Cody Rhodes and Brandi Rhodes are something like the king and queen of AEW (it gets a little tricky with Tony Khan being the pro-wrestling company’s literal president). Mike “The Miz” Mizanin and Maryse certainly consider themselves WWE royalty — so how is the former wrestling couple’s new basic-cable reality show “Rhodes to the Top” going to be distinguishable to the average viewer than the latter’s “Miz & Mrs”?
It was certainly not going to be the wrestling, marital hijinks or new-baby-girl thing that differentiated the two programs. So we asked the Rhodeses. As Cody put it, the answer lies in the TNT program’s “unprecedented” backstage access.
“That peek behind the curtain is going to really set this show apart from other shows in the wrestling space,” he told TheWrap at the Television Critics Association press tour. But it wasn’t very easy for the son of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and younger brother of Dustin “Goldust” Rhodes to peel back that curtain, the one with duct-tape in a star-like pattern that separates a pro wrestler’s entrance ramp from the backstage area and the famed Gorilla Position.
“Me, being an old-school wrester, that was always so taboo and almost scary to really pull the curtain back that far,” Rhodes explained. “But it’s almost insulting the audience’s intelligence not to do it this day and age because we have such a hardcore fan, a super fan that makes up the base of who watches AEW.”
And Cody and Brandi were able to let their fans come backstage with them, because with the exception of the afore-alluded to Khan, whom Cody said “pops” on “Rhodes to the Top” and “beams” through the TV screen, the power couple runs the damn company.
“One of the beautiful things about Bradi being the chief brand officer and myself being the one of the executive vice presidents is we were able to let ‘em see it all,” Rhodes said. “What does it really look like in the back of a wrestling show? And one of the things I’m really proud of is we come off as such punk rock and this challenger (to WWE) brand and this alternative (again, to WWE) — it almost sometimes comes off as comes off as disorganized. But when you see AEW and how it really functions, you’ll see, wow, it’s incredibly organized and streamlined and it’s a family environment and a winning environment.”
“Winning” indeed. Earlier this month, “Dynamite” topped “Monday Night Raw” among viewers aged 18 to 49 for the first time. And for about a month straight now, “AEW: Dynamite” has been the highest-rated cable program on Wednesdays in the key demo.
“Dynamite” previously chased its key competition, WWE’s “NXT,” off of Wednesday nights.
“Rhodes to the Top” debuts Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 10 p.m. on TNT, immediately following “AEW: Dynamite.”