Speaking with Sam Roberts on Notsam Wrestling, Rhodes was asked about losing his connection with fans at the end of his time in AEW. Rhodes recalled how what he was doing at the end of his AEW run was too “meta.” He explained that he somewhat tried to turn heel by doing the opposite of what fans wanted.
“I think at the end of [my time in] AEW, it’s just a case of, I’ve never underestimated our audience in the sense that that’s why I use a lot of big words in promos. People will say, ‘Oh, he’s talking down to them.’ No, they’re not down. These people, some of them are doctors, some of them are lawyers, some of them are industrial, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean they’re not educated. The wrestling audience is as educated as any audience. But at AEW, I think trying to do what I was doing there at the end was just a bit too meta.
“‘Hey, the thing we want is you to turn heel.’ So for me to do that, to turn heel, is by saying, verbally, out loud, ‘I’m not gonna do it.’ Which is being a heel. But it didn’t work, in a sense. It did because I had a really fun match with Ethan Page where the crowd was just going nuts, and I loved the polarized crowds, the split crowds because obviously I’m part of the Cena era of our industry, so I loved it. But it might have just been over the heads of people.”
Cody Rhodes Describes Why The WWE Audience Connected With Him
Cody Rhodes then discussed why he believed the WWE fans welcomed him in upon his return. He emphasized that they knew what they were seeing was real.
“The reason I think that the WWE audience took to it in a completely different way, as if they dismissed whatever was happening, and this is just my hope and belief, could be wrong, I think it’s because they knew what you were seeing was real. There’s always that gray matter and that suspension of disbelief, but I think they knew, ‘Oh, his return is more than just an individual returning. This is somebody who had been away for six or seven years at the time. This is somebody whose song is almost a rallying cry against WWE, and here it is playing out loud.’
“Maybe at its core, most people can understand, you can be the most talented, you can not be talented at all, but betting on yourself. I think maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s what they saw as, ‘Yeah, he was this guy and helped create a promotion, and yes they did. Yes, he smashed the throne, and all this, but also bet on himself and look where it led us. It led us to a really beautiful segment at a beautiful show.”
Rhodes will face Brock Lesnar at WWE SummerSlam. He is also set to speak on the July 24 episode of WWE RAW,
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