SteelChair Wrestling Magazine had the chance of joining Wednesday’s media call where AEW’s Executive Vice President and former TNT Champion Cody touched on a variety of topics such as the Revolution PPV card, the arrival of Paul Wight and Sting, building young talent, the highly-anticipated new show on TNT, the Women’s Tournament, and much more.

On having a deathmatch in an AEW PPV

“Deathmatches have a certain identity that has already been given to them. If you look back at FMW and explosion matches that happened in the past, if you look at what Terry Funk has done, and even fast-forwarding to Matt Tremont today, in this era, those are nice parallels. But anything that involves Kenny Omega is going to be unique in the sense that it’s going to have its own identity. And obviously being under the AEW umbrella… I’m having to speak very vaguely about it because I’ve only seen the barbed wire that’s starting to be wrapped. I don’t have a clue how the explosions will work. I’m just on the edge of my seat, as everybody is, about it. I think, to me, the most important thing is the title itself, in that it remains in proper hands. As people know who follow the product from a creative standpoint, Jon Moxley was a little bit screwed out of his championship, well, a lot screwed out of his championship, and what a wonderful reign he did have. Kenny Omega returning to form and The Cleaner kind of reemerging on the scene, no pun intended, it creates a very combustible and dangerous environment. This match would be going on last even if it wasn’t for the world title because it’s incredibly violent. Viewer discretion advised on a deathmatch like this. But I’m just as curious as everybody else.”

On Paul Wight coming to AEW

“Paul Wight is a big, big part of my career, as some of you know. We were involved in a WrestleMania together, and that will always bond you in a unique way. The Paul Wight that AEW is getting is extremely, extremely motivated. I can tell you there wasn’t a long negotiation process, simply because he wants to be here. He wants to be here in a different capacity, as far as announcing and commentary goes with Elevation. I do think there’s a match, or two, or three, or four, and that’s just me personally because I know he’s able to still go at a high level. But from a management standpoint, I’m most excited about him just being in our locker room and being seen because we have so many young people who are now all of a sudden famous. Nobody knew who Britt Baker, Sammy Guevara, MJF, or Ricky Starks really were a few years ago, and now they’re emerging on cable and across Warner Media, and they’re the future of wrestling. They’re all very important to me. And someone like Paul, not unlike how Sting has been, someone like that is really good to keep people grounded, to keep things in perspective. Paul Wight has more to give, and he’s going to give it, and he’s going to give it at AEW, so I’m very excited to see that.”

On Sting having another chance in a ring

“Nobody was more of a little Stinger than me. I’m such a fan. Right now, the question is, can Sting have a regular wrestling match? Can he do that? Can he go bell-to-bell in a live setting? I would bet he absolutely can. There’s a lot left in him. I don’t know if anyone noticed when he hit Ricky Starks with the bat, but his frenetic movement, his dynamic motion is still there, and that’s dangerous as far as, if you’re his opponent, especially because people forget Sting is a big guy, he’s from a generation where he was more of a light heavyweight, but now he’s definitely a full-blown heavyweight and a little bit taller than some of our roster. Having him here is wonderful. I want to make sure he’s happy. I want to make sure he has a great place to be here. I think he’s in it for the long haul with AEW and our family here.”

On Shaq, Snoop Dogg, and bringing new eyes on the product through non-wrestlers

“I want to grow our audience, and I know we have the best bell-to-bell wrestling. We have a guy like PAC here. He guarantees me that we have the best bell-to-bell wrestling, but I need people to watch it. I need them, if they come for Shaq, maybe they’ll stay for somebody like PAC. I keep using him as an example just because I’m a big fan of his work. I definitely think you will see more crossover, and you’ll see crossover done in a respectful way. Shaq trained,  Stephen Amell also trained because that’s the only way. You can only bring in people when it comes to a crossover that respect our business. Nobody respects wrestling more than Snoop Dogg. He has a love for it. Shaquille O’Neal is somebody who’s very into wrestling and knows a lot about it. You will see more crossovers, and my goal here is always to grow our show because I want to grow more fans. I want to make more fans happy. You will see it, but it will always be done in a disciplined way. We want people who love our sport and love our form of entertainment because they make for the best guests.”

On having more tournaments in AEW

“Tournaments are an absolute part of what we do. Initially looking at AEW, we wanted to have several portions of the show providing a sports-based outlook on our industry, and a tournament’s so good for wrestling because those matches in a tournament are just for the opportunity at another match. You’re buying more time. You’re getting more water in the glass. I was part of the TNT title tournament, and it was just a beautiful thing. Some of my favourites shows, growing up, were tournaments, and even the two-day classics, the Crockett Cup all the way to King of The Ring. A tournament when you do it right is certainly something special. I think for sure you’ll see more tournaments. We have one that’s geared around the AEW Women’s World Championship. Then you’re gonna see tournaments that perhaps have their own peripheral item that involves tournaments around the titles and tournaments around bragging rights and specific things that talents can acquire. There’ll be more tournaments, for sure, I’d hope to not only see tag tournaments and singles tournaments but somewhere down the line, I’d love to see a trio’s tournament.”

