matt cardona cody rhodes
Photo Credit: AEW

Cody Rhodes Recalls Matt Cardona’s ‘Insanely Awkward’ First Meeting With Tony Khan

Cody Rhodes made Matt Cardona part of the Nightmare Family by gifting him a team jacket, which was given to him for a rather funny reason.

The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast welcomed Cody Rhodes to the show. At one point, Cardona and Cody were talking about how they had loosely collaborated on the packaging for one of Cody’s new WWE figures from Mattel. Cardona then said he’s now a cigar guy and Rolex fan because of Cody, then pointed out that he had his Nightmare Family jacket on.

Cody then prefaced the next exchange by noting he’s always scared to tell the story about why Cardona got the jacket in the first place. Myers said he’d never heard Cody’s version, which Cody said needed to stay unedited in the podcast, but he’d try to give Matt the benefit of the doubt.

“At the time, when I was working for AEW, [I] had asked Matt if he wanted to be part of a tag team situation with me. Do something together, and then I think we worked it out, we talked about — what was it? Three or five shows? It wasn’t a long-term commitment, but I wanted to bring him in,” Cody Rhodes explained. “And I wanted my friend — as you heard on the introduction earlier, my [does air quotes] ‘best friend’ — I wanted him to be part of what I was doing. WWE and him had parted ways at that point, so man, what a free agent that’s out there. This is just a win-win.”

It should have been private

Cody praised his friend’s work ethic and said it was a no-brainer to “pull up the Brinks truck” for a talent like Cardona. Cody then shared that he scheduled a meeting between Cardona and AEW owner Tony Khan, but the “best he could do” considering the circumstances during the pandemic, was a meeting at an afterparty. Tony agreed, but Cody noted the setting was not ideal.

“We should have flown to Matt, or we should have done it in an office somewhere. The setting was not great,” Cody explained.

“I thought it was going to be a private meeting,” Cardona noted. “The whole roster [was there].”

“You had every right to think it would be private,” Cody continued. “And it should have been private. But this was—”

“I got so many texts that night, of candids [photos] of Broski and Tony Khan just awkwardly sitting near each other, from all of the people [that were also there],” Brian Myers added.

‘Let me stop you right there’

“It’s so great that you got those because it was so insanely awkward for such a period of time. Because I noticed — you know when Matt gets nervous, the shoulders tense up and his face gets a little more red than it already is? You can feel his energy getting nervous, so I noticed he was a little nervous about this meeting, which, whatever. I’m not judging that by any means, but he hasn’t told me anything that he’s going to say,” Cody said. “Of course, I trust my ‘best friend’ is going to be just fine with this and I don’t have to do anything besides [do the introduction].

“This is how the conversation opened up, and if I could’ve taken a friggin’ back bump on the cement, I would’ve taken a back bump, it was so shocking. Tony starts talking, and before long, Matt goes, ‘Well, let me stop you right there.’ So he’s already got a bullish, fortune favors the bold approach to this,” Cody explained. “He goes, ‘Let me stop you right there. I want you to know that I don’t want to be here to be ‘Cody’s friend. I want you to know that I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a Nightmare Family jacket.’ This is happening in real time to me, and this is the guy that I suggested come in as my friend!”

Cody said, to his credit, Tony Khan was such a nice guy about Cardona’s response. Khan simply nodded and said ‘Oh, ok,” and the meeting was then over. However, they “probably sat there for another hour, and nothing of substance was said because it just tore me to shreds.”

Never say never

Cody then said he likely gave Cardona his Nightmare Family jacket after that, knowing Cardona would never wear it.

“And then here he is now wearing it,” Cody Rhodes quipped.

Cardona took it in stride and joked that he would tell his version of the story on next week’s show.

Co-host Smart Mark Sterling asked where Cody was in proximity to this meeting. Was present, or did he overhear it after stepping away?

“I said hey, we’ve got everyone here together. We don’t want to take much time, I wanted to give you guys a moment to talk. And I’m sitting between them,” he clarified. “I think this is a no-brainer, slam dunk, one of the easiest decisions ever made. Find out, there were strings attached.”

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