All Elite Wrestling star Cody Rhodes has found himself in an unexpected feud with NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal over the past few months, and the two will soon square off in a mixed tag match on the March 3 episode of AEW Dynamite. In a new interview with the New York Post, Rhodes explained that the feud started back in August 2020 when O'Neal, seemingly out of nowhere, started calling out Rhodes on Twitter.
"What happened is really what fans saw. 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," Rhodes explained. 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," he 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.
The match will also feature newcomer Jade Cargill and Red Velvet, both of whom Rhodes spoke incredibly high of.
"I was genuinely in the moment impressed and thought she endeared herself to the audience," Rhodes said of Velvet. "I felt she didn't try to be patronizing to me or be a suck-up of anything of that nature. She really kind of stuck her point out there and walked off and had us think about it. And very sincerely, if there was any doubt on who should fill that role she made it all clear because there were a lot of names that got thrown around when (my wife) Brandi got pregnant. And she made it all clear that it was gonna be Red Velvet. I was very proud of her and I don't even know her that well.
"As far as Jade is concerned, this might piss some people off, and I'm only telling you from an optics standpoint, but Jade trains incredibly hard," he later added. "I know she's incredibly disciplined. She's not that nice to me, but she reminds me so much of the early stages of Chyna and in her own unique way. I come to find out in the little bit of interaction I had with her before she ripped me on the mic, Chyna is her favorite wrestler."