During a conference call Wednesday ahead of the AEW Revolution PPV, Cody Rhodes discussed how AEW handled the pandemic and what they'll do now that vaccines are rolling out and things are, at some point in the near future, getting back to normal. Rhodes stressed safety procedures and making fans feel safe and comfortable, and expressed belief that AEW's perseverance through the pandemic will prove beneficial for the company.
Rhodes was asked where he thought AEW was heading before the pandemic struck and how he thinks they can get back to that place once things reopen.
"Well, we were heading to the frickin moon, buddy," said Rhodes. "We were rolling. You look at Prudential Center and that sell and what Blood and Guts was gonna be. That's so wonderful. But the pandemic happened, not just to wrestling. You know, it did hit the hospitality industry really hard. It did hit entertainment incredibly hard, but it hit everywhere really hard. And a lot of people have faced so many hardships. I think the number is 40 million unemployed. Forgive me if that's hyperbole. I don't think it is, though. So I don't want to whine about what happened to us. Instead, I want to help those who have experienced it with us, which the wrestling fan wasn't sure they were gonna get wrestling on a weekly basis."
"You hear a lot about these fabled Norcross shows that happened in AEW when the pandemic first hit and lockdown started to happen," Rhodes continued, describing the tapings in Georgia that gave AEW the content needed to weather the pandemics early weeks and also introduced a lot of new talent to the AEW roster. "And the marathon, the March, thirty-something matches in only twenty-six hours. It was some absurd data that we were able to pull it off, and those shows genuinely saved the company. That's why they have such a soft spot, because our job is to provide content for TNT and we have continued to do that. And they've been such a wonderful partner. But we had to pivot like everybody else had to pivot."
He went on to talk about how AEW's perseverance will benefit them as things begin to open back up.
"And now, as vaccines are starting to become regular, and the Johnson and Johnson one was just approved, and you start to see vaccines for every citizen of the US, I think there is going to be a large bounce back with people who want to go out there and get their entertainment, get it safely, and get back to the way things were," said Rhodes. "I really think it will only behoove AEW in time because we never gave up. We never flinched. Signings were still happening, big signings at that, and progress was being made in the show. We didn't just pump out some evergreen content and say, wait, and say, we'll be right back. We've been here the whole time. So I think we'll continue on that trajectory."
Rhodes did stress that AEW has been careful about COVID-19 safety protocols and will continue to be.
"This was good, a good challenge for us that we met it head first, and I think we set the standard for how wrestling can be done in a pandemic with how Keith Mitchell and Tim Walbert shot wrestling from Daily's place and continue to shoot it, with Tony's application of the locker room and getting every independent wrestler who was out of work, basically, some sort of work at AEW, and making them part of our crowd," said Rhodes. "The testing protocols, the temperature scans. The fact that I can't walk from one room to another without a certain wristband on. It is overkill. But it needed to be overkill, and it's provided a safe working environment. So I'm ready for the next the next wave of it, though, and hopefully, slowly but surely, Texas, I heard, just opened up. But we aren't gonna be the first to dip our toes into that water. We're gonna do this as safely and properly as we can so that wrestling fans feel comfortable."
Keeping 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.