Cody Rhodes has responded to comments made by sports personality and sometimes-NXT star, Pat McAfee regarding Rhodes’ upcoming match with Shaq.
NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal said recently that he was aiming to have the best celebrity match of all time in professional wrestling. Shaq teams up with Jade Cargill to face Cody and Red Velvet on AEW Dynamite.
This statement from Shaq caused Pat McAfee to respond. McAfee has been part of NXT where he formed The Kings Of NXT faction with Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Birch. That four-man team would compete in War Games in a losing effort against the Undisputed Era. Receiving critical acclaim for his involvement in professional wrestling from legends such as Triple H, McAfee’s time in the ring was a clear success.
On Shaq’s comments about wanting to be the best, McAfee had this to say:
“[Shaq is] in the conversation [as the] greatest athlete the world has ever seen. But in the wrestling ring, Shaq — I have a lot of respect for Shaq; big fan of Shaq; massive fan of Shaq; love Shaq — but when it comes to greatest celebrity match of all-time […] If you want to classify me as a wrestler, I’d be cool with that, but that’s not what I was classified as. When I got in there, I was bashed because they were calling me a celebrity. If that is what I’m being titled and tabbed, then Shaq is saying his match is going to be better than mine — that’s just not true. That’s just not how it’s going to go, Shaq. I hate to break it to you.”
“If you come anywhere f****** close (to my matches) — congrats.”
“I didn’t see this particular comment especially from Pat [McAfee], which is super bizarre, just bizarre, ‘cause I’m pretty sure Pat’s trying to get a job at AEW every other day, but that’s another conversation.”
Rhodes would then discuss the original comments made by Shaq:
“I like that Shaq made that comment. I stand by that comment myself, I’d make the same one because you have to continue to raise the bar. […] There’s a lot of old veteran wrestlers, who have these opinions on how you’re supposed to do a celebrity match. My opinion is this, you have to wrestle. If you’re showing up for a match, you have to wrestle.”
“It can’t be ‘oh they’re not from our world; they shouldn’t be able to lock up’. None of that. Shaq trained, I never trained with him but he trained for this. So I anticipate he’s gonna know his way around the ring to a degree. Now he doesn’t have the experience that I have, for sure. But if he did train, and we’re talking about a multiple-time world champion in the NBA.”
“We’re talking about a former MVP. That athleticism is once in a lifetime athleticism, which is where I would be confident in saying hopefully it is the best celebrity match of all time, because if he did train and he is the man that we know that is Shaq, then by all means. I hope we can set a new standard and raise that bar. And not only set a new standard but perhaps give a new outlook on what a celebrity or crossover type match should be.”
In a further twist, Pat McAfee caught wind of Rhodes’ comments about him and said the following on The Pat McAfee Show Live.
“Cody Rhodes just said I’ve been trying to get employed by the AEW, or whatever, every other day. So I would like it to be known that is not true. Ok, I’ve actually talked about retirement more than I’ve ever contemplated going to AEW […] I am not [going to AEW] I’d just like that to be very clear.”