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Tony Khan explains why he didn’t extend Cody Rhodes’ AEW contract

And other notes from TK’s pre-Revolution media call.

Brandi Rhodes’ Twitter

AEW’s Revolution PPV is coming up this Sun., Mar. 6 from Orlando, and the company’s owner, president, and booker Tony Khan held a media call this afternoon to promote the show.

TK first dealt with a question about his latest HUGE announcement tonight (Mar. 2) on Dynamite, but he didn’t want to give us much more than he has already. We’ll find out after 8pm ET on TBS.

Some of his more interesting answers were to questions about Cody Rhodes. Khan reiterated his gratitude and well wishes for Cody & his wife Brandi, who left AEW last month after helping found the company in 2019. He also went into a little more depth on why he opted not to extend Rhodes’ contract like he did with fellow founders & EVPs The Young Bucks:

“I don’t want to get too deep into it because a lot of this is personal between me and him, but I tried to reach a longer agreement with him beyond what we had for the option years. It sounded like at one point we were going to, honestly, and when we couldn’t settle on it, the last thing I want to do is keep somebody here that isn’t going to want to be here.

“It didn’t look like we were going to get a longer deal done, and I would have loved to have done it and I have a lot of respect for him. But when we didn’t come to terms on that, it made it pretty clear where we were going to end up on things. That being said, I’ve said nothing but respectful stuff about Cody and I’ll continue to.”

It’s our latest confirmation that split had at least as much to do with differing visions of AEW’s future as it did money, if not more so. We’re still waiting on Cody’s next move, but answers like this make it clear anyone holding onto a sliver of hope he might return to AEW should be prepared for disappointment.

Other items TK covered on the call:

  • Asked about improving AEW’s ratings among African-Americans, Khan said he pays attention to those numbers and wants to grow that audience. He talked about his recent signings adding to the company’s diversity, and touted Jade Cargill’s push.
  • Khan said AEW’s partners at WarnerMedia are happy with Dynamite & Rampage’s performance, and he’s working to make sure the company is peaking when their television contract comes up for renewal.
  • He again talked about the importance of the WarnerMedia relationship when asked about a streaming deal. Khan said he couldn’t say much, but it is something they’re looking to do. He sees it as important to growing the audience because of how much younger viewers rely on streaming.
  • Putting the card together for Revolution was a big challenge, because there are a lot of things like the World title clash between Hangman Page & Adam Cole, Jon Moxley vs. Bryan Danielson, and CM Punk & MJF’s dog collar match you wouldn’t want to follow. It’s a good problem to have though, as it’s a sign of deep roster & card.
  • While he heaped praised on Dr. Britt Baker & Thunder Rosa elsewhere on the call, in response to another question he confirmed the Women’s title match will not close the show this weekend. Page & Cole will go on last.
  • He praised both Jeff Hardy and Cesaro, but wouldn’t say whether either was set for an AEW debut. TK did say he would like to speak to Jeff when his WWE non-compete expires in a few days.
  • Asked about adding trios titles, Khan said he’ll be more open to it once Kenny Omega returns.