Cody Rhodes has said All Elite Wrestling (AEW) will put fans first. Part and parcel of that approach is to “take care of the boys”, aka the talent.
The new promotion has tripped itself up a bit talking about what that means in terms of compensation and benefits. But in a new interview with SEScoops, Rhodes is much more clear about what a talent-first organization will look like from the creative perspective - the key way many believe fans will be find the AEW product more satisfying. And it seems less likely to stir up controversy:
“There’s plenty of young, fresh independent talent out there that probably can use guidance and things of that nature, but there’s also plenty of folks on board already that I wouldn’t dare try to tell them how to play ‘their own music.’ If I am licensing you and I am paying you, then I already know what you can do. These are your songs and I want you to go out there and play them. Obviously, there’s a side that this is a collaborative effort and we do need to have an end goal. That used to always be a thing in wrestling – what is the finish? I don’t mean the match, I mean, the finish to the angle, the finish to the quarter or the year. What is our goal?
When you have like-minded super-professionals like Matt and Nick, like Hangman Page, when you have likeminded super-professionals, it’s fun to see how everyone works for that common goal. Again, the wrestling I grew up on. We’re talking bullet points, we’re talking an overall knowledge of the business, and hey, let them go out and play. Take a look back at the wrestling you and I love. For the most part, they’re all grown men and women doing what they were hired to do. They’ve cut their teeth, they’ve paid their dues and now they’re going to go out there and play their music. I would very much like a presentation that mirrors that. We don’t need to micro-manage and we certainly don’t need to script a great deal of the product we’re planning.
Those resources [big name producers] are available potentially to us. I have a good relationship with all three of those guys [Brad Davis of SEScoops mentioned Jim Cornette, Bruce Prichard and Eric Biscoff as creative people AEW might reach out to]. But I do know that we want to lean to what we did with All In. And on All In, we did it. Me, Matt and Nick, we did it. The way we did it, it was us. There’s probably going to come a time .. we never want to be so full of pride or so stubborn that we will turn down a good idea. But for now, we’re going to keep it in-house and keep it within the spirit of All In.
This is probably going to be an unpopular thing to say, but I will say it. There won’t be a writer hired for All Elite Wrestling any time soon. Because wrestlers are the writers. We’re the writers. Like I said with guys going out there and playing their own music, believe me – the day comes that I see ‘this is something we can really benefit from’ – absolutely, but I knew 40 writers in WWE and about 4 of them actually did anything. The reason I remember them and value them, they helped produce pre-tapes, they were team players, so right now that’s one thing we’ve gotten a lot of questions about. We’re keeping it very in-house for now.”
Now, that will probably stir up less controversy than “equal pay” and health insurance discussions, but there’s still plenty of discussion points in there.
You won’t hear much argument against knowing the end point of a story at the outset so all involved have a goal in mind. But what happens when the “musicians” have different interpretations of a song? What if one of them improvises a section on the fly? Or AEW’s talent pool is such that they’re using more performers who aren’t “like-minded super-professionals”?
It all sounds good, but the devil’s in the details. We’ll see how those details come together as we get closer to Double or Nothing, and whatever else is next for All Elite.