AEW Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes recently spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated and commented on where AEW is at their three-year point, noting that their stability is a tell-tale sign that they had the proper vision when launching the company.
Rhodes pointed to how stars like CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole have joined them, proving that they have built a very stable infrastructure. He talked about the vision that he had along with Tony Khan, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks, and what the fans saw.
“We’re essentially at the three-year point of AEW, and our stability is the tell-tale sign that our vision was the proper vision,” Rhodes said. “We have such a stable company that Bryan Danielson decided to cross that line, that CM Punk decided to join after seven years away, that Adam Cole—who was being groomed to be a massive star in WWE—decided to cross the line. And that’s not a knock on them, it just shows that we have built a very stable infrastructure.
“It’s based around a joint vision, and the vision that’s working doesn’t belong to any of us. The fans had a vision, too, one they started to invest in with Bullet Club, New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Ring of Honor, supporting the Bucks, myself and Kenny. Tony was the only one to have the foresight to bring this all together, and we’re carrying on that vision. As a founding father or founding mother of AEW, you could walk at this point and still have a great story, a legacy. But everyone wants more.”
Rhodes also talked about his behind-the-scenes work with AEW, and how he remains open minded but steadfast with those goals. Rhodes is AEW’s EVP of Live Events & Talent, and said he has found a real passion in galvanizing AEW’s community outreach team. He has grown the department to connect with more people around the world. He praised Khan for his work, and said Amanda Huber, the widow of Brodie Lee, has been a godsend to the division.
“This is the best use of my page,” Rhodes said. “I want to further develop the community outreach program, following in the footsteps of the legendary [WWE’s] Sue Aitchison. Whether the cameras are on or off, we need to hit the mark of making people’s lives better. Tony Khan has been so supportive, and we’re looking to make lives brighter and help. [Community outreach ambassador] Amanda Huber has been an absolute godsend to the department, and I can’t say enough about her contributions.”
Cody also talked about his data-based goals with AEW. Rhodes acknowledged that the AEW World Title is out of the question for him due to a previous stipulation, but he remains focused on other goals.
“I have a lot of data-based goals,” Rhodes said. “I ask Chris Harrington, our SVP, a really good number for a demo average. I always say I want to make AEW destination programming, and that’s numbers-based to me. And I’ve never shared this before, but I really thought that the PWI No. 1 spot had been mine once before, and I was shocked, genuinely, that I didn’t pick it up. That may sound silly, but I care about that, and I’m willing to say I care—the people that say they don’t, they typically care a lot about it, too. The AEW world championship is out of the question for me, but there are other goals that, for now, I’ll keep close to the chest.”
He continued, “I’m looking to move toward undiscovered terrain. I want to create what’s never happened before, so I am going to take a different approach than any other wrestler. That’s what I am looking forward to doing.”