It was one of the more shocking moments in AEW Dynamite history when in November 2020 a debuting Jade Cargill confronted Cody Rhodes to reveal that his next challenger would be none other than Shaquille O’Neill. Upon hearing the challenge Brandi Rhodes then stormed to the ring defend Cody and verbally take down Cargill.
Now in conversation with Renee Paquette on her Oral Sessions podcast, Brandi Rhodes has credited AEW President Tony Khan as the man behind the now infamous promo.
“I wasn’t supposed to do that promo that night,” Brandi Rhodes mentioned. “I was like, ‘I can’t wrestle.’ So, Tony was like, ‘Yeah. I want you to have an interaction there and have this promo. I said, ‘Ok.’ And then, he was like, ‘[Have you] ever seen Curb Your Enthusiasm? Where Vivica Fox is with Larry [David], and Susie comes up acting crazy, and Vivica takes the door, curses her out and slams the door in her face?’ I said, ‘Of course. I love Curb Your Enthusiasm!’ And he was like, ‘Then do that.’ It was the funniest thing ever. I would love to do that again.”
While the promo certainly made for blockbuster television, Rhodes was also on the end of some criticism from not only viewers but also reporters for perceived code-switching. Brandi went on to fire back at her critics, calling the criticism “unfair.”
“It opened up a conversation about code-switching, which I don’t think is a conversation people should have if they’re not Black. I really don’t,” she suggested. “I’ll be honest; I have what they call an announcer’s voice, which is my professional voice. But that’s not my in-ring persona unless I’m announcing. When I cut promos and stuff as just Brandi, that’s not even that. That’s what I would consider code-switching; like Brandi on the news, [it’s] totally different diction, every word enunciated just trying to get rid of the Midwestern accent; [just] straight delivery.
“I thought it was a little unfair for people who’ve never seen that side of me to coin it that way. But I definitely thought it was really unfair for a white man to say – I won’t say who it was, but it was a reporter – ‘Well, she better talk like that all the time now.’ And I’m like, ‘Who are you to tell me what I better do, ever?’”
In a the wide-ranging interview Rhodes also discussed her role as AEW Chief Brand Officer, and what her job entails behind the scenes.
“Day-to-day, it’s a lot of PR. That’s the biggest thing that encompasses the role,” she stated. “I have a whole PR team that works with me, and we do a lot of setting up and pitching interviews to garner partnerships…In a small way, I have some marketing efforts.”
There has been a lot of conversation in recent months about AEW gaining an extra hour of television time. Tony Khan for his part has been adamant that it won’t just be a third hour of Dynamite, and now Rhodes has had her say, commenting that she feels that it’s something that the company really needs.
I’m looking forward to that third hour popping up. I think we really need it,” she noted. “Tony has been very forthcoming that it’s not going to be an extension of Dynamite, it’s going to be something else. We’ve got so much talent that you just can’t get into two hours; it’s just impossible. You’re missing a lot of stories and things, and that’s why a lot of things happen on Dark; [it’s] trying to keep things going. But I think that third hour is going to be important because it’s going to help a lot of people who casually watch and don’t watch Dark be able to connect the dots on a lot of things.