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Complete Transcript Of 11/5 AEW Full Gear Media Call With Cody Rhodes

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This Saturday at All Elite Wrestling’s second annual Full Gear pay-per-view, the “American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes will defend the TNT Championship against Darby Allin.

The EVP spoke at length with members of the media during a conference call on Thursday afternoon, discussing a myriad of topics from his match at Full Gear, to the recent requisition of the “Rhodes” name, managing violence in professional wrestling, the creative process behind DARK, factions, managers and more.


Below is a complete transcript of the 50-minute conversation including attribution to the various writers, editors, managers and hosts who asked the questions, as well as their platforms. Questions are paraphrased, answers are word-for-word.

Editor’s Note: You are more than welcome to use any of the quotes below. If you write for a website a link back to this article and credit to ProWrestling.com would be appreciated.


What led to the recent return of the “Rhodes” name, and your thoughts on potentially using it on AEW television? (WILLIAM Pritchard, Wrestlezone.com)

“I’m very happy about being Cody Rhodes again. The details of it all aren’t important, other than it was a very positive, no-hard-feelings on either side type scenario. I will say though, it’s not something I probably will use in the wrestling space. I’ve gotten very used to the ‘American Nightmare’ Cody. I like how Justin Roberts says it. I just like it, and I’ve liked it for some time.

“Where I’m most excited about Cody Rhodes being available again is when it comes to third party ventures, and things like ‘Go-Big Show’ that I just took part in – the show I was part of that’s coming to TBS. In our wrestling bubble that we’re all in – we’re all a family and a part of, all of us – everyone kind of knows the saga of Cody Rhodes. When you dip your toes into different waters, and other worlds, they may not understand. They don’t need that pre-existing equity or baggage. It was a very special day. I’m happy it worked out, and I’m very thankful for everybody that was involved.”

How did the deal with Allysin Kay wrestling at Full Gear come to be, is it a one-off, or will we be seeing her on Dynamite and/or Dark in the coming months? (Louis Dangoor, WrestleTalk)

“One thing that’s really special about AEW, and we say it and it sounds like a shill, but it’s not – we’re open for business. Our bridges are down, and our doors are open. What came up with Allysin and Serena, and I can’t say enough nice things about either of them but particularly Serena – what a strong presence she was on Dynamite the week prior. Just talk about stepping up to the plate. I’ve known Serena since I was 20-years-old, and she’s a very, very special wrestler.

“In terms of that match, having another women’s match on the card, I think Tony Khan was the one who had the foresight to connect with Billy. He’s always connecting with Billy when it comes to the NWA presence, which is a lingering thing, and it’s a good lingering thing. They have a good relationship. The bridges are down for different companies and people from different worlds to crossover. That’s what you’re seeing with AEW Full Gear, having the NWA women’s champion on the show, and having someone like Allysin, who has a great deal of buzz and who has captured the imagination of the audience. A great veteran, revered and respected in the wrestling world. I think it’ll be a hell of a match.”

What are your thoughts about having Eddie Kingston in AEW, and him recently catapulting himself to the top of the card? (Stephanie Franchomme, STEELCHAIR Magazine)

“One thing that comes from the education I’ve had since I was a little boy – I’ve been in wrestling, I’ve seen it, talked about it every day.That education is very valuable when it comes to talent recruitment. I take talent recruitment very seriously, and in particular if you’re wrestling me, and if I put my name on you, I expect that project to be an incredibly successful project.

“Ricky Starks was somebody who was out there lingering, and the Voices of Wrestling cast were telling me every five minutes about how wonderful he is.I saw his self-produced vignette he did for the NWA. A very special type of individual. Eddie Kingston was somebody who made waves also with the wonderful social media muscle he has. Both guys I had the utmost confidence in their ability to deliver, and I’m super happy that I’m the one who recruited them – but it’s just me who opened the door. They are both are the ones who have run with the ball. If somebody handed it to them it doesn’t matter at this point anymore, because they’ve scored over and over again.

“Last night, Kingston and Moxley had a piece of television that has really been a lightning rod this morning and this afternoon about, just the discussion of promos and interviews, and what Eddie is able to do in terms of… The most important thing in a promo, or in an interview, is that you touch the audience at home and in their seats. You have to connect with them. Suspension of disbelief is not what sells tickets in wrestling. The personal experience, the connection, a personality connecting to another personality.

