If there was any doubt about Brandi Rhodes closing the case on her role in the Nightmare Collective, setting fire to her special outfit should seal that deal.
How’s that for closure? The guest spot from the Rhodes’ family dog, Pharaoh, even made sure no loose ends were left behind by bringing out that stuffed money doll from Brandi’s therapist session.
If you are wondering why I just now noticed a clip from February 9, well, AEW can be tricky to follow at times. They have the official Dynamite television program, they have the internet show with Dark, they have various other videos with new material posted across YouTube, and then they also have talent posting their own stuff. That Brandi clip falls into that last category. It completely flew under my radar.
To cement the notion that Brandi is done with the Nightmare Collective, she firmly confirmed it in an interview with Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Radio. The discussion begins at 12:52 of the following video.
The Nightmare Collective group wasn’t the original idea. It evolved to what it became over a short period of time. It was supposed to be Brandi managing Awesome Kong. Kong had an idea for collecting hair as a trophy. Things happened that didn’t allow the original path to be followed. Kong’s health was on the downswing, and she was not cleared by medical staff. The Nightmare Collective faction was born out of working around that limitation.
The new direction wasn’t hitting its target with the fans or Brandi herself. That’s when Brandi decided to call an audible for her role.
“One of the things we claim at AEW is that we let our artists play their music the way that they want to play it. I’m one of the artists that’s part of the Nightmare Collective, and I started to see that the music was not playing how I liked it. I didn’t feel it. I started to notice that audience members were on the same page as me. I was starting to feel like, ‘Hey, I’m not really understanding this,’ or ‘some things are happening too quickly for people to really keep up with this’ or, ‘this is a nice idea, but we don’t have the time to explain it how people want to explain it.’
So, I think a big misconception is AEW made changes. Not at all. I did. 100%. Because if I’m going to do something, I want to be happy with it. I was not happy with it. I wasn’t happy with me in it. I wasn’t happy with other people, as far as how they were being perceived and portrayed.”
Brandi made the decision to put out the therapist session videos. The goal was to see if fans were interested in watching and learning the backstory. She kept it going as a non-TV project for fans that were enjoying it. With Brandi returning on Dynamite during Cody’s lashing, it made sense to let her role in the Nightmare Collective lie. Burning her clothes gave closure.
Brandi did go on to tease that Mel and Luther still exist in the AEW universe. The Nightmare Collective may not necessarily be dead just because Brandi won’t be in it. Whatever evolves from that will be open and creative.
So, there you go. The Nightmare Collective as a vision from Brandi is over. Personally, I enjoyed the Nightmare Collective vignettes. They were visually interesting and had an aura of mystery. The execution in front of a live audience was where the faction took a nosedive. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing the faction return under new leadership. The mission statement of doing the dirty work others won’t do has potential for badass actions.
The interview also touches on Brandi’s keynote speech at NAPTE, what she wanted to be when growing up, working as a TV anchor, and Cody’s lashing segment.
What do you make of Brandi listening to criticism and calling an audible? What do you make of AEW’s creative process that allowed her to put closure on the story? What lessons should AEW learn from this experience? Will you miss the Nightmare Collective? If it comes back with Mel and Luther, who would you chose to lead it?
Shout out to Cagesider MaZZacare for the fanshot of the interview.