AEW's Full Gear PPV is over, but the media conference call held by Cody Rhodes before it lives on in the form of an endless supply of clickbait articles fashioned from his various juicy quotes. One of the topics Cody discussed on the call was how and why AEW handles bringing in old school aspects of wrestling, such as factions and managers, and why when that involves bringing in legends, it's done with both realism and respect.
"I think it's about bringing in people at a different phase in their career, perhaps," Cody said on the call. "If you look at Vader in the early 90s when they paired Harley Race with him. When Dusty put him and Harley together, it was a match made in heaven. It made for great, entertaining matches. Same thing with Ric Flair. And 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 experienced elder statesmen and stateswomen of our world. They're passing on the knowledge."
Cody looked to his own faction, the Nightmare Family, and how the team's coach, Arn Anderson, has been in that real role for Cody for over a decade. "Arn's a great example," he said. "Arn is not an on-screen manager. He is genuinely a coach. And 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. And that was what I needed. Some people respond to positive reinforcement, some respond to negative. I needed that."
"I'm stepping into such a role in terms of being the son of the American Dream," Cody continued. "My gosh, that's an impossible hill to climb. Arn knew that and knew what I would need to do it, and look at how long it has taken. And 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 the coach. You can make fun of that play card. Maybe that's a little silly, but if you look at the actual card, there's real moves on there."
Cody said that it comes down to treating the wrestling business and its legends with respect. "I'll never look at anyone and tell them wrestling is fake," Cody said. "Never. It's because I know just how real what I do is. And when you put real on TV, it translates, it becomes real good entertainment. And those factions are genuine brotherhoods and camaraderie and sisterhoods. And that's what makes the difference, really 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 the best possible way. But I'm glad to hear you're enjoying how we are presenting things at the moment."
Cody's own experience growing up as the son of Dusty Rhodes also plays a role, especially with how it made Cody feel to see the way his father was sometimes treated. "And 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," said Cody. "It would actually make me sick sometimes. That's why when we bring in our legends, we bring them in as the legends. We expect nothing of them other than to be legendary and we respect them as such. And Tony Khan, being a student of this game who literally can pull out any fact, any match, just an absolute lover of this industry, really is good as leading by example and showing how we should showcase these luminaries."