of Judges for Full Gear’s Main Event
Cody commented on the 3-judge panel that will be ringside for his match against Chris Jericho at Full Gear. He assured everyone the judges will be of “championship caliber” and fans will be excited when they see who will show up. He’s not sure if they will continue the judge panel concept for future championship matches, but it’s something they’re trying out.
Future AEW Special Events
In addition to AEW’s “big four” pay-per-views (All Out, Double or Nothing, Full Gear and another show likely in February), they are interested in doing other smaller ‘special events’ like we saw this year with Fyter Fest and Fight for the Fallen.