München - In an exclusive interview with SPORT1 in Germany, Cody Rhodes talks about the progress of AEW, Bret Hart and being underestimated by Roman Reigns.
Cody Rhodes talking about ...
AEW wrestlers ahead of their curve:
"There are people who are definitely ahead of the curve considerung they have never been on TV: Darby Allin, for example, Or Kris Statlander. I didn't know who Kris Statlander was a month ago. Now I can't imagine AEW without her. She's an incredibly special talent and we want to cultivate that. I've been really impressed with so much of our roster with how they've taken doing live television." (The whole interview with Cody Rhodes in German)
AEW combining old school and new school:
"They say in wrestling: What's old is new. There is so much of the territory wrestling and even pre-Crockett, pre-television wrestling, that has so many great stories and element to bring to the squared circle and tell a story within the ropes. To be able to do that on worldwide television is huge. But we also have to do our best not to be a parody of what's old. Not to be nostalgia for nostalgia's sake. You have to give people the buffet: some old, some new. We are melting those worlds. I like Memphis Wrestling, southern wrestling, I revel in that old school, but not lazy old school - the diligent, committed old school. If you mash that up with the new school and create something new, like Darby Allin does or MJF: People will let you know how much they love it."
"You don't want to praise Chris, because he's such an asshole, but you have to give him props: Every week Chris Jericho does something that reminds me of how important he is to the company. Every week. He's a huge part of this."
His popularity boost after leaving WWE:
"I don't think I expected it. The truth is: I am very honest to myself when it comes to my spot on the card. When AEW came to fruition, I was rising up and I was being greeted so generously by its fandom. But if you compare it to fishing: That's a bite and I'm not gonna let go of that. That's what wrestling is about. The beautiful thing about AEW: Everybody thinks that way, everybody wants to be at the top, but everyone's doing it the right way: by performance."
To Roman's point: He is very, very smart, he has WrestleMania main event under his belt, he has incredible talent. I think at the time, a lot of people were … I don't wanna say naive. People wre turning away from it, but there's no turning away now. WWE's on a 49 year head start and I tip my hat for that. But what we're doing is to build upon what fans have been talking about for 20 years, what they want from a wrestling product and what perhaps wasn't delivered to them. We want to be the alternative. If that means stepping into competition: So be it. It's better to have competition, for me, for Roman, for everybody.
Bret Hart's popularity in Germany:
"When Bret Hart came to Germany in the 1990s, it was BeatleMania – and the beautiful thing is: Then, WWF didn't know why, now we have the data, we can determine and understand why someone is moving the needle. […] I think, Bret was more of an athlete, he was presenting a more reality-based wrestling instead of the overly dramatic wrestling. I love Hulk Hogan, I love the Ultimate Warrior, but Bret was providing more grit, grind and hard-hitting - and consistency. I think that was more respected in Germany. Hopefully when we come, we'll have a Bret Hart of our own."