Cody Rhodes says that even though Texas is open, AEW will not be the first to test those waters.
Just as AEW was settling in for their first full year as a global promotion, a global pandemic halted all future plans for touring and forced the growing promotion to Bunker down in Jacksonville, Florida for the rest of the year.
There was, however, a brief time where the promotion ran events in Norcross, Georgia when Florida was completely shut down during the very early days of the pandemic.
Speaking on a media call prior to the Crossroads episode of AEW Dynamite, Cody Rhodes would say that these tapings in Georgia saved the promotion.
“You look at Prudential Center, the sell-out, and what Blood & Guts was going to be. It's wonderful, but the pandemic happened, not just to wrestling, but it hit the hospitality industry really hard, the entertainment (industry) incredibly hard. It hit everywhere hard. A lot of people have faced hardships. I don't want to whine about what happened to us. Instead, I want to help those who experienced it with us. Wrestling fans weren't sure they were going to get wrestling on a weekly basis. You hear a lot about these fabled Norcross shows when the pandemic first hit and lockdown started. The marathon of 30 something matches in 26 hours. It was absurd we were able to pull it off. Those shows genuinely saved the company. That's why they have such a soft spot. Our job is to provide content for TNT and we have continued to do that and they have been a wonderful partner. We had to pivot like everyone else.”
Now that there are multiple approved vaccines and the world begins to normalize, visions of the future and potential touring shows have begun to form. The state of Texas recently announced that they were 100% open and even did away with their mask mandate, this has led to Dana White stating that he is open to running events in the state of Texas for UFC.
Cody Rhodes addressed this potential shift as well but stated that All Elite Wrestling would not be rushing out to become the first wrestling promotion to run in the state of Texas.
“As vaccines become regular, I think there is going to be a large bounce back for people who want to get their entertainment safely and get back to the way things were. It will only behoove AEW in time because we never gave up and never flinched. Signings were still happening, big signings at that. Progress was still being made in the shows. We didn't just pump out evergreen content and say 'wait, we'll be right back.' We've been here the whole time. This was a good challenge for us and we met it headfirst. I think we set the standard for how wrestling can be done in the pandemic with how Keith Mitchell and Tim Whalburg shot from Daily's Place, Tony's application of the locker room and getting independent wrestlers out of work, some sort of work at AEW, and making them part of our crowd.”
Cody continued, “The testing protocols. It is overkill, but it needed to be and has provided a safe working environment. I'm ready for the next wave and I heard Texas just opened up, but we aren't going to be the first to dip our toes into that water. We're going to do this as safely and properly as we can so wrestling fans feel comfortable.”
You can check out the full media call embedded above.
AEW continues along with Revolution on Sunday, March 7, 2021. Fightful will have live coverage of the event.
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