“Eddie has that ability to connect to an audience. He has it with his wrestling ability in the ring, and he has it with his ability on the microphone. That’s what a wrestler is. That’s what a total package really is. I’m so proud of Eddie, which is such a strange thing to say about such a hard dude. I’m pretty sure he’s more of a veteran than me, but I was happy that I was able to open that door. It’s up to him to finish the work. He’ll find out, and he probably already knows – the work never ends.

“I know Eddie Kingston fans from all around the world are excited to see this 18-year saga, where it’s landed in the main event of the biggest PPV, and the biggest card I can imagine in years. Just look at The Elite matches alone, my gosh, and Eddie to be at the top of the bill with Pretty Platinum, the world championship, that’s got to be a big moment for him. I’m confident he’s going to execute.”

Before AEW launched you said many times it would be a sports-centric brand. With more promos and the recent Jericho/MJF “Dinner Debonair” segment, has the vision changed at all in the first year? (Connor Casey, Comicbook.com

“I look back at what I said, and sometimes I chuckle a bit because I hit things so hard before the first AEW show because no matter what we were aiming for, and what we envisioned, you don’t know until the lights are on and the red light is blinking and you’re off beaming to television sets around the world.

“When I speak of sports-centric wrestling I speak of the wrestling I grew up on: Jim Crocket Promotions, World Championship Wrestling, WCCW, everything that was available to me in the south. I also speak of the current MMA scene with what UFC is doing, the current boxing scene in terms of unscripted promos and drama based on who the people really are – or who they want the people at home to think they are.

“So when it comes to sports-centric wrestling, I consider everything I do – me personally – to be sports-centric. I honor my own identity because that is who I am. You talked about Dinner Debonair, and that is who Chris Jericho is. There are different flavors of ice cream that we serve at AEW.

“It’s very funny to me, some of the more modern – I don’t know if pundits is the term, but the wrestling journalist that tells you it has to all be one way. That hasn’t worked for anyone you’ve told, that it has to all be one way, so why tell us that? It’s very much different flavors.

“Chris represents his brand incredibly well. The meta style that the Young Bucks have.. The strong-style approach that Kenny is bringing back into his singles repertoire, very much himself. There are so many different flavors. What I do as a wrestler, what Cody Rhodes does when he’s on screen, will always be sports-centric because that’s the type of wrestling I love. That’s the type of stories that I personally like to tell.”

Tony Khan recently said in an interview that AEW was bringing in some extra people on the medical side after recent incidents. As a performer and EVP how much stock do you put into comments from journalists and fans who want the talent to be safe, and how does that factor into protocols the company puts in place? (Jon Alba, Spectrum Sports)

“The main thing we have to take into consideration is what is really happening, not what we’re presenting on TV that could be a little bit in the grey area, where ‘I think he or she is hurt, but perhaps they are not.’ We have to take into account what is really happening. Did such and such take a shot to the chin? Are they out on their feet? Medical protocol is evolving with the company. Full disclosure, after this call there is a full talent, all personnel meeting with Chris Nowinski about concussion protocol.

“Talent health and safety, your ability to do this and then go home to your wife or your husband and your children – your ability to continue doing this is paramount. Absolutely so, so significant. You have to be able to plow through the background noise and the armchair quarterbacking of it all, and take a look at what the situation really is. We have a wonderful team here that is led by Doc Sampson. We have Bryce leading the charge with our training room protocols. We’re even doing on-site rehab. There’s a lot of wonderful things we’re doing, and we are evolving as a company. We’re learning from the things we do right, and the things we don’t do right. Talent safety is paramount to me personally, just as a performer, but also paramount in this role as an executive.

“Wrestling is violent. I think some fans have forgotten just how violent it can be, but it should never be so violent that you’re injured. I said in an interview not too long ago, ‘You’ll always be hurt, but you should never be injured.’ I want to make sure our boys and girls are always happy and healthy, and that their families trust us when they give us their bodies like they do. Concussion protocols, medical protocols are evolving daily with an effort of only bettering them. We do ourselves no service by running a sloppy shop or not having those protocols. We need them, and we do have them.”

