Cody Rhodes feels it'd be an easy heel turn if he challenged for AEW World Title

Originally published at Cody Rhodes: It’s the easiest heel turn in wrestling if I break my word

One month into All Elite Wrestling’s television run, the stipulation was put in place for the 2019 Full Gear pay-per-view that if Cody Rhodes unsuccessfully challenged Chris Jericho for the AEW World Championship, he would never be able to challenge for the title again. Since losing that match, Cody has yet to challenge for the belt but he is the company’s first-ever TNT Champion and two-time holder of the title.

Rhodes guest appeared on WFAN Sports Radio to discuss his forthcoming match on Dynamite that will see himself and Red Velvet take on Shaquille O’Neal and Jade Cargill. Rhodes is also competing in the Face Of The Revolution Ladder match for a shot at the TNT Title. On the topic of challenging for the AEW World Title again, Rhodes said he’s sticking to his word but the decision is ultimately Tony Khan’s.

I’m going to stick to my word on the AEW Title, but ultimately, that decision will rest on AEW owner Tony Khan. It’s the easiest heel turn in wrestling if I was to break it. I love that we’re disciplined and conservative, and presenting wrestling backwards.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, AEW was supposed to head to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey for their Blood & Guts show. Rhodes feels that post-pandemic, the fist place AEW will stop through could be the Prudential Center.

I think we had sold 14,000 tickets – that show is the No. 1 on our radar, no disrespect to any other market, but we had big plans. I have a feeling that when the fog of the pandemic is lifted, the first place we’re going to is Prudential Center. If you guys had tickets, you guys will have tickets, and if you can’t get them, please reach out, it’s on me!

Rhodes is going to be joined by Scorpio Sky, Penta El Zero M, Lance Archer and two more opponents to be determined in the Face Of The Revolution Ladder match on March 7th.

I feel like it would be the wrong kind of heat. One thing AEW has over WWE is that so far they stick to their stips. They start breaking them, their stipulation matches will begin to mean nothing just like in WWE.

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I think this is a stipulation that has to be broken eventually. Its probably going to be 2 years+ until it happens and I think they stuck it out more than enough time.

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I’d just prefer they stick to stips from the start, but maybe thats just me. I realize not everyone cares about stips.

A true heel would find a way around the stipulation. Perhaps if the champion challenged him(?)

I’ll say what I always say when hard limits are expected on anything in wrestling - if there’s a good story you can tell, then just do it. Nothing in wrestling is meant to be forever.

That said, I already find Cody’s entire presentation to be pretty heelish, so I don’t think they even need to go as far as breaking a stip to get him to the dark side.

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I think the champion wanting to defend the title against Cody after beating all other viable challengers is the route they’ll eventually take.

It was a stupid stipulation to put in place in the first place. No one was ever going to buy into it. It was pointless.

It’s only stupid if they break it, if they actually stuck to it the next time a stip is added to a match it will matter that much more and even increase their credibility.

The credibility of your stipulations will not disappear instantly because you break one, but that first time you do it, I do think credibility falls a bit. Right now due to strong consistent booking AEW has a ton of credibility when it comes to stuff like this, and some can dismiss this all they want, but every time they break it (if they do, they haven’t done anything wrong yet) their cred will drop, and eventually they will be in the same boat as WWE.

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Having Cody Rhodes involved in the title picture is surely worth more than needing to put a stipulation in place and putting handcuffs on how you book one of your main eventers just to build credibility over stipulations.

Avoid booking yourself into a corner and there won’t be a need to break any stipulations. Avoid the problem all together.

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In AEW though, does Cody NEED to be in the title picture? With all the up and coming stars they have, I think saying they are “handcuffed” is a bit much.

I meant they put handcuffs on how they book Cody. And I don’t really see these up and comers paying off as main eventers in the near future. You still need your more established guys to hold things down until the young talent are ready to step up.

I’ve said this elsewhere before and probably didn’t explain it great and didn’t go over well, but, going to try again.

These things we talk about - long reigns, flipping face/heel, heeding stipulations, match lengths, sports presentations, ages of wrestlers, tag ropes, etc…these are all things we bring up because we historically or generically believe that there is a defined fact or fiction to a company making a decision and it having an effect on our entertainment.

At the end of the day, all I care about is that they entertained me and keep entertaining me and not how they got there. I don’t live in fear of how they might defy construct to do so and I don’t worry in advance how that might upset anything else they want to do down the line.

Faith brings me to the table with a company, but if I already have it, use that full tank up however you like. I’d hate to find out they had some killer program idea and they didn’t use it because the good idea they had 2 years ago is locking them out of it. Wrestling is a never-ending story that is never going to come to a full conclusion, so it can be constructed as a flow chart rather than a straight line.

So I’m not saying tomorrow we wake up and they can just say it’s revoked and Cody is free to challenge. But these stipulations should be filtered openings to new stories, not permanent walls. Rules are used to maintain order, but aren’t exclusive to its existence.

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Who genuinely thinks Cody will never be AEW Champion though? I think one of the main motivations for this stipulation was to prevent (more) accusations of nepotism. However, inevitably down the line he’ll win back his right to a title challenge. Are there really a lot of people aware of the stipulation in the first place who aren’t also under the assumption that it will inevitably be overturned?

If you’re that much of a wrestling fan to be judging a company for breaking stipulations in a worked sport, wouldn’t you also be conscious of the fact that it will inevitably be broken?

If they wait long enough and there’s a legitimate storyline reason, i don’t see the problem. That seems like half the point of the stipulation in the first place.

The only good and/or funny thing Hulk Hogan has ever said:

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Some people are way overthinking this. We watch movies where half the population of the universe gets reanimated, but a wrestling show with a heel subverting a stipulation is far fetched? Just have it make sense, and be entertaining.

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Hey, if you dont see a problem, thats awesome for you. To each their own. At the end of the day its all subjective and we all have the right to our opinions. Personally, I prefer that a company stick to their stips, there is a reason why when I watch a WWE match and there is a stip, I dont give a shit. I dont feel that way in AEW, I want to keep that way. if you dont care, cool.

That’s an entirely different conversation, and I dont want to derail the thread.

I think it is a matter of when they break it rather than if they break it. If I’m say 2 or 3 years they break it as part of a heel turn I feel like that is a pretty damn good job honoring the stipulation. If they break it after 6 months then the stipulations start to feel meaningless. The other way the could break it is essentially have a long running heel champion that beats everyone else and people want to see Cody face him and essentially beg for him to be able to fight for the title.

While my preference is that they don’t break it, I do think there is a lot to what you are saying. If its done years later, and done with a great story, I wouldn’t be as bothered by it.

With that said, if they plan on breaking this stip, I hope they are extra careful with other future stips so its a one time thing.

I mean yeah you shouldn’t use the end of career/no title matches thing too often in any case. If you always stick to it and use it a lot it telegraphs match outcomes, I felt it did with the Bucks Tag Title match.