Arn Anderson and the Rhodes family have a history inside of all forms of a steel cage but there is perhaps no more significant and paradigm-shifting moment than on Sunday, September 29, 1985, in Atlanta Georgia, when Ric Flair, Ole, and Arn Anderson broke the leg of Dusty Rhodes in a moment that would act as the genesis of The Four Horsemen and many years of ensuing chaos. Now, Arn Anderson heads back to Atlanta 34 years later to act as the head coach of Dusty's youngest son, Cody, as he heads into battle in the inaugural Steel Cage Match in All Elite Wrestling's history when "The American Nightmare" goes one-on-one with the hired gun of Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Wardlow.
Speaking with AEW in a digital-exclusive called the Coach’s Corner, Arn Anderson opened up the playbook and let the fans know what the key elements are for both Cody and Wardlow as they head inside the solid steel prison, a first for Wardlow on a global scale.
“Well, if you'd asked me three weeks [ago] about Wardlow and strategy, I would have said, I don't know,” Arn began. “He's untested. No one knows what he's capable of. I know he's strong. I know he looks good in a suit. I know he could pick a guy up, chuck him across the ring in a suit. He's not gonna be in a suit in Atlanta. He's going to be in a cage and he's going to have to decide, is he going to attack? Is he gonna try to have Cody in trouble? All those decisions that he's gonna have to make are going to have to be snap judgment calls because he's locked in. Escaping from that cage will not get you a victory. You have to have a pin fall or submission which is going to change your strategy. Has he been a cage match before? I don't think so. Cody's been in plenty of them. Cody has felt that steel bite him in the face, bite him in the back, bite him in the hips, bite him in the side. He has felt getting run into that cage many more times. And Wardlow will ever in his career. So experience, I'd put Cody Rhodes with a check. Wardlow, if he becomes an animal, I would put a check by his name. Time will tell. He's untested. Bet your ass we're going to test him.”
Never one to shy away from his past, Arn Anderson would also address what happened to Dusty Rhodes all those years ago at the hands of not only himself but his family. Anderson would say that those actions fit the times, but it is no longer 1985, it is 2020, and Arn would promise he is solely devoted to Cody Rhodes and making sure that everything goes right in Atlanta, Georgia this time around.
“I'm not going to get mad tonight, but since day one, when Cody asked me to become part of his team, he didn't say, 'I'm going to give you a job.' I don't want a job. I don't need a job. What he did was he said, 'Arn, come be part of this revolution, that AEW is going to be the next 10, 20, 30 years in this industry. Be a part of that. I want you to be a part of it,’” Anderson recalled. “I'm not going to lie and say what happened to Dusty Rhodes 30 years ago in a cage in Atlanta, Georgia, wasn't a bad thing. It was. But it fit the times. Cody. You look at my eyes. This used to be the fire that came from a tortured soul. All these eyes are going to tell you now is what my mouth is going to tell you. I'll be out there to make sure nothing happens that shouldn't happen. You have my word on it man to man.”
Fightful will have live coverage of the loaded AEW Dynamite episode presented from Atlanta on February 19.
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