There has been some disappointment regarding the lack of story building between Hikaru Shida and Nyla Rose. Can you comment at all on this? (Kristen Ashly, Bell to Belles)

“I personally am not disappointed because my outlook on wrestling is there’s a wrestling ring, and we have wrestlers, and we have rankings, and there will be matches. I do understand that for the last 20 years fans have been conditioned to think that every match is going to start with an invisible camera and a piece of cake in catering, and someone takes that last piece of cake and now there’s drama. Now there is a ‘storyline’. In our case, it’s sports-centric. We’re right back to it, and I meant it when I said it.

“I hope folks aren’t disappointed when they get this wonderful match between two incredible female performers. There is no one better than Shida, and I’m talking about our women’s division and our men’s division. But I am aware that for 20 years, they’ve been conditioned that every match needs to have a War & Peace story connected to it. That will not be the case with AEW. We have wrestling matches because we are a wrestling show. It’s in the title. I hope that, if there was any disappointment in the build, there will be no disappointment in the execution.”

We’ve seen you go at it with Darby Allin in an AEW ring before. Is there anything you’re doing in preparation for this match that’s any different to get ready for him? (Kyle Masters, All Elite Podcast)

“I had a conversation with Jim Ross about Darby. Who is Darby going to be in the future for AEW? Where does he play, and how it’s a tough draw for him to be in there for me while I’m still on the climb up of this rollercoaster. This run that I’ve gone on is genuinely unexpected. I can’t apologize for my own hard work. I’m very excited about it – it’s what I’ve dreamed of my whole life.

“But this is a very different Darby. This is a Darby who now has experience with Jon Moxley. This is a Darby who is not bewildered by the big lights anymore. He is one of the most dedicated wrestlers at AEW. He doesn’t party, he doesn’t politic, he consistently thinks out his own brand, and how his brand can lean in to the AEW brand. He is a loner, but I don’t think he realizes he’s also a leader because of how he leads by example.

“When this match was brought up to me, it’s already a vastly different match because I’m dealing with a different Darby, and he’s dealing with a different me. I gained 14 real pounds during my hiatus and I’m continuing to bulk and cycle through Full Gear, all the way to Revolution. Darby’s now in there with a full-fledged heavyweight. The longer this goes, the more in his favor it will be because he’s got the lighter body fat composition. But I think your hot dog is not going to get cold for this match.

“Darby has not been able to beat me on three occasions. I don’t think this will be any different. I’m not looking past Darby, but I think there were other challengers that could have stepped up. If Darby is the one, if he’s not gonna bend the knee again, I’ll stand corrected. I’m very proud of Darby. I solely recruited him when no one else wanted him. I’m not looking past him at all.”

AEW DARK gives an opportunity for good talent that’s not as well known to work with established talent. Whose idea was DARK and what is the goal of the show? (Jim Varsallone, Miami Herald) 

“AEW DARK, the title was mine. I wanted to theme it after the Dark Universe monster movies that never happened, in terms of its iconography and all that. The concept was all the EVPs and Tony Khan of course, but where it’s at now with so many independent wrestlers who are out of work due to COVID and the pandemic coming in, and so many matches – DARK is a staggering number of great matches every week – that credit goes solely to Tony Khan and his love for the wrestling economy.

“We’re finding amongst that crop of talent, in a much more conducive environment than a straight squash, where these competitive matches exist, we’re finding some real diamonds. I think Red Velvet is somebody that’s going to be a big part of the women’s division. I didn’t think that her first outing. It’s been her second and the third outing, and the continued application of what our coaches are giving them.

“DARK is another really wonderful space for our coaches and talent to go out there with a super long leash and have a lot of fun. We have Jerry Lynn, Dean Malenko, Dustin Rhodes, BJ Whitmer, Christopher Daniels, QT Marshall – we have these coaches from all walks of life, and all different styles. To be able to be out there and not be hamstrung by Dynamite itself or those time parameters, it’s really created a wonderful thing.

