Cody, Brandi Rhodes Talk AEW's Development, Wrestling Mt. Rushmore, More in B/R AMA

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 20, 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 15: Cody Rhodes and Brandi Rhodes attend the WarnerMedia 2019 Upfront at One Penn Plaza on May 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Cody Rhodes and his wife, Brandi Rhodes, have become a powerhouse couple in the world of wrestling.

Both have had key roles in the formation of AEW, serving as superstars in the ring and executives behind the scenes. Cody is an executive vice president, while Brandi serves as the chief brand officer. 

The couple have also expanded their television with the creation of Rhodes to the Top, a reality show on TNT. On Monday, Cody and Brandi joined the Bleacher Report app to speak to fans during an AMA session. 

The following is the full transcript from the AMA session.

@just_in_time What inspired you guys to create the show? Is it something you wanted to do for a long time now ?

C: The inspiration is the expansion of the AEW footprint. Dynamite was so good. We moved from Wednesday - Friday nights. With that in mind, the idea that we could put mics on members of management, turn the cameras on and get this unprecedented look behind the scenes in the craziness, most tumultuous season just felt like it just happened. I’m proud we were able to keep it authentic, it’s not a framed reality show and just a reality show. That excites me.

B: What happens on the show falls on a very interesting period of time. When we were filming everyone was scared that we’d wrap before the baby was born. Then the baby came early which is why we shifted courses. You get pregnant Brandi at the end of her road and then this beautiful baby is here and there’s this adjustment. That’s where we end off and whatever’s next is up to TNT. I’m hopeful we’re able to see what’s next, it’s really a fun and amazing time. I’ve changed a lot in a good way. This is a process everyone goes through and I want to share that with people.


C @fitchkarma6 What inspired you to originally be a part of AEW?

C: The origin story of AEW is almost 9/10 incorrect. But the truth is it’s all of the origin stories. Chris Jericho’s origin stories, Matt & Nick Jackson, most importantly Tony Khan, and me and Brandy. Those origin stories all have to come together. Tony Khan wanted to do this since he was a little kid. He had the mind to put this together and do what other wrestlers couldn’t and get to the WarnerMedia office to sell it. I think the turning point was after we did ‘All In’ and we really wanted to do a second show. That second show in conversation grew to a weekly running deal. The thought that Matt, Nick, Kenny and myself are Vice Presidents and have a say in storylines was just harmonious. It will never happen again in wrestling for every star to align and to exist in a way it does now. If we were to walk away from it now, I can hold my hands up and say I’m so happy this is a part of my legacy - the creation of this place. This is no longer a challenger brand. It’s moving and grooving at a really high pace and all the data is there to support what’s happening in the business. AEW is gonna be around for a very long time. That’s amazing. I’m very excited. It took someone like Tony to let us play the music like we know to play it.


C @CodyRhodes Did you foresee AEW coming together this fast? 

C: I’ve always had a more realistic outlook on the growth...I have a bit more conservative outlook on how we could grow, how we could move ourselves out of the black. Very quickly early on I realized we created this wonderful company that people want to come to. It’s a matter of time until free agents come because it’s a friendly environment. Free agents want to come. There’s no writers. It’s a book show, not a written show. Sometimes it’s home runs and sometimes it’s misses. That’s what makes it real. I should’ve seen it was a matter of time but I've always been conservative. I’m lucky to live in the timeline it did.


C or B: @JbMack_920 Was it always going to be called AEW? Were there other names that were considered?

C: There were other names kicked around. We considered ‘All Elite’ and Tony had the foresight and said ‘it’s a wrestling company, we need initials’... Dynamite is what Tony wanted and he saw it through.

B: It was always AEW, it was whether or not it was going to be Dynamite


Either @DaBlackDrPhil How rewarding is it to see all the hard work you guys put behind the scenes to get the company to where it is now?

C: As a wrestler it’s so hard sometimes to say ‘he this is great, these are the good times’ because we’re always treating every glass of water like it’s your last. I’m on technically four shows in the WarnerMedia family… It’s hard as a wrestler to sit back but if there’s ever a time it’s now.


B @realalexlarsen Who is the funniest person behind the scenes at AEW? 

