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By Mike Johnson on 2020-07-21 23:24:00

Wednesday night on AEW Dynamite, TNT Champion Cody will take part in the latest Open Challenge in defense of the title, facing a talent advertised over the last 24 hours as a top independent wrestler.  On Tuesday 7/21, Cody sat down with to discuss the TNT title, all things AEW, the family legacy he continues and competes against, Sonny Kiss, building All Elite Wrestling and more.  Thanks to Billy Krotchsen for the following transcription.

Mike Johnson: Hey everybody, it's Mike Johnson back in the audio section of It is Tuesday, July 21st, 2020. As AEW sifts through the rubble of Fight for the Fallen and Fyter Fest, they return to television tomorrow night with the newest edition of Dynamite live on TNT, and it is quite appropriate we are joined at this time by the reigning and defending TNT Champion - Cody, who will continue on with his open challenge this Wednesday. Sir, it's been a very busy, obviously...the last 2 years of your life and beyond have been extremely busy, but specifically the last couple of weeks with Fyter Fest and Fight for the Fallen and the ongoing saga of the TNT Championship; You've been extremely busy, so thanks for sitting down and talking to us. How are you doing today?

Cody: I'm doing great. I like busy, and it's only, just looking at my schedule, how it looks kinda going into 2021, it only gets busier for me. So that's always what I wanted, I feel like once it's two-degree got it handed to me here I want to keep going and run with it. So, I'm doing well.

Mike Johnson: So, you are the inaugural TNT Champion.  I had Tony Khan on last week and we talked a little bit about what it's been like building, starting to build the legacy for that championship and he talked a little bit about picking different challengers, that's there's some that he comes up with, and there's some that you suggest. When you've got something that you can take and fully from conceptualization to execution and you are in pretty much complete control of it, there's a lot of positives and a lot of negatives, cause you have your vision, but you don't always know when you execute the vision how it's going to be received by the people. I think with the TNT Title, obviously it's gone pretty well so far, but what has it been like for you kinda figuring out the proper path for determining how the TNT Championship should be presented, coming up with unique challengers, you've got an open challenge this week, we've seen like in the past Ricky Starks has come in and earned himself a job, like talk just, looking at things from the perspective of the TNT Title, what has it been like for you bringing this, getting the airplane in the air and kinda letting it take off and pilot it?

Cody: Well I think AEW has always presented, especially to experienced talent, even myself in management, just looking at myself from a wrestler the way I present it to other experienced talent who have a lot of equity is that you'll play your music how you want to, there is no writing core, there's much less scripting going involved.  With that in mind the TNT Championship has been, kinda been open mic, it's an open challenge but it's been an open mic for me pretty much every week as far as how I want my wrestling career, what I want to do next. It's very important to me, very...I think some people might think it's silly but I'm a wrestler so it's not silly to me but it is important to me that I grow as a wrestler, I'm only going to do this for 5 more years and the next 5 more years I want to really carve out that bell to bell aspect of what I was able to do, cause I've always been very confident in myself in the ring, and I try not to be overly confident, but we're dealing with different athletes now and we're drawing from all walks of life in terms of the wrestling world...that's what I always loved about The Elite. There's all these rumors about the Elite and our relationship and things of that nature but one thing that's for sure is why it has worked is because Matt and Nick have this incredible, high paced meta-like wrestling approach to tag team action that's really just remarkable to watch, and then Kenny maintains some of his DDT elements and his Puro-roots and the long form New Japan style match, and what I brought to the table was classic Jim Crockett Promotions old Southern wrestling, old Southern drama, but what I think is special about the group is I think everyone in the group is capable of doing what the other could do in a way, and that's what I wanted the TNT open challenge to represent - my ability to hustle bell to bell,  because it's what I train for every day, it's very much a professional sport to me and I train like a professional athlete, so I'm