“If I was not on Dynamite I would want to be the king of DARK. Not unlike what Ricky Starks is doing at this moment. He’s very smart. I would want to be on commentary, doing promos, competitive matches, enhancement matches…

“DARK is very special, and right now DARK does not exist without Tony Khan and QT Marshall because they stay up all night. I have to get my beauty rest and sleep because I’m still wrestling, but they stay up all night coming up with the best DARKs with the best people, and it’s really supplemented Dynamite, helping us find and recruit new talent.”

In a very short time you’ve made the TNT Championship one of the most sought after titles in the world. How do you feel cementing your legacy with TNT and who do you think can best carry that torch forward? (Amy Nemmity, Wrestle Joy)

“It goes back to that piece of cake example. For 20 years people have been pre-conditioned that other singles titles are somehow less than another title. We don’t have any positioning of our titles other than what the fans dictate. Now, we can do our best to present you Jon Moxley as the world champion, the best wrestler in the world, PWI’s number one. I was genuinely super pissed about it. I thought this year was my year. I don’t want to get on a tangent, but I had this big plan to do a centerfold deal where it reveals, and they do pyro… I was ready, and PWI keeps that list so close to the chest. If you ever meet a wrestler that says they don’t care about the PWI 500, believe me, you haven’t met a successful wrestler. We all care. I’m gunning for number one.

“That random weird tangent aside, I love – my favorite moment of the night is when I walk from my office to the go position, and I have this title on. It’s such a beautiful physical belt and nothing feels more like wrestling than having that around my waist. It’s perfect. I think there’s a number of people, if I wasn’t carrying the TNT title, a number of people that could carry the title. It really is ‘the’ belt. It is the ‘ace’ championship. If it wasn’t me, someone like PAC, someone like Darby Allin, or Scorpio Sky, Hangman Page, Jon Moxley himself. There’s no singles division better than what AEW has, hands down, in terms of bell to bell. That title, if it leaves my hands and inevitably it will leave my hands at some point, when it does I’m sure the person that’s carrying it will carry it with the same amount of equity it was born with. It is a title that really, really matters, and all you need to do is vanity search it. You’ll see the discussion. It’s the most widely discussed belt in all of sports, and I am so proud to be the one carrying it.”

AEW has brought back managers, factions and older tropes from wrestling’s past that have been largely phased out over the last decade or so in wrestling. Could you speak to this? (Shawn Lealos, CBR) 

“I think it’s about bringing in people at a different phase in their career, perhaps. If you look at Vader in the early 90s when they paired Harley Race with him, when Dusty put them together, it was a match made in heaven. It made for great, entertaining matches. Sting with Ric Flair.

“When we look at how we present our legends and our luminaries, we present them as they are. We’re not trying to tell you they’re in their prime, we’re telling you they’re the experienced elder statesmen and stateswomen of our world. They’re passing on their knowledge.

“Arn is not an on-screen manager, he is genuinely a coach. He has been for me since 2007. Nobody was harder and meaner to me when I first started and debuted as a television wrestler than Arn Anderson. That was what I needed. Some respond to positive reenforcement, some respond to negative. I needed that. I’m stepping into such a role in terms of being the son of the ‘American Dream’. My god, that’s an impossible hill to climb. Arn knew that, and knew what I would knew to do it. Look at how long it has taken – that’s why it’s so important that he’s with me, and that’s why it’s so real. There ain’t nothing fake about Arn Anderson as coach. You can make fun of the play card, maybe that’s a little silly, but if you look at the actual card there’s real moves on there.

“In terms of the factions, stables, groups – I look at what I’m doing with the Nightmare Family more as a team. It’s to spread the real estate out. It’s a likeminded team of people who like to do the work. The All-American good guy types. I like to have a young upstart, someone like Lee Johnson who now will have Arn Anderson at his side to get that knowledge. I like that for what you see on-screen, but also behind the scenes.

“Then you have the Inner Circle, a very traditional stable in terms of just how powerful, and how much talent sits in one group. And how much utility sits in one group. Look at what Jake Hager just did. He’s undefeated, showing up on TV with both his eyes swollen shut, an undefeated MMA fighter.