A lot of people think they’re funny so i’ll give you that. QT Marshall, Charlie Ramone, Cody, me...i’m sarcastic though so my humor doesn’t mix with a lot of people...Sammy thinks he’s pretty funny. The funniest person behind the scenes is Dean Malenko but he has my kind of humor -- being sarcastic.


C @v1p3r When did you decide to call yourself the American Nightmare?

I spent my WWE career trying to do everything different from Dusty but then at a certain point you’re allowed a little grace. When I left in 2015 and went to New Japan it was Tiger Hattori and Gato that liked the idea because it was easy for the fans to follow because it was like ‘The American Dream.’ I was able to take it from there and get ownership of it and bring it everywhere I go. Now I’m surprised because I’ve never used it before. Dusty was rags to riches and I was riches to riches, bratty little kid so the American Nightmare fits me well.


Both @253cod How young were you when you first realized you wanted to wrestle?

C: It was my earliest memories at 3 or 4 years old so there’s never not been a time.

B: I was older. I first got int he Wrestling ring at 27. I was modeling at the time through agencies. I was a figure skater for 14 years and fit the bill. I tried out and fell in love with it.


C @yourtoosoft What is your great wrestling memory of your dad The Great American Dream?

There’s so many so it’s fluid in my mind. Something I was most proud of was my dad was really adamant that he believed in me genuinely despite signs that I wasn’t. My first WM was my first singles match in front of 80K people and he took a picture of me. It was the first time the tide really turned where I wasn’t Dusty’s son but Cody’s dad and those moments were really exceptional. As proud of my dad as I was... 


C @cwb17630 What’s the best advice you can give to someone who aspires to wrestle to take themselves to the next level?

I was told this in the ring one time and I shared it with Red Velvet the night we wrestled Shaq and Jade...don’t let anyone convince you you’re not the biggest star in the ring and I refused to believe otherwise. That really meant something.


B @Neckbeardsports What is some advice you’d give to anyone aspiring to make their own business?

There’s going to be a lot of people that tell you all the reasons why not -- how much it'll cost, the planning, etc. The list is endless, but if you’re truly passionate about something you just have to start and keep going. It may not go exactly the way you want and you may take some detours but just stay the course. 

Throughout much of my life, there have been more people who told me I can’t do something than I people who told me I can. Use that as fuel. 

The best feeling in the world is when someone has told you you can’t do something matter of factly, and then when you do, It feels so great. 

Me being right is everything to me.


C @Biggie2kFreak What has been the biggest downfall or challenge in your career and how did you manage?

 The music has broken my heart far more than it has cheered me up so far. I started a bit smaller and today in our industry I'm like a giant. Currently, I'm in a position where they think I book the show and book myself which has created tension for some fans. I’m of the belief that if you pay your money you can cheer, boo, etc. To go from a warm reception to an adversarial reception...i’ll retire before I become a heel. I’m not going to make decisions that are bad for our youth to see. That’s the challenge, how do I maintain where I’m at when the crowd wants to get a different flavor.


B @Ryansportss What is the toughest part of your job? 

People seem to assume because I have an executive role that it’s all encompassing of everything having to do with women and people of color. That’s just not the reality of corporate america. Think of the person who has my job at Coca Cola, you wouldn’t say they’re responsible for all women and people of color because they’re a woman and person of color. It’s something I’ve gotten very used to and completely turn on. I do what I do need to do and that’s my job. Those are areas I’m passionate about, but you have to stay realistic. You have to be professional and be measured about how you fight for some of your passions as well as do your job. As a professional sometimes you eat crow and you do what you know is right.


Rapid Fire: 

@historian Waffle House or IHop? 

Waffle House (both)


@yifi11 Where was your first date? 

C: Waffle House


@Notorious87 Favorite sport outside of wrestling? 

C: College Football (Dawgs fan)

B: Figure Skating


@tallest Better character: American Dream or Gold dust? 

C: Golddust

B: American Dream


BOTH @CmBombay6699 Who are on your Mt. Rushmores of wrestlers? 

C: Vince, Dusty, The Rock, Tony

B: Sherri Martel, Ms. Elizabeth, Mae Young, Madusa