On Maki Itoh and AEW

“Maki Itoh, the deity of… well, I can’t say it on this call. Maki Itoh, she impressed, as did many of the women in the eliminator tournament, and I thought that was really special. I’d like to give a little shout-out to Shida and Emi [Sakura] and Kenny [Omega], of course, and [Michael Nakazawa]. Like I said, Tony [Khan] moved heaven and earth to make that happen. It’s very difficult during a pandemic to get a show in another country and somehow weave it into the fabric of our own show, so they did a wonderful job with this tournament. And I think the discovery from this… is someone like [Itoh], who had a following. And we want people who have a following. The hardest thing to do, they say, in sports is hit a baseball. To me, the hardest thing in sports is to connect with fans. And if you connect with the fans, that’s why you will see somebody like a Maki Itoh. That’s why you see somebody like a Ryan Nemeth. They have a connection with the fans. You don’t want to be the best worker that no one’s ever heard of or never connected with. So personally, there have been conversations on my end. I know a lot of the women in the locker room were a fan and would love to work with [Itoh], so let’s take a look as things open up. I’d say it’s pretty, pretty likely you see her again in an AEW ring.”

On AEW Dark: Elevation

“I would want people to tune in for the first AEW Elevation. We have Paul Wight joining us on commentary, the first time for him, really, in his career as an analyst and broadcast journalist, as Heenan used to put it. I think to give you a little spoiler potentially on AEW Elevation, again, I want everybody to watch and see, it’s going to be similar to Dark, but there should be more of a focus on, potentially, individuals who are part of our roster, and Tony Schiavone is the one who is spearheading that. I think you’re going to see some one-to-one pieces, some sitdown interviews. I think you’re going to see a little bit more character insights, not unlike you see with American Ninja Warrior or even my other show on TBS, The Go Big Show, where we learn a lot more, hopefully, about why these wrestlers are stepping into the ring, why these men and women are competing, what this means to them, and their place in AEW. I think that, and a few other items, of course, the biggest item being Paul Wight, will separate AEW Dark: Elevation from its predecessor AEW Dark.”

On the second TNT show

“I think all of our shows will end up in a different format. It’s a bit of brain trust in forming those formats. Right now, the focus is AEW Dark: Elevation. How we can make that different and how we can feature our younger stars, our preliminary stars more to get to know them. I can tell you one thing we won’t do with AEW Dark: Elevation is we’re not going to bait and switch. We’re not going to give you a show on night one that doesn’t reflect what that show will be like for the rest of the year, for the rest of many years. When it comes to the additional hour of content on TNT, and I’m careful to say third hour because people sometimes think that means we’re going three hours, which we are not. When it comes to that, I can only tell you it has a name, and I love its name, but I can’t tell you what it is.
Hopefully, on the next media call, we’ll be talking about it, but it will happen in 2021. In addition to that, there’s some other news featuring some other AEW talent regarding another show that is also in the Warner Media family. We have made some pretty large moves, and we aren’t stopping. We’re moving forward full speed ahead going all in.”

On NWA’s partnership 

“Tony Khan really is, as he’s dubbed himself, the “Forbidden Door.” If you think it’s not an area where we can tread into, he finds a way to tread there and do it peacefully and coexist well. I’d definitely think we’ll see more cross-promotion, potentially, with the NWA, or with Impact, or with New Japan, or AAA, or a myriad of companies. It takes trust, and it takes time. When we bring people in, we always try to treat them better than we treat our own, almost, when it comes to having our guest wrestlers, our guest luminaries, our guest bookers, and promoters. I’m glad to see NWA still moving, Billy still moving forward with the project, and I’m sure you’ll probably see a little bit of fun crossover.”

On NXT possibly moving to Tuesday

“If that’s the case, if we’re no longer going to be opposed on Wednesday nights, I’m sure we’ll come up with some sort of wonderful statement. What could I say? “Congratulations to NXT on a successful move to Tuesday nights. The real winners are the fans who can watch NXT and Dynamite live every week, as this is a marathon, not a one-night sprint.” I could say that, but I don’t want to be sassy or a jerk. Because I think them moving, perhaps something else will end up on Wednesdays. And not only that, AEW Dark is on Tuesdays. So AEW Dark would potentially be opposed. That’s why we can’t get into a matter of being reactionary. We just have to put out the best show, we really do, and if they want to beat us, they have to put out a better show. It’s an honest competition. Yeah, there are digs, and they’re fun, and they’re light-hearted, believe me, all the locker rooms tend to love each other, it’s more the management that is pointed at one another, and even that, there’s a friendly relationship. Tony Khan’s a different type of management, a different type of executive. I would love us to be alone on Wednesday nights, but I’m prepared for there to be something else in that spot. So we’ll see.”

AEW’s Revolution is airing live on PPV this Sunday at 8 PM EST (1 AM GMT) on Fite TV. The Buy In Pre-Show will air for free at 7 PM EST (midnight GMT) on AEW Official YouTube Channel and Fite TV.

Full Gear Complete Card:

  • Buy-In: Riho & Thunder Rosa vs. Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. & Reba
  • Miro & Kip Sabian vs. Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor
  • TNT Championship #1 Contender ‘Face of The Revolution’ Ladder Match: Cody Rhodes vs. Lance Archer vs. Penta El Zero M vs. Scorpio Sky vs. Max Caster vs. ???
  • Paul Wight’s major announcement regarding AEW’s next signing
  • AEW Women’s World Championship: Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Ryo Mizunami
  • Big Money Match: Hangman Page vs. Matt Hardy
  • Street Fight: Sting & Darby Allin vs. Team Taz (Brian Cage & Ricky Starks)
  • Casino Tag Team Battle Royal: Bear Country, Alex Reynolds/John Silver, Evil Uno/Stu Grayson, Santana/Ortiz, The Butcher/The Blade, Private Party, Top Flight, PAC/Rey Fénix.
  • AEW Tag Team Championships: Young Bucks (c) vs. Chris Jericho & MJF
  • AEW World Championship Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch: Kenny Omega (c) vs. Jon Moxley

All pics courtesy of AEW

By Steph Franchomme

News, Reviews, Social Media Editor, Impact Wrestling Reviewer, Interviewer Well, call me The Boss... And French...

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