“And I like a lot what New Japan has done with its factions. If you’re in a locker room in New Japan, chances are you’re in some sort of faction, but it’s more of a team, or a brotherhood. The reason why it feels so traditional, and feels so old school and likens back to the older days of wrestling, is because it’s very real. I’ll never look at anyone and tell them wrestling is fake. Never. I know just how real what I do is, and when you put real on TV it translates. It becomes real, good entertainment. Those factions are genuine brothers and sisterhoods, and that’s what makes the difference. Living and dying on each other’s success. I’m very picky with who I put in my own group because I want them to represent themselves and me in their way own.

“One thing that’s very special to me, having had a wrestler as a father – I didn’t always like how he was treated when he was older and he was brought in as a novelty. It actually made me sick sometimes. That’s why when we bring out our legends, we bring them as legends. We expect nothing of them other than to be legendary, and to respect them as such. Tony Khan, being a student of this game who can literally pull out any fact from any match, an absolute lover of this industry, is good at leading by example and showing how we should showcase these luminaries.”

Have there been any talks with ITV about increasing the AEW presence in the UK? Are there any plans to possibly come to the UK in 2021 or increase the company’s presence here? (Stephanie Chase, WrestleTalk TV)

“The goal of AEW from an executive standpoint, from where I sit, is always to expand. That’s to capture international audiences, casual fans, lapsed fans. Chris Harrington put together an intense spreadsheet, and he color-coded it for the ones of us who didn’t go to college, an intense spreadsheet on how well we were doing. How pointed the data was in terms of families in homes, in terms of 18-49, the actual youth of the United Kingdom and how plugged in they were. That type of success will hopefully beget more success and more penetration and presence when it comes to our great TV partner that is ITV. So those discussions, to be frank, have happened.

“The discussion of us doing a show in the UK, that’s a no-brainer. I’m not supposed to break any news, and ultimately Tony Khan is steering this ship, but I can tell you flat out – when the world is open again, we will absolutely be in the UK. I don’t think for just one show. There’s too many markets, and you’re not a wrestlers in my opinion until you’ve wrestled in front of a UK crowd. They go a different way, and a very special way. I’m really proud of that data. I’m proud to be partners with ITV. It was wonderful to see PAC back on the show this week. Our UK presence hopefully will have a great 2021. We’re geared and heading that way, and I can’t wait to see what else we do on ITV.”

Can you comment on the Young Bucks issuing the stipulation that if they lose against FTR at AEW Full Gear they will never challenge for the AEW World Tag Team Championships again? (Andrea Hangst, Sportskeeda)

“We’re on our second annual Full Gear, and it was Full Gear last year where I had this stipulation made. It isn’t my fault. I don’t mean to make excuses, and that sounded so terrible, but it’s definitely MJF’s fault for throwing in the towel. Nonetheless I can never challenge for the world championship again. I’m not going to challenge for it under a different name, I’m not gonna be the Midnight Rider, we’re not doing any of that stuff. I do not want fans to think nepotism is involved. I do not want fans to try and put an asterisk on my career because I’m in any sort of management. I gave you my word as fans, I gave you my word as people who cover the industry – I will never challenge for the world championship.

“That said, that was special to me because I had grown up and seen how the wrestling smarties – and that’s not the best way to put it – I had seen how they came after my dad. It wasn’t until the last few years of his life, and certainly in death, that people realized Dusty was the most over guy on the show. That’s why he was wrestling Ric Flair. They sold tickets. That personal experience, and that genuine angst, that apology for something that never truly happened – as a son, carrying that forward is difficult. It’s really hard to wrap your head around, but that’s where the stipulation came from. I wanted to do my best to avoid that in my life.

“I don’t fully understand the Bucks wanting to do that. I wouldn’t have recommended it. Matt and Nick Jackson are one of the best tag teams in the world, if not the best tag team in the world. Nick Jackson is an outstanding singles wrestler in his own, which more and more people have discovered. No doubt Matt is as well. I think them doing this is a bad idea, and I told them that. Look at me – I can never challenge for the world championship again. Just from an optics standpoint, people think that the world championship is the biggest championship in the world, so why wouldn’t you want to be the world champions? Maybe that’s a bad call on Matt and Nick’s part. maybe they didn’t learn from my experience, but that’s wrestling for you. We are how we are. I wish them the absolute best of luck. I always will have a bond to a group that’s, in terms of The Elite, there will always be a bond between us. We jumped off into this journey together, so I always want them to succeed. But again, in short, I think this stipulation is a bad idea and one that can really come back to bite you in the ass.”

