For the past week or so, rumors of issues between AEW founding fathers and Executive Vice-Presidents Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega and Matt & Nick Jackson have been floating around the wrestle web.
Initially, they came with even more grains of salt than even our rumor monger Randall Ortman would even allow. That’s because they started with Jim Cornette’s podcast co-host Brian Last. Not that Last isn’t reliable necessarily, but Corny’s issues with AEW and its principle players are well documented.
So when WrestleTalk shared Last’s comments from a recent The Jim Cornette Experience where said he’d heard stories of angry messages and emails between Cody and Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks - they had our curiosity, but not our attention.
The story didn’t go away... but it also wasn’t quite confirmed. On a Fightful Select podcast, Sean Ross Sapp said he’d heard the rumors, and that they were worth him asking about. But he specified that AEW wrestlers and executives weren’t the people talking about heat between Rhodes and The Elite trio.
Now, WrestlingNews.co passes along that PW Torch’s Wade Keller and Jason Powell of Pro Wrestling Dot Net discussed the subject on this week’s PWTorch.com Tuesday Flagship podcast. Whatever issues exist between Cody, Kenny, and Matt & Nick are still just discussed as rumors. But Powell says the talk of EVP conflict is causing a major name to have second thoughts about signing with AEW.
Keller: There’s gonna a book written someday by some of these EVP’s or someone else closely observing and we’re gonna learn about a lot of dysfunction. We’re gonna learn what a very short honeymoon period there was between certain key people in the company, who aren’t even talking to each other anymore. I think we’re gonna find that out. I know there are people in other wrestling companies saying The Bucks and Cody and Kenny it’s not gonna be long at all before they want to have nothing to do with each other. The honeymoon period is going to be short. It seems like it is. It seems like there’s some disengagement and people going off into their own that is showing up in certain ways...
Powell: If that is not happening, they need to clear up that misconception. I do think it’s happening... there’s a would-be difference maker who could go there that has that opinion that there’s all this in-fighting and this person for that reason is hesitant to go there.
Phew - okay. Bearing in mind this is all essentially gossip, it seems to be gossip that’s getting a lot of attention from different corners of the business.
One thing that’s undeniably true is that fans haven’t seen the four men interact much in a while. Cody stopped being a presence on The Bucks’ Being The Elite YouTube series a long time ago. He was asked about it during an interview with PWInsider last summer, and explained it as a scheduling issue, while admitting there have been professional disagreements between the team behind All In:
“I think in a way and a lot of people will be like ‘No way, he’s lying’, I think in a way it’s actually made us stronger, but we don’t spend near as much time as we used to together. Everyone is so busy, Kenny is working from the time he gets there, Matt, Nick are always up to something in terms of the BTE is such an important brand to them, and it’s an important brand to AEW, um, and then I’m always up to something. We literally have you know, a couple of rooms in the hallway where management is all and they’re basically different offices, and sometimes you think there might be a lot of goofing on in there but it’s not, it’s literally from one segment to the next, from one talent to the next, so I think in a way years from now we’ll look at it and say it made us stronger, you know, I do miss some of the fun we had when we didn’t have as many cares in the world, believe me.
“I’m never on BTE anymore, BTE has become a spotlight for younger guys and girls and I totally get that, but uh, I have nothing but respect and love for Matt, Nick and Kenny and if you ever hear about any in-fighting or any things of that nature, sure, I’m sure there’s arguments and I’m sure there’s differences of opinion but we have never gone into a show where we weren’t all on the same page, very professional, those guys all put the professional in professional wrestler and uh, you know, we don’t spend near as much time together anymore but we have this show with our faces on it and I know we want to make it the best.”
We also haven’t seen them on Dynamite together since before the pandemic. AEW was building toward the Rhodes, Bucks, Omega & Hangman Page version of The Elite vs. Inner Circle for Blood & Guts, but then they were forced to tape weeks worth of shows in Georgia. When things got back to what would become the new normal, Matt Hardy teamed with Page, Omega & the Jacksons against Chris Jericho’s squad in Stadium Stampede, while Cody took part in the TNT title tournament.
That marked the beginning of a booking strategy that we continue to see on Dynamite to this day, where Cody exists in his own corner of AEW continuity. If the impression that creates isn’t the source of the rumors of issues between Tony Khan’s wrestler executives, it certainly fuels the rumors.
Now that talk is allegedly influencing the thinking of high profile free agents. Who could the star Powell’s referring to be? The most obvious names that spring to mind are Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, and Andrade. But that’s just this writer’s speculation.
Let us know what you make of all this, Cagesiders. And keep your ears open for us, will ya?