AEW would not exist if it wasn’t for Cody Rhodes

All Elite Wrestling
All Elite Wrestling /

“I’ll take that bet, Dave.”

Nearly five years ago Cody Rhodes sent that response to Dave Meltzer on Twitter. It was a response that is seen as the catalyst for a series of steps that led to the creation of All Elite Wrestling. It’s a moment that will be the foundation of think pieces and books surrounding AEW’s push into the professional wrestling industry. It’s also the jumping-off point in the discussion that without Cody Rhodes, AEW would not exist.

On May 16, 2017, a Twitter user under the name WWE Guy asked Dave Meltzer a simple question.

“Do you think Ring of Honor can ever sell out an arena with 10k+ fans? Something like the Madison Square Garden?”

Meltzer responded with a dismissive “Not any time soon.”

In the hectic space of social media, this tweet could have been missed. Imagine if the ever-shifting algorithm caused Rhodes’s phone to refresh the tweets and it was missed like so many users experience every moment. But that didn’t happen. Rhodes saw the tweet and took it upon himself to face the challenge that Meltzer, considered a top mind in journalism for professional wrestling and combat sports, put down.

“I gave them their biggest buy rate,” Rhodes responded. “Put The Bucks and I on the card and three months to promote.”

The often-recounted history snowballed from there. All-In occurred on September 1, 2018, and featured many of the names within today’s AEW roster and others headlining other promotions in wrestling. All of that came to fruition because Rhodes had the gall to take Meltzer up on that challenge and the initial vision to get the ball rolling. Did he do it all on his own? Of course not, as other individuals contributed as the idea grew. But should Rhodes be credited with the first steps? The answer is yes.

Since leaving the WWE in 2016 it seems that Rhodes has been on a personal quest to prove that he’s a bigger draw than booked within the company. Without a doubt, he’s been successful in that endeavor. The measure of that accolade isn’t wrapped up solely in titles, as he’s picked up plenty along the way, but more about what Rhodes has done to elevate the business of professional wrestling. Picking up the ROH World Championship, IWGP United States Championship, NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, and others are excellent career accolades, but at the end of the day Rhodes’s gumption kicked off what may be looked at as a “saving” moment for professional wrestling within the mainstream.

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Revisionist history is going to take off if Rhodes returns to the WWE. Some WWE fans will hail him as a prodigal son, while some AEW fans will be dismissive of his contributions to AEW. Ignore the noise coming from both ends, but do not ignore the fact that AEW would not exist if it weren’t for Cody Rhodes.