Cody Rhodes has opened up about why his monumental match with brother Dustin Rhodes isn’t his favourite match in AEW, before revealing which clash takes that acclaim.
The first-ever TNT Champion spoke with to Inside The Ropes’ very own Kenny McIntosh for issue 11 of Inside The Ropes Magazine, revealing his concern for his brother who was losing a lot of blood – and how he “coddled” Dustin to make sure they got to the other side as planned.
“I knew when I was in the arena, and in the moment, that something very special was happening. Our generation really takes it for granted when we say, ‘We got them’ because, nine times out of ten, when we say it, we don’t got them. That was one where I was like, ‘Oh, we really do.’ It’s so special that I share that connection with the audience, with my brother who, for the most part, all of the match, I kept thinking about, ‘He’s bleeding too much.’ And it wasn’t a matter of like, ‘Gosh, that’s cool. It’s wrestling, there’s blood.’ I was very concerned. ‘Well, we have X amount left, I don’t want him to pass out or be hurt,’ and a lot of what you see in the later part of the match is actually me coddling him via violence, which can only happen in wrestling.”
While Cody admits he knew something special was happening during the iconic clash, the AEW EVP adds that it isn’t his favourite match, although may be the most important.
“Where it ranks for me, it probably will disappoint a lot of people. It’s probably the most important match in my AEW career, but it is not my favourite match that I’ve had with the company. Maybe that’s just because it was so real that it’s raw. It’s almost a beautiful thing, but it’s like you don’t want to revisit it. I’ve never watched it back.”
Rhodes mysteriously added that he was speaking with a “free agent” whose interest in working with All Elite Wrestling was piqued by that match – which only makes it into Rhodes’ top five.
“No. And I was speaking to a free agent this morning who was talking about that match being something that had made this person interested in us, and the power of the match isn’t lost on me. I know what it did for the company. I know what it did for me and Dustin, and for the fans, but I’d say top five, for me.”
When prompted, Cody Rhodes revealed that his favourite match was actually his clash with another former TNT Champion in Darby Allin!
“I think my favourite match is Fyter Fest against Darby [Allin] for the very first time, because there was a lot that went into that match behind the scenes. There was a lot of faith placed in me to introduce him, and I love that people now today go back and talk about how they knew Darby, but they didn’t. Darby had a wonderful run on the US independent scene, but that was his first main stage appearance and, looking at him now, I’m just so proud. He has a real connection with younger members of the audience and I feel like, in a small way, I was part of that. So that’s something I’m very, very proud of. I wanted to debut somebody correctly because I’d seen so many debuts done poorly and that was just a big responsibility. So that’s probably my favourite one.”
Rhodes also opened up about the conclusion of the Dustin Rhodes match, though, and smashing the throne with a sledgehammer.
“I wanted to be clear what we were doing. You mentioned the barbs back and forth—that’s part of what we do. Trash talk is part of what we do, but also when they counter-programmed us for no reason other than to split our audience, I didn’t want to meet that in a cowardly fashion. I wanted to flat out say, ‘OK, well, great. Our show is still going to be better and as crazy as this is, we’re going to win. So if you want to have this moment in time on Wednesday nights where we put all eyes on wrestling, we’re going to win.’ “
Rhodes revealed that smashing an “iconic symbol” was a visual representation of his will to fight.
“I don’t want to go into any battle with the idea that we’re going to lose. I’m face-forward in the company on so many things, so I wanted to go in and let them know I am willing to fight. I am willing to openly smash this iconic symbol, and what it stood for and stands for to some fans. Yeah, there’s so much to that moment. That may be my favourite moment. The match was one thing, but that was something that . . . I hear this a lot in wrestling school and it blows my mind. People will be like, “Well, the match…” They talk about matches with the sound off. ‘Like, well, it’s different with the sound off.’ That’s ridiculous. Wrestling never has the sound off. So I never, ever will regret that moment because when I turned to head back up the ramp, everybody in the building knew what we were about to do and everybody wanted us to do it, and we did it, and we wanted to make a statement. So that was a statement.”