Before AEW launched, its higher-ups like president Tony Khan and executive vice president Cody Rhodes proclaimed that the promotion's product would be more "sports-centric," focusing on the in-ring competition rather than the promos and backstage segments that can often clutter other wrestling programs. But roughly one year after its debut on TNT, AEW Dynamite finds itself with a weekly mixture of matches, video promos, in-ring segments backstage vignettes (most notably the Le Dinner Debonair segment between MJF and Chris Jericho several weeks back).
Rhodes hosted a media conference call on Thursday ahead of this weekend's Full Gear event, where he was asked if AEW had changed its approach to creating its product.
"I look back at what I said, and sometimes I chuckle because I hit things so hard because no matter what we were aiming for, no matter what we envisioned, you don't know until you know," Rhodes said. "You don't know until the lights are on and the red light is blinking and you're off and beaming to television sets across the world. When I speak of sports-centric wrestling, I speak of the wrestling that I grew up on — Jim Crockett Promotions, World Championship Wrestling, WCCW, everything that was available to me in the south and that library that still currently exists. I also speak of the current MMA scene with what the UFC is doing, the current boxing scene in terms of unscripted promos and drama that is existing based on who the people are, or who the people want [them] to think they are. So when it comes to sports-centric wrestling, I consider everything I do — my personally — to be sports-centric. I honor my own identity by presenting myself as such because that's who I am."
He then turned his attention to the Dinner Debonair.
"That is who Chris Jericho is. There are different flavors of ice cream that we serve at AEW, and it is very funny to me some of the modern... wrestling journalists that tell you it has to be all one way. That hasn't worked for anybody... so why tell us such? It's very much different flavors. Chris represents his brand incredibly well. The meta style that the Young Bucks have does very well. The Strong Style approach that Kenny [Omega] is bringing back into his repertoire is very much himself. There are so many different flavors. But I can always stand by what I said then and very much still be able to say it now. Because what I do as a wrestler, what Cody Rhodes does when he's on-screen will always be sports-centric. Because that's the type of wrestling that I love and that's the type of stories that I personally like to tell."
Check out the full card for Full Gear below:
- AEW World Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Eddie Kingston (I Quit Match)
- TNT Championship: Cody Rhodes vs. Darby Allin
- AEW World Tag Team Championship: FTR vs. The Young Bucks
- AEW Women's World Championship: Hikaru Shida vs. Nyla Rose
- Chris Jericho vs. MJF
- Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara (The Elite Deletion Match)
- AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament Finals: Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Page
- Orange Cassidy vs. John Silver
- The Buy-In: NWA World Women's Championship: Serena Deeb vs. Allysin Kay