With AEW now in its second year on television how do you manage wearing so many hats with all your various roles within the company? (Mike Johnson, PWInsider.com) 

“I had the great education of living through what happened with WCW. I was there every Thursday when the ratings were faxed in to our home address in Marietta, GA. My dad talked to me about why Nitro did this and that, as he was a consultant and an announcer at the time. That type of experience has led me to always be very guarded, pessimistic and very grateful.

“My full ambition, in terms of wrestling and how far I want to go – if I was to say them on this call, I think their minds would be blown. I have no intention of stopping this climb. I want everything. The world is not enough. But I want it fairly, and I want it on my merit. When it comes to different hats, and this wonderful place that is All Elite Wrestling, every day I am thankful for the opportunity that I get to do it.

“I get an incredible high, there is absolute euphoria when you have a great segment yourself and you know you nailed it – the same feeling comes when you assist someone else. When you produce something else, or write something for somebody else. When you give them a little thing, and the next thing you know it’s turned into a whole story. That experience, I know that I like this job because I like that. I like that when I get to my office, even though Tony is the end-all, be-all in terms of making decisions, I like when I get to my office on 1 o’clock on Wednesday, the door starts knocking and it doesn’t stop until showtime. I love that. I want everyone of these people that we recruited or hired, I want them to get something from this. I want to be a good leader, and to lead by example.

“So to me it’s really a matter of staying grateful and being aware, more than anything, that this could end at any minute. It’s happened before. I want us to be around for years and years to come. The data reflects that we will be, but we can’t take that for granted. We have to build new stars, and it is my job to build to new stars. Take a look at year one. Ricky Starks, MJF, Britt Baker, Sammy Guevara. We have a top, a middle, and a bottom. No other wrestling company can truly say that. Most have a top, then there’s 50 miles down, then there’s a bottom. Now I look at year two. Who’s going to be the next? Is gonna be Anna Jay? Red Velvet. Is Will Hobbs going to be the next singles star? Staying humble and staying grateful I think will always put us in the position where we’re trying to continue to expand and grow.”

Has there been any update on the much-talked-about third hour of AEW television on TNT? Will DARK become a second show on television, or continue to remain YouTube exclusive? (Jonathan McMahon, Bodyslam)

“In terms of the third hour, and when I say ‘third hour’ I don’t mean a third hour on Dynamite, I mean part of the new contract with TNT moving forward is that we will have another presence on their network. We don’t have any news that we can’t share at this time. That doesn’t mean we don’t have any news, really good news, but we don’t have any that we can share.

“I can say that it will not be DARK. DARK is its own beautiful baby that exists on our wonderful YouTube channel, and it’s a lot and a lot of different elements because it’s on YouTube, but the third hour will not be DARK. It will be a different take. A different look, but still the great action. There’s a ring, there’s a locker room full of wrestlers. It’s a wrestling show. We don’t have any news at the moment. That doesn’t mean we don’t have news, and I can’t wait to share more when we have a little more clarity on it.”

Whose decision was it to use “Cinderella” for the video package on Dynamite this week, and could we see more licensed music used in AEW? (Jude Terror, Bleeding Cool)

“I’m fairly certain that Tony and Kenny were the ones who wanted to use ‘Cinderella’ and get everyone in the backstage arena and out in the seats singing it. We have a wonderful in-house musician and band with Mikey Rukus. Mikey, not unlike AEW, is open to that crossover with some licensed music. Some of the best vignette packages and great songs were licensed songs. You absolutely will see more of that in AEW. It’s not my money to spend, but when it’s spent on music that connects with people just like a promo can connect with people, it’s typically money well spent. It becomes an interesting bit of legality, which I’m learning how that all works.”

AEW

Break It Down: Ranking Every Major Wrestling TV Show (Week #14)

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Break It Down

It has been one of the most important weeks of the wrestling calendar year, with plenty going on as WWE WrestleMania 37 takes place. All the final build-up took place throughout what has been one of the busiest weeks of the year for the industry.

But even the non-WWE shows stepped up and really delivered this week, making the most of all the hype and excitement that was surrounding the wrestling world. But which show was the strongest from the week overall?


