All Elite Wrestling (AEW)’s pretty consistently said they view themselves as an alternative rather than a competitor to WWE. Outside of that, the messaging is less clear. Chris Jericho says they’re at “war”, Jim Ross says they aren’t. Someone says they’re not going to pay attention to what Vince McMahon’s company is doing, someone else says they are and will do the exact opposite.
Two days away from his company’s first pay-per-view (PPV), Saturday’s Double Or Nothing, AEW Executive Vice-President Cody Rhodes was definitely more in “war” mode last night (May 23) during his Starrcast II meet & greet with The Young Bucks in Las Vegas. First, coming off recent news that WWE will move from Sky to BT Sport and All Elite President & CEO Tony Khan confirming their new show will be on ITV 4 (available in approximately 27 million homes, to BT Sport’s 2.19 million), Cody said this:
“I’m just gonna - I’m gonna let you guys know, WWE’s TV deal in the United Kingdom SUCKS compared to ours. And we haven’t had a single show!”
Okay. I’m not a television industry analyst, but based on the publicly available information about reach (who knows who’s getting paid what, of course), it doesn’t seem like a completely off-base assertion.
But then later, while hyping up AEW’s “Smiley” Kylie Rae, Rhodes goes full heel. Comparison’s between Kylie & Bayley are and probably always will be out there. But...
“And she [Kylie Rae]’s not like, wacky inflatable tube men, pretending to be nice...”
It’s all in the game, but, wow - Bayley? John Ledesma did tweet out a possible motive for targeting the Hugster: Cody wasn’t happy about a segment where she presented Goldust with a teddy bear wearing the polka dotted singlet from Dusty Rhodes WWF run shortly after his death in 2016. It’s possible he’s still holding a grudge about that. Seems more likely to me he’s just repping his roster, grabbing some headlines (mission accomplished!), and maybe planting seeds for a heel run.
The American Nightmare, for his part, seems to think folks are overreacting...
Made a crack about the wacky inflatable tubeman. Meant no harm. She’s awesome. https://t.co/YrzzxHuPmu— Cody Rhodes (@CodyRhodes) May 24, 2019
But who knows?
We haven’t had these kind of cross-promotional shots fired since the turn of the century, and as Cody says, AEW hasn’t even put on a show yet. Grab your popcorn and set-up a chair...