Cody Rhodes Comments on How He “Workshops My Promos Heavily for Weeks on End” and Says TNT Title Name Won’t Change, More

Cody Rhodes has been making the media rounds ahead of Sunday’s AEW Double or Nothing pay-per-view in Jacksonville. Cody, who is an Executive Vice President in AEW, will face Anthony Ogogo in what will be Ogogo’s first PPV match. Ogogo is in his first year as a pro wrestler after being a professional boxer. On a card with ten matches, it isn’t one of the bigger matches on the show, but it’s still important in the growth of Ogogo as a professional wrestler.

During a promo on AEW Dynamite a few weeks ago, Cody talked about the American Dream while noting that Ogogo was bashing America. Cody talked about his unborn daughter, Cody referenced Shad Khan’s invention of making car bumpers safer during the promo, but he didn’t say his name. Shad Khan is the father of AEW President Tony Khan – the family owns AEW, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and many things. Cody also said for this match, he’ll be using the “American Dream” nickname that his father Dusty used rather than the “American Nightmare” nickname that Cody uses. The promo was well received by some people while others felt it was cheesy and lame. I would admit my feelings are somewhere in the middle. I definitely saw people complaining about how silly some of the promo was. You can see a clip of it below.

Anyway, Cody talked to GameSpot’s Wrestle Buddies pro wrestling podcast saying that he thought about that promo long before he delivered it on May 12 and even used a workshop focus group for it.

“This is probably gonna sound not cool, because a lot of wrestlers–especially wrestlers from my dad’s era–will lie to you and say, ‘Oh, I just came up with that promo right there on the spot,’ which is bulls***. But whatever. I workshop my promos heavily for weeks on end. We have a full focus group for them, as crazy as that sounds. This is a data-based company, so I workshop everything I do. And because my promos have been held to a really high standard–people pick at them and find things in them and they put a microscope on them, which I love. With that in mind, when I was doing the promo I couldn’t come up with a finish.”

Cody went on to further explain using the “American Dream” name for his match against Ogogo:

“When I was just thinking about what the story really is, Anthony [Ogogo] is living the American dream for real. All the wrestlers, like Bruno Sammartino, who I referenced in my interview, who have come over, have lived the American dream here. [With] what [that] stands for and [it being] Memorial Day weekend and fans coming back and just all that beautiful synergy and kismet, I ended up saying it once. ‘He won’t be wrestling the American Nightmare. He’ll be wrestling the American Dream.’ And when I said it, I just couldn’t move past it. I thought, ‘That’s it. That’s the ticket.'”

“If I need to do it for a gimmick, it’s the wrong thing. But if it’s something that organically exists and comes up and it’s just that name–it’s more thematic and in my soul. Not to get all artsy and whatnot, but if it’s [in my heart] more than it’s [in my head], then it would be worth it and it would feel good. So it really just encapsulates everything that’s happening.”

Cody also talked to and in the interview, he revealed that the TNT Title name is staying even though AEW is moving Dynamite and the debuting Rampage show to TBS in January 2022. They will still have four annual TNT specials as well. Here’s what Cody said about that:

“I don’t want to drop any spoilers, but I mean, I’ll drop a spoiler. I don’t think we’re going to change the title’s name one bit. TNT is the place that the first alternative challenger brand in two decades appeared on. Their excitement, our partners at WarnerMedia, and the TNT title, as I’ve stated, I think it is, if not the most important title in wrestling, the second most important title in wrestling. I don’t see us changing that name, and I think that’s kind of across the board. I don’t think you’ll find anybody in management or Tony himself who wants to change that name. We’ll always roll with the punches and we’ll always pivot, but I’m 99% sure the TNT title stays the TNT title.”

I don’t know about the way he values the TNT Title, but as an AEW executive what else is he going to say? It’s not like he’s going to put over titles in other companies.

Cody also talked about how the debut of AEW’s second TV show “Rampage” in August might affect Dynamite in the future:

“The format for Dynamite is always fun to look at, unique, and the challenge of every week covering so many stories, determining the most important stories, appeasing the stories that do well with the audience itself, because we’re a data company at heart. Chris Harrington and Tony Khan are looking at what moves the needle, and that’s what’s going to be out there, and that’s what’s going to be prioritized.”

“I think having Rampage will help considerably. That way we can share the wealth. However, Dynamite’s a very hard show to get on. The best wrestlers in the world are on Dynamite. We have a very full locker room, and on the way to the ring, you walk by a lot of people who are on the bench that week. I think you’ll see a lot of that bench get unloaded for Rampage, and that’s very, very exciting. And the two shows will have their own identities surrounding the AEW championships that kind of tether us all together. But other than the logo for Rampage, the details are all still forthcoming, other than I think it will be really great for our locker room.”

There’s plenty more in Cody’s interview with ComicBook and my friend Connor Casey does a great job of asking smart questions, so check that out now.

TJR Thoughts: Frankly I think the workshop thing is ridiculous and unnecessary, but whatever makes him happy is what matters, I guess.

We will have an AEW Double or Nothing preview on TJRWrestling on Saturday morning.