With the critical and commercial success of Double or Nothing now in the rearview mirror, AEW is charging head-first into the summer with three consecutive monthly events — Fyter Fest on June 29 in Daytona Beach, Fight for the Fallen on July 13 in Jacksonville and All Out outside of Chicago on Aug. 31.
On top of all of that, the company also has a weekly television show on TNT starting this fall, and as a result the potential success of the company has been a hot topic among wrestling fans on social media.
There are still plenty of questions regarding the company, and on Tuesday AEW executive vice president Cody Rhodes sat down with ComicBook.com to answer a few of them. He also went into detail about his match with Dustin Rhodes and the plans for Fyter Fest, which you can read here.
ComicBook.com: One of the biggest talking points after your match with Dustin was how much blood was spilled. Was there supposed to be that much and will blood play a role in AEW storytelling?
Cody Rhodes: Well this is a bigger conversation but I'll bring it up. Wrestling fans and wrestling analysts have debated how they analyze wrestling. Do they analyze it as sport or do they analyze it as entertainment? I'm not going to tell you which it is because everyone should already know which it is. Which means we should be held to the same standard that Hollywood, that movies, that TV, that Broadway [are]. I don't mean to sound pretentious in saying that but we should be held to those same standards. When it comes to violence in our industry, when it comes to blood, when it comes to those things it should never be a topic but I love that it is and I understand why. But when it comes up it just ... You've got to pick a lane. If that makes any sense.
It doesn't help that half of social media remain in this gray, it's not black or white, but you got to pick a lane. This isn't ballet, in terms of the physical side of it. It can get rather hairy and I did not anticipate the amount of blood but if you're looking for violence and physical storytelling that's a big part of what AEW is going to bring. There's not any guidelines to how our pay-per-views are going to be. They're treated as a sport centric product. You can see it in the NBA Finals, somebody gets their eye busted. You see it in boxing, somebody gets a hematoma on their forehead. It happens and it will happen at AEW.
Double or Nothing ended with the massive surprise of Jon Moxley arriving in the company. How involved were you in bringing him in?
I think he kind of brought himself in. I think he had heard one line from me about playing your music how you want to play it. The wrestlers we hire, we trust they know how to play their own song and we will not tell them how to play their song. I think when he heard that he was sold on the type of wrestling we want to showcase. Really it's his journey. All I'm hoping to do is turn on the red light for this story because Jon Moxley is a worldwide star.
Everything that's happened with AEW's been so large in scale, in terms of TNT, ITV, this is actually happening. Wrestling coming back to Turner and all that. It's the same with the arrival of Jon Moxley. I mean he ... What a change to leave WWE in the fashion that he did and to want to come play with us. Just an absolute statement. Just that itself, if you look at where he was at in his career, how he was positioned. I think it speaks to our credibility a great deal. I look forward to everything that Jon Moxley does at AEW.
You guys debuted the AEW World Championship belt during Double or Nothing. What went into the thought behind the design, because it's very different compared to other world championships we've seen.1comments
The founder of AEW, Tony Khan, is a lifelong wrestling fan. You can ask him about any talent, the most obscure, and he can tell you where they had their run, how many stars were in this match. It's really crazy but him and I had watched the Mid-South the North American Title was so large. Bill Watts was wearing it and it was so large. We thought, we really want this big, big belt. Then we went to The Ace of Belts, Dave Millican, he knew exactly what we were going for. We went through some edits back and forth with the other EVPs. We were so happy with how it turned out.
It's probably about five pounds heavier than the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. That's the heaviest belt I had ever seen. It's really a solid chunk of change. The person who's got to put that in their carry-on bag is going to have some fun at TSA but it's inspired a lot by the Mid-South and the larger titles in our industry.