6. WWE Raw

Photo Credit: YouTube.com/WWE

To say it was the go-home episode of WWE Raw for WWE WrestleMania, this was not a good show in the slightest.  There was just a total lack of thrill to this show, with very little really building towards WWE WrestleMania in a positive manner.

The pointless match between Xavier Woods and AJ Styles with a classic distraction finish after around a minute was an example of how poor elements of the show were. The handicap match with Braun Strowman squashing Elias and Jaxson Ryker was another example.

However, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre did impress, with the Scotsman having a really solid match with King Corbin, showcasing how talented Corbin can be. Plus, Bad Bunny was an impressive part of the show, with his promo showing his passion and adding fire to his character. But overall, this didn’t feel like a big go-home show, which was a shame as people wanted more from this episode.

5. IMPACT Wrestling

Photo Credit: YouTube.com/IMPACT

It certainly wasn’t a bad episode of IMPACT Wrestling this week, but there were a few matches that didn’t quite connect which let the show down a little in comparison to such an action-packed week of wrestling elsewhere across the board.

The opening knockouts division match was messy and didn’t work at all, which is quite a surprise for such a talented division. Chris Sabin and Deaner was also a match that didn’t really deliver, which was a similar tone for Matt Cardona and Jake Something, which felt more like an angle than a match.

However, the work between Sami Callihan and Trey Miguel continued to be entertaining and the main event more than lived up to its hype, with Kenny Omega’s appearance on the show being a fun one overall.

4. WWE SmackDown

There were elements of WWE SmackDown that did feel like a clip show, simply being used to promote WWE WrestleMania 37. However, while some elements of the show did drag on because of that, the actual content on the night was all good to great.

The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal was fun, as always, and the match did well in highlighting the right people who have worked hard throughout the year, from Shinsuke Nakamura to King Corbin and the eventual winner, Jey Uso.

The WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship match was a lot of fun and allowed everyone to look great, and it is a shame that this couldn’t have been featured over WWE WrestleMania at some point. However, it was the three promos from the Universal Championship competitors that really made this show what it was, with the work of all three men being absolutely sublime in selling their individual perspectives.

3. AEW Dynamite

Photo Credit: YouTube.com/AEW

AEW was in a tough spot this week, surrounded by so much WWE hype. However, the company did what it does best, and that’s putting together an interesting and enjoyable show. Hangman Page’s singles victory started the show well, and Jurassic Express and Bear Country had a really nice contest together.

AEW must stop bringing Sting and Tony Schiavone out together for every segment, but the work of Lance Archer was excellent. Death Triangle and Best Friends feuding feels like a bit of filler, and the TNT Championship match, while solid, feels like is needs more story to help cement Darby Allin’s title run.

However, Tay Conti and The Bunny impressed, and the main event match and Young Bucks heel turn was a great hook to end the show. But the highlight was Chris Jericho’s amazing promo and having Mike Tyson pop up just added a lot of fun. It was an exciting show with a lot going on, and it led to an enjoyable show that continued pushing forward a lot of great content.

2. WWE NXT UK

Photo Credit: YouTube.com/WWE

WWE NXT UK put together a massive card for WWE WrestleMania week, and all of the matches delivered, as well as some great backstage segments only adding to the show. The Heritage Rules match between Noam Dar and Tyler Bate was a nice way to start the show, with this stipulation match being a lot of fun to watch.

The development with Amir Jordan, no longer being about fun and dancing was great to see as he desperately sought out his former tag team partner to fight him, setting up a big match next week. Meanwhile, the women’s tag team match was an absolutely fantastic match.

They were given tons of time to put together a thrilling match and it was one that was only topped by the main event. WALTER battling Rampage Brown has a big fight feel about it and the two heavyweights created a real clash to bring the show to an end in style.

1. WWE NXT

Bronson Reed WWE NXT

Considering that the final-ever episode of WWE NXT on a Wednesday night was night one of the two-night Takeover event, it always had a high chance of being the best show of the week. Night one saw some unbelievable matches take place, in a show that delivered from start to finish.

From the excellent technical encounter between Pete Dunne and Kushida to the brilliant, hard-hitting main event between Raquel Gonzalez and Io Shirai, every match brought something different. The NXT Tag Team Championship match was fast-paced and full of energy, being one of the highlights of the night.

