AEW Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes recently spoke with Joseph Staszewski of The New York Post to promote the March 3 edition of AEW Dynamite on TNT, which will see Cody and Red Velvet go up against NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal and Jade Cargill.
Cody was asked how the match with Shaq came about. He credited Nightmare Family member QT Marshall and AEW President & CEO Tony Khan with helping to make the match happen.
“What happened is really what fans saw,” Cody said. “He tweeted about me (in August 2020) and didnt, I don’t think, particularly know me. He just knew he had a show on TNT and we had seen each other at the upfronts and “Dynamite” was kicking ass and I think he chose an in-house professional wrestler to pick on. And I didn’t think much of it other than, you know, us wrestlers, we love when we see the blue (Twitter) checks, we love when we see people talking about our world.
“Then the next you know, QT (Marshall) calls me like half a year ago, so this is a while ago. He called me and said, “Hey, I just want to make you aware of something.” When that’s how he frames it, I know it’s going to be something about the Nightmare Factory. He said, “I just want to make you aware of it that Shaq came in and started training. I said, well send me a video, I’ve got to see it. He’s done a good amount of training with QT with a couple bodies there that he can throw around and things of that nature.”
Cody continued, “Right at that moment, I knew we were into an area where this could really, seriously happen. We really jumped on it in the best way we could. QT is really technically responsible for that. He and (AEW president) Tony Khan because he and Tony have a great relationship as well. It kind of willed itself into existence like so many other things in AEW.”
Cody was also asked about Shaq’s training. He noted that the NBA star has been in training sessions with Marshall. Cody also recalled how he’s been thinking about his own work with veteran WWE Superstar Big Show because he and Shaq are similar. Shaq and Show also once feuded in WWE but never got the chance to wrestle a singles match.
“I don’t have a lot of interaction with him,” Cody said of Shaq. “I know when he trains it’s very long. They put in over two hours. They go from the weight room to the ring and two to three of our better guys bump around, training themselves and want to be there. They’re there almost all night. I’ve never trained with him. He’s very much been trained by QT. They train pretty regularly and I’m excited.
“When you’re of that size. If you were coming in, not Shaq, if you were that big I would want you to train and learn to do as much as you can but most wrestling promoters and bookers and companies aren’t going to have you do as much. There is very much a less-is-more guideline for a legitimate giant. Not many come into wrestling anymore.”
Cody continued, “The only thing I’ve been thinking of in my mind is I wrestled Big Show so many times. He was just one of the most valuable teachers to me. He was everything. He was a genuine adversary when it came to how he handled going to WrestleMania. He was my first taste of good politics, bad politics, and he was an angel in the ring to wrestle with. It gave me some absolute valuable lessons. So thinking about Show a lot as I’ve been thinking about Shaq, in any way are they similar.”
Stay tuned for more on Shaq and Cody as they prepare for the big mixed tag team match on March 3