Kenny Omega discusses what Cody Rhodes added to AEW, early criticism about 'too many cooks in the kitchen'

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/02/18/kenny-omega-discusses-what-cody-rhodes-added-to-aew-early-criticism-about-too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen/

Omega looks back at the early days of All Elite Wrestling. 

All Elite Wrestling is currently in its fourth year of operation. It started off with Tony Khan at the helm and Executive Vice Presidents Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson and Cody Rhodes. 

A look back at the formation of AEW was dove into by Kenny Omega while he was on the Swerve City Podcast. Omega touched on what Cody added to the company while they were sorting everything out, such as having a contact to add to their medical and production teams. 

He stated that Cody knew what the company needed. Omega then went on to state that it would not hurt to have an extra trainer or two in the company present day. 

There’s only three (EVPs in AEW now) and I won’t say the fourth EVP. We can’t mention his name. I’m just kidding, it’s Cody (Rhodes)… I’ll assume that this is just from knowledge of being in the business all his life. He was born into the business and he understood a lot from his father. He knew what we needed, he knew what we needed to line up and the things that I couldn’t get so it’s like, okay, I’ve got good contacts for any unsigned Japanese talents that you guys need. I can be that guy and The Bucks would be like, ‘Okay. We know some great guys from SoCal, we know some great indie guys that we can get’ and Cody’s like, ‘Okay, cool. Well how about this guy, this guy, this guy.’ We would have the list of talent or whatever and we would put them together but then Cody’s like, ‘Okay, what are we gonna do about medical staffing?’ And it’s like, oh, that’s right! We need that too. We should have doctors so he’s like, ‘Okay, I’ve got a contact for Doc. Sampson’ and I was like, ‘Okay. That’s probably not gonna be enough’ so I had a dude down here, you know, Bryce (Ready). So Bryce, and I thought, ‘Hey man, I know that you’ve taken care of some of our guys and you really love wrestling and the business. Would you maybe be able to take a full-time opportunity doing that?’ So we were able to get trainers through that and it’s like, okay, what else do we need? Oh boy, we need producers for TV. We need guys that actually have experience doing wrestling production on TV so again, that was a Cody thing where, ‘Okay, yep. I can get in touch with this guy, this guy, this guy’ and then The Bucks maybe knew a guy and I would know a guy but it was like, at the beginning, just to build that small little bit of infrastructure which we didn’t have, when you start checking names off the box. Like, okay, we got this, this, this, this, this. It’s like, you think you’re there but you’re not because we were so understaffed in the beginning and even to this day, I could probably, confidently, hell, we could use an extra trainer or two, you know what I mean? The tables are always busy. But we could use an extra trainer or two. We could have a couple other gophers or whatever in case that we’re running low on certain materials and things.

He went on to address some of the early criticisms of AEW’s television run and brought up the phrase, ‘Too many cooks in the kitchen’ in reference to himself, Cody, The Young Bucks and Tony all laying out ideas.

Year one of our company, a lot of people would say maybe there’s too many cooks in the kitchen where we had Tony’s ideas for stories, we have The Bucks, we would have mine and then we’d have Cody’s ideas and if I had to work with Cody (Rhodes) on a story, the way that we’d go about it might be completely different and it might not work. But I think it’s because we had that; we had that variety that it brought interest to the company. I think too much of the same-same is only gonna get the same-same amount of people showing up, you know what I mean? You need to have that variety, so I think it’s very important.

Looking back at the Double or Nothing ticket on-sale party in February 2019, Omega spoke about the roster of talents they had on-tap at the time. He added that he wishes they could get the STRONGHEARTS (CIMA, T-Hawk & El Lindaman) back in AEW. 

That led to some conversation about television ratings and Omega is confident there is more than one million people out there who are interested in what they do.

When I went to that one press conference (Double or Nothing ticket on-sale party), I had signed right before I went out to talk on the microphone. I was like, yeah, this really seems like it’s gonna be a thing… We had a short crew, but we had reliable names. We had myself, Bucks, (Chris) Jericho, we knew Mox was coming down, Cody (Rhodes) was there, Lucha Brothers, talents from all around — and of course, yeah, I was working hard to sign some of the Joshi. We had, at the time, STRONGHEARTS so, CIMA, T-Hawk, (El) Lindaman, just great guys. I wish we could have them back by the way but great guys. So we had a very international roster of great people I think were ready to take the next step and be on TV and to show what made them special. So, I don’t know, being in that press conference and seeing things kind of come together and just feeling the organic excitement for the people that were there, I sort of felt like, okay, this is gonna be alright. But the thing is, I mean, you can have a crowd of a thousand people or whatever it was at that press conference. You have to hit around — at the time, they were asking for five, 600,000 a week and you know, in some way, we’ve been in front of live audiences, right? Like imagine being in front of 500,000 people live. It’s a lot of people. It’s like a sea of humanity and it’s like, you need to attract at least that many people to make sure you preserve that TV so that was maybe my only fear was did that many people know about us? Or care about us? Or will they care about us? So luckily for us, I guess we pretty much doubled the expectations. We kind of float around, like, 900, one million. But the goal I guess now is just never to feel satisfied with that. I think there’s still more people that can appreciate what we can do as performers, as athletes, as professionals. There’s gotta be more than a million people out there that would like what we do. 

On the latest edition of Rampage, The Elite successfully defended the World Trios Titles but were confronted by House of Black’s Malakai Black and Brody King post-match. 

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit the Swerve City Podcast with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.