The gauntlet match was also a ton of fun, while the match of the night certainly ended up being WALTER and Tommaso Ciampa really living up to the idea of a dream match. While night two was also a tremendous show, this was the better of the two, and it was comfortably the show of the week.

Sixth place= 1 point
Fifth place= 2 points
Fourth place= 3 points
Third place= 4 points
Second place=5 points
First place= 6 points

2020 results (each week, the points tally will be added up below):

WWE Raw- 26
IMPACT Wrestling- 42
WWE NXT- 65
AEW Dynamite- 72
WWE NXT UK- 39
WWE SmackDown- 45

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AEW

AEW The House Always Wins Results (4/9): TNT Title Defense, 10-Man Tag Headline First Ever House Show

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All Elite Wrestling held their first ever house show on Friday night in Jacksonville, FL headlined by Darby Allin defending the TNT Championship against the winner of a battle royal that took place earlier in the show.

The co-main event of the evening saw a huge 10-man tag team match featuring AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, Michael Nakazawa and the Young Bucks teaming up with DDT Pro’s debuting Konosuke Takeshita.


AEW The House Always Wins
April 9, 2021
Jacksonville, FL

  1. TNT Title #1 Contender’s Battle Royal: The Butcher def. Austin Gunn, Colt Cabana, Colten Gunn, the Dark Order’s 10, Dustin Rhodes, Ethan Page, Lance Archer, Powerhouse Hobbs, Ricky Starks and Scorpio Sky.
  2. The Pinnacle def. Jurassic Express & Dante Martin
  3. Jade Cargill def. Reka Tahaka
  4. Street Fight: Cody Rhodes def. Aaron Solow
  5. Best Friends def. Max Caster & TH2
  6. Eddie Kingston def. Cezar Bononi
  7. Hikaru Shida & Red Velvet & Ryo Mizunami & Tay Conti def. Britt Baker & The Bunny & Nyla Rose & Rebel
  8. Death Triangle & The Sydal Brothers def. Kenny Omega & Konosuke Takeshita & Michael Nakazawa & The Young Bucks
  9. TNT Title Match: Darby Allin (c) def. The Butcher

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AEW

Christian Cage Compares His AEW Debut To Joining TNA In 2005

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Christian

Christian Cage recently spoke about joining AEW, comparing it to when he left WWE to join TNA back in 2005.

The new AEW star spoke with ET Canada’s Shakiel Mahjouri, where he compared the two, discussing the importance of him betting on himself in both those scenarios.


“When I left in 2005, it was more to bet on myself and to prove a point. I felt like I was stuck in a rut. I felt like I needed to get away in order to come back and be better than I was. I needed to step away and prove that I can work at and wrestle at the top of the card and carry a show. I felt like if I just stayed in WWE, I wasn’t necessarily going to get that opportunity no matter what reactions or the quality of matches that I was putting on. So I needed to kind of bet on myself, get out of their face for a little while, go and prove that even if it was on a smaller scale that I could do that. I feel like I did. then I came back. This time is a little bit different. I didn’t leave WWE because I wasn’t under contract with WWE. I hadn’t been under contract for WWE in probably six, seven years at this point in time. So it was a choice that I made. I needed the best platform for me at this stage of my career where I felt like I could go out and do my best work and also elevate the next generation that is coming up behind me.”

Christian was also asked what is on his bucket list for his career, where Cage made it clear that right now it is to simply just be back and be able to write the final chapter of his career on his own terms.

“Yeah, I mean, right now, just to come back and to compete at a high level. If I couldn’t come back and be what I was, if not better, I wouldn’t even attempt this and for me, the only goal that I have is to put on quality matches and to be able to write this final chapter myself. It never sat well with me that I was told that this was done. So now that I’ve been kind of gifted this opportunity to rewrite this final chapter on my own, I don’t take that lightly. So I’m going to go out there and whether I’m working in main events, I’m working for championships, whether I become the champion, that’s all icing on the cake. But for me just to go out there and have quality matches and, at the same time, elevate and help teach the younger generation coming up and make sure that they’re set up for success in the future.” (H/T to Fightful.com for the transcriptions)

You can check out the full interview below:

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