Just days before a new era in pro wrestling kicks off with the debut of All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite on TNT, Cody and Brandi Rhodes have something big on their minds – change.
In November 2018, a mysterious company named All Elite Wrestling, LLC based out of Florida filed several trademarks following rumors of a new promotion getting off the ground. AEW was launched weeks later on New Years Day, just after midnight, and the wrestling world immediately took notice. The trademark filings were utilized for the name of the promotion and two pay-per-view events.
Though one name in the filing — Tuesday Night Dynamite — had been noticeably collecting dust.
After months of anticipation and teasing, All Elite Wrestling’s weekly television show on TNT was officially announced in July. Yet, the series still didn’t have a name at the time.
“We tested other names,” Cody told us during an interview this week at Wrestling Sheet headquarters, alongside his wife Chief Brand Officer Brandi Rhodes, when asked why AEW waited so long to confirm the series would be titled Dynamite. “My favorite of the other names was Revolution, because they kept using the trailer where I was saying revolution,” he added. “So it was a selfish choice and I knew it was a selfish choice. And Matt Jackson, who I love dearly, just kept saying ‘I hate it. I hate it.'”
The company did eventually file a trademark on the name Revolution though (just in case).
36-year-old Tony Khan, AEW’s President/CEO, grabbed the attention of the wrestling industry this year after launching his new promotion with a rally that showcased big stars, pyro, the backing of the Jacksonville Jaguars and, most importantly, a loyal fanbase. Now, heading into AEW’s premiere next week on TNT, his roster boasts an impressive array of athletes including World Champion Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley (aka ex-WWE star Dean Ambrose), The Young Bucks, Awesome Kong, Dustin Rhodes, Kenny Omega, Britt Baker, SCU, The Lucha Bros and legendary announcer Jim Ross.
With the explosive nature of how this group has burst onto the scene, the name Dynamite fits their show perfectly. But that’s not how they came up with it. “Tony had in his mind Dynamite from a young age,” Rhodes explained. “I was always fine with Dynamite, but when I heard his explanation on it, about how it’s got a bit of a retro-feel to it and he wanted to reboot wrestling, retro-feel means also when everybody was watching wrestling, and I thought ‘yeah, that actually makes a lot of sense.’ And I’ve liked it ever since.”
Conversations such as this make it clear wrestling’s past has been a big influence on AEW. But Cody and Brandi admit there are many things from the past still occurring in wrestling today that need to change and they would like to be the ones who help make it happen.
According to AEW’s Chief Brand Officer, the lack of women working behind the scenes in professional wrestling is something that needs to be addressed.
“One thing that I’ve wanted to see change in wrestling, because wrestling seems to be slower than everything else that I know in entertainment, as far as progressive — and I’m not sure why that is — but women behind the scenes in wrestling don’t really exist,” Brandi explained. “So this role is paramount for that reason in that that showcases that there’s another one of us that are existing, and making decisions, and being pinnacle parts of the building of a company. There should be more. There are a lot more smart women that are involved in the wrestling business, as wrestlers or people who want to be involved behind the scenes, that want to have executive roles. I want to see that start to change and I want to see that start to change much more rapidly.”
“But, here’s what I have to say. Ladies. We can’t eat our own,” she added. “If we’re always eating our own, we’re not gonna make progress. If myself, or some of the other women that are currently in wrestling in executive roles, aren’t your favorite … that’s ok. Don’t beat that to a pulp where nobody wants to hear it. Just keep working towards what you do want to see and that’s the way that we overcome these things.”
As for Cody, he had another thing in mind when talking about the changes needed in pro wrestling.
“We’re approaching this from a very sports-centric approach. The league itself. The standings. The wins and losses mattering. The titles holding a lot of stake. If you look at other sports, African Americans are dominating in sports. Dominating in the NBA. Dominating the NFL. How come that hasn’t made its way to wrestling? If that makes any sense.”
Cody expanded upon this, saying: “Just something I noticed the other night and I’m thinking to myself, ‘We don’t just want to check a box. They’re out there.’ And right away I thought, I’m so happy that we have a guy like Scorpio Sky who is an absolute stud of an athlete. My beautiful wife. We have Kia (Awesome Kong). Ya know? I just think it’s important that because wrestling was a certain way doesn’t mean it always has to be that way forever. It is changing and there’s so many loud voices that try to get it from changing, but it’s going to change.”
“It’s changed from when Harley Race was the first guy taking a back drop in St. Louis to now. It’s gonna change. They were mad at Harley Race then and they’re mad at Private Party for doing high spots now, but it’s gonna change and we have to be ready for that,” he continued.
“The audience is changing. The product is changing.”
All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite premieres October 2 on TNT with a live, two-hour broadcast. The show will feature Cody vs. Sammy Guevara, MJF vs. Brandon Cutler, PAC vs. “Hangman” Adam Page, Riho vs. Nyla Rose to determine the first AEW Women’s World Champion and The Elite (Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks) vs. Chris Jericho and two mystery partners. Plus, an appearance from Jon Moxley.
Watch the full interview with Cody and Brandi Rhodes below where the two wrestlers chat with Editor-in-Chief Ryan Satin about the AEW title possibly being stolen after All Out, engaging with fans on social media and much more!