AEW: Cody Rhodes can build these stars in Year Two

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 09: Cody Rhodes of All Elite Wrestling (AEW) attends New York Knicks vs Atlanta Hawks game at State Farm Arena on February 09, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin#SPORT/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 09: Cody Rhodes of All Elite Wrestling (AEW) attends New York Knicks vs Atlanta Hawks game at State Farm Arena on February 09, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin#SPORT/Getty Images) /

Cody Rhodes was recently on the AEW’s Unrestricted Podcast where he commented on building new stars.

This week, Cody Rhodes made an appearance on the second season premiere of AEW’s Unrestricted Podcast. He talked about a variety of topics, but one thing sticks out is his comments about building new stars.

While AEW has younger wrestlers, a lot of the first year has focused on established stars. Chris Jericho was their inaugural AEW World Champion. Jon Moxley currently holds that title. Kenny Omega, Cody and Dustin Rhodes, and The Young Bucks have been featured prominently during Year One.

It’s understandable that a new company would rely on mainstream stars to anchor their company. It helps to bring in fans that tuned out decades ago. However, for fans who watch a variety of wrestling, particularly independent wrestling, want to see newer wrestlers and people they saw prior to AEW starting.

AEW needs to focus on building new stars in Year Two

Year Two should be about creating new stars in all AEW divisions. AEW has a four-year contract with TNT. They’re still competing weekly with NXT, who regularly bring up new signees. If they want to stay fresh and exciting, AEW has to groom the stars of tomorrow now.

Cody has said he will only wrestle five more years. In speaking with Tony Schiavone and Aubrey Edwards, Cody said:

"“For the next 5 years, I want to wrestle at the absolute highest level I can wrestle, be part of the building of new stars, but I’m not going to apologize if my run continues at its rate. I’m going to ride the lightning bolt until I can’t anymore.”"

He specifically mentions Britt Baker, MJF, Eddie Kingston, Sammy Guevara, Ricky Starks, and Anna Jay.

“They were nothing in Year One, they were Year One rookies. They have their own brands and their own identities.”

Cody mentions Red Velvet, although he isn’t sure if she’s “All Elite” or just “agree to appear”.

AEW needs to improve the women’s division

It is important that Cody is pointing out women that they think will be stars. Britt Baker had one of the biggest improvements in the first year and should carry that momentum into next year. Anna Jay has been impressive in her very short wrestling career. Red Velvet has been great on Dark and has had a few matches on Dynamite.

One of the biggest issues in their first year has been the women’s division. Hopefully, this is a sign that they are planning to improve the division. However, until they actually do it, it’s hard to take anything they say seriously.

AEW has identified potential stars

The men that Cody mentioned will all be faces of the company within the next two to five years. MJF has the opportunity to be the biggest heel in AEW. Guevara is someone that can be both. Starks is someone you strap a rocket on. On the media call before Full Gear, Cody called Kingston a “total package”.

Even with the talent he didn’t name, there are others who can be big stars in the future like Big Swole, Jade Cargill, Jungle Boy, and Scorpio Sky. The talent is there, it’s utilizing that talent to tell stories and to position them to grow into stars.

Veterans can help AEW build new stars

Having veteran talent like Matt Hardy, Serena Deeb, and Chris Jericho can help build these stars. We’ve already seen Jericho do it with Hangman Page, MJF, and even Pineapple Pete. Jericho went ten minutes with Jungle Boy, who nearly beat him.

Hardy has been working with both Guevara and Private Party. Utilizing these talents to help develop wrestlers for the next level is paramount to AEW’s future.

Cody is already helping to build one of the next stars: Darby Allin. Allin was 0-3 against “The American Nightmare” before his big win at Full Gear. By beating Cody for the TNT Championship, it has established him as someone to watch.

The championship has had just two others hold it. Putting this particular championship on Allin signals that AEW thinks he will eventually be the AEW World Champion.

Tony Khan's comments about the women's division needs action. dark. Next

Cody has really put over Starks recently. He seems to be very impressed with him. Cody & Allin will be teaming up next week against Starks and Cage. It seems like Cody will be focusing on building up Allin and Starks simultaneously.

Cody choosing to work with future stars signals that in Year Two, he will being keeping his word in regards to the comment he made on the podcast. He has identified who he thinks the future of AEW will be and is taking an active role in helping them reach the next level.

AEW has a very promising Year Two ahead. They can’t lose sight of these plans and rely solely on what has gotten them this far. The future is now.