The Nightmare Collective in AEW has undergone changes in recent weeks with Awesome Kong being kicked out of the group and Brandi Rhodes burning her clothes. The group got off to a rough start with fans criticizing the angle and storytelling, with most of the blame placed on Brandi for wanting to go through with the angle.
Brandi Rhodes set the record straight on Wrestling Observer Live, revealing the original plan for her and Kong and why things changed the way they did.
"The Nightmare Collective became The Nightmare Collective. There was no original 'hey, let's do a Nightmare Collective' where we have all of these people and doing all of these things," she said. "It was never that. The original thing was supposed to be myself managing Awesome Kong. She came to me with the idea to change her look and vibe but still being an assassin of sorts, a threat to the women's division. She had the idea to cut hair as a trophy, to keep. And Awesome Kong is not a talker, so naturally, a good fit was for me to be the one to talk. Unfortunately, you can layout a huge trajectory of what you want to do and sometimes things happen that don't allow that to happen. One of the things I noticed was Awesome Kong was not physically feeling great. I would never want to ask somebody to work in a capacity where I know they're going to hurt themselves."
Mel and Japanese Deathmatch Legend Luther were added to the duo of Brandi and Kong, which only opened them up to more criticism for how both members were introduced. As the story progressed, Brandi started to realize that things weren't going the way she envisioned.
"What then happened was a greater group discussion of 'what do we do here?' And the Nightmare Collective came to be. There were great ideas coming from various directions from various people I respect, wanting to help. One of the things we claim at AEW is we let the artists play their music the way they want to play it. I'm one of the artists that's part of the Nightmare Collective and I started to see the music was not playing how I liked it. I didn't feel it. Audience members were on the same page as me. I was starting to feel like, 'I'm not really understanding this' or things were happening too quickly. A big misconception is AEW made changes. Not at all. I did. 100%. If I'm going to do something, I want to be happy with it and I was not happy with it. I wasn't happy with me in it, how other people were being perceived and portrayed. I made the decision to do the therapist series. People loved it and it was cool and that was just me. I didn't want to take TV time, I wanted to do it on my own," she said.
Brandi released a series of videos on YouTube and social media where she visited a therapist to help give some backstory to the Nightmare Collective and her persona. The latest episode saw her burn ties with the group.
She went on to say that just because Kong had been kicked out of the group and she had returned to serious Brandi by coming to the ring to check on her husband Cody as he received his ten lashes, doesn't mean it's the end of Mel and Luther.
Brandi continued, making note of a negatively received segment where Brandi's commentary and interference from the Nightmare Collective overshadowed the AEW Women's Title bout between Kris Statlander and Riho.
"I personally didn't see myself as an asset to that situation. A lot of times I see people say, 'we did all this because Brandi wanted to.' Absolute opposite. People were encouraging me to continue on and I didn't feel it and I didn't want to. When too many cooks get in the pot on something, you're gonna see that. I think fans started to see that in the end. There were people who were passionate about this and tried to keep it going, like the one time I was on commentary, that part wasn't for me. That was not me. That was creative ideas coming from another direction. A lot of times it's easy when my name is attached to something to call it mine. A lot of people know that's not true," she said.
The last thing the Nightmare Collective did was cut the hair of Sean Ross Sapp in a good deed for charity. You can see the segment, which aired on social media, by clicking here.
Sapp was able to provide more details of the split because of the experience.
They ran the breakup angle a couple hours after we filmed the skit. I'd thrown some other cities out there that were a little easier to travel to, but it was pretty firmly Cleveland on the 29th.— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) February 11, 2020
Kong will be taking time off to film the next season of "GLOW" while it is unknown what is next for Brandi, Mel, or Luther.
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