By promoting a huge maych with Shaq on AEW Dynamite this week, AEW hoped to draw in the mythical "new wrestling viewer" to become a potential future AEW fan. Lots of companies in wrestling and beyond (it's actually worse in comics) claim to want to appeal to new fans, but often fall into the trap of catering to a dwindling niche audience instead. During a conference call Wednesday ahead of the AEW Revolution PPV, Cody Rhodes discussed his philosophy on drawing in new fans to AEW.
"For me, I've really taken it upon myself to, I want to grow our audience, and I know we have the best bell to bell wrestling," said Rhodes. "We have a guy like Pac here. So just a guy like Pac guarantees me that we have the best bell to bell wrestling. But I need people to watch it. I need them. If they come for Shaq, maybe they'll stay for somebody like Pac. I keep using him as an example just because I'm a big fan of his work, but I definitely think you will see more crossover and you'll see crossover done in a respectful way."
According to Rhodes, it's important that celebrities crossing over with wrestling take the whole thing seriously.
"Like I said, Shaq trained," Rhodes continued. "You mentioned Stephen Amell, well, he also trained because that's the only way I would insist on doing anything. That, to me, is important. You can only bring in people for, when it comes to a crossover, that respect your business. Snoop Dogg, nobody respects wrestling more than Snoop Dogg and has a love for it. You don't need to chase Hollywood A-list and B-list if they're not into this. And Shaquille O'Neal is somebody who's very into wrestling and knows a lot about it. You know, grew up watching Leroy Brown and JYD, and he has a lot of opinions and things to say about them. And as a fan, and again, like I said, he trained, so, yes, you will see more crossover."
"My goal here is always to grow our show because I want to grow more fans," he continued. "I want to make more fans happy. You will see it, but it will always be done in a disciplined way. We want people who love our sport and love our form of entertainment because they make for the best guests.
Keep checking back, as Bleeding Cool is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for most clickbait articles churned out of the transcript of a pro wrestling media call, so we'll have lots more on the way from Cody Rhodes and AEW in the coming days.