Cody Rhodes spoke recently as a guest on Talk Is Jericho about improvements AEW still need to make and the all-important 18-49 demographic and what it means to AEW Dynamite.
AEW Dynamite debuted in October 2019, since it has hit new record highs in the demographics and showcased some of the best wrestlers in the world in a variety of storylines and matches. Whilst there has been clear success early on, Cody still believes that there are some fundamental flaws to iron out.
For me, one of our biggest assets is also our biggest scam, no pun intended. We have so much freedom. So such freedom sometimes means that things are too similar in the same show. Well, this guy is asking me to join Team FTW.
Well, this group, they’re asking if you will join this. That’s one of those areas where freedom is fun and professional, they don’t care about traditional rules. It’s punk rock, but you also have to be disciplined so that it doesn’t desensitize the show.
Been a long time coming…
— Cody (@CodyRhodes) January 8, 2021
He expands further, adding his two-cents on what he believes could be an attitude shift in talent to allow this freedom to be better exploited to the benefit of AEW.
Eight times out of ten, we’ve got the flow right, but on nights that we have and it’s where our own freedom has been our biggest enemy, but I’d rather that than a sanitized C+ show.
To me, the thing we need to work on the most is not taking their freedom for granted and maybe a little bit more communication between the boys themselves. ‘Hey, I’m doing this. It doesn’t mean you can’t, but what else can you do? You’re super talented.’ I think that would go a long way.
Jericho made a similar critique of the show a few weeks back on his podcast, saying he “wasn’t sure how two identical segments could fall on one Dynamite episode right after the other. It’s practically unforgivable, but part of the learning process”.
Cody was asked to rate AEW’s 2020, how he perceives it has been, and quite confidently he gave it an A+. Cosy then went on to explain his answer:
Someone asked me, rate it and of course, as part of the company, it is not going to give it a bad rating, but I said it got an A, and there is room for an A + because we know where we have to grow. AEW’s first year, if it was his last year, thank God it wasn’t, it’s still the best year of my life.
I learned a lot of lessons and learned some hard lessons about the burdens of management. If you weren’t popular before, you definitely won’t be when you enter that space.
Speaking with the self-appointed “Demo God”, Cody was asked about the importance of the elusive 18-49 bracket of the audience when assessing the ratings, Rhodes said:
We joke about the demo, but it’s not a joke. There’s a potential, this is for any show, if you don’t look at that, you’re going to age out. One of the reasons I’ve turned my act around into a bit of a squeaky clean act is because it’s really not an act anymore. I want to engage a young fan base and not just the young and affluent and cool. I want to engage kids because the show has a lot of grittiness, a lot of violence and a lot of adult content. I want to make sure they know, hey, there’s guys doing right, and there’s guys doing wrong.
If the 2020 AEW product is an indication of where 2021 is headed – with Cody knowing the ‘issues’ they have to iron out – It’s looking to be an explosive year for the AEW brand!