Long before All Elite Wrestling came into existence, Cody Rhodes was instrumental in getting eyes on wrestling outside of WWE. After leaving the sports entertainment giant in 2016, he embarked on a journey to reinvent himself, competing in promotions such as Ring of Honor and NJPW as well as bringing attention to smaller independent promotions across the world.
In 2018, Rhodes joined forces with The Young Bucks to present the independent cross-promotional spectacle that was All In, featuring performers from across the globe in an attempt to prove that an independent show could sell out a 10,000+ seat arena. Tickets indeed sold out quickly, and the reception in Chicago that night helped foster the creation of AEW. The show’s creators opened up about the experience on Being the Elite the next day, and the buzz was palpable.
During a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Cody Rhodes opened up about finding out about the infamous brawl between CM Punk and The Elite following AEW All Out back in September, three years after All In took place.
Cody Rhodes Was “Bummed Out” By AEW All Out Brawl
After revealing that one of his Nightmare Factory students was involved in pulling apart the melee, Cody Rhodes told Helwani how he found out about the brawl in the first place, saying he was afraid someone had said something about himself or his wife when he had so many messages on his phone.
“Well, I woke up the next morning and I had, no joke, I think I had 63 messages. So I was very worried that something was said about me or Brandi, and I want to make sure like… I did everything I could. I gave a lot, and I have great memories with AEW. I do. So I hope it’s respected mutually, right?
“So I was worried, I was like ‘I hope somebody didn’t take a weird shot, something like that. And that wasn’t the case, it was about this press conference and all that.”
After making it clear that he had great relationships with both The Young Bucks and CM Punk during his time in AEW, Cody Rhodes continued, saying that the whole situation bummed him out as it didn’t feel in the spirit of what they’d tried to create together.
“So when I watched it, just from my sitting there, I was not… there were some people texting me, I remember somebody texting me ‘Man, you’re the smartest guy in the room,’ and I wanted to write back like, ‘F you, man.’
“I don’t feel that way. I feel this thing we built got damaged, and I’m not putting any blame on anybody. Sorry, I’m super Switzerland in this moment. I’m not putting any blame on anybody, but I just hated seeing that, because as the company grows, and I hope it continues to grow, I hope people remember the mission in the first place, why we were there.
“And if you bring in people who don’t know the mission, then things like that can happen. And I’m not saying he didn’t know the mission or anything of that nature, but I was just bummed out. That’s how I felt, I was bummed out.”
“Because, when you win a title, it’s a feather in your cap. You win the Royal Rumble, it’s a feather in your cap. Building an alternative wrestling promotion is definitely a feather in the cap, and I don’t want that to be erased. I don’t want that to go away.”
Continuing further, Cody Rhodes expressed pride in the fact that AEW was able to provide more opportunities for people to work in wrestling before saying he felt that the spirit of the company was gone in the moment the brawl took place.
“Plus, there’s not as many jobs in wrestling as people think. There’s about 1,000 people who work there, structurally, infrastructure, and talent. I’m proud of them, and I want to make sure they’re able to feed their families.
“And that was a situation that was so big and so heavy, I don’t think it was helpful, right? And I don’t know, maybe you could make it helpful, maybe you can do something with it. But it’s just, that’s how I felt. No heat on Punk, no heat on Matt, Nick, Kenny, or Tony. I was just bummed out when I saw that. That’s not how we envisioned it.
“If you were at All In, the spirit of All In, if you ever lose the spirit, you’re lost. And I think the spirit was gone in that moment. Doesn’t mean you can’t get it back, but it was just a bummer.”
If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit Ariel Helwani and link back to this article with a h/t to Inside the Ropes.