Double or Nothing, the first major wrestling event conducted by All Elite Wrestling (AEW), was held Saturday night in Las Vegas. At the event, Cody Rhodes, the wrestler and executive vice president of AEW, wrestled his brother, Dustin Rhodes, with Cody winning.
At a press conference after the event, Rhodes was asked by a reporter about the high level of diversity present in the show.
“I’m in an interracial marriage, and I’ve learned a lot that I would have never known,” Rhodes told the press, as posted to Twitter by Andreas Hale. “One time, I told Brandi… I don’t see color. Then she said, ‘well, then you don’t see my experience.’ And I said…you’re right, I can’t just say that. You need to be able to see that experience, and at least understand it.” Rhodes is married to Brandi Rhodes, a wrestler, wrestling executive, and former reality star.
Rhodes went on to refer to the “old territory system,” which preceded the dominance of the WWF/WWE beginning in the 1980s. In those days, Rhodes said, promotions usually only had just one of each minority, and Rhodes vowed the AEW wouldn’t work that way.
Rhodes’ comments earned praise from an unlikely corner: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“This exchange is a promising peek into what growth looks like in our national discourse on race,” the New York Congresswoman said on Twitter on Sunday. “Thanks for sharing your experience in this powerful moment, @CodyRhodes.”
Thank you all for an enchanting evening. Sold out MGM Grand. The very first AEW show!— Cody Rhodes (@CodyRhodes) May 26, 2019
Let’s. Keep. Going. pic.twitter.com/u7jEyaEcpu
It’s not known whether or not Ocasio-Cortez is a longtime fan of professional wrestling, although the comic book that featured her earlier this year contained a wrestling-related arc in which she “fights” her primary opponent Joseph Crowley, per TMZ.
AEW, which will launch a weekly TV show on the Turner networks later this year, is the first new wrestling federation to emerge as a challenger to WWE’s monopoly since World Championship Wrestling (WCW) folded in 2001.
The federation has financial backing from Shahid Khan, the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, as well as his son, Tony, and its top talent consists of Rhodes, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Jon Moxley, who was formerly known as Dean Ambrose. Its programming will air on TNT, the former home of WCW Monday Nitro in the 1990s, beginning at some point later this year.
Cody Rhodes, the son of the late wrestling legend “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, competed in WWE for many years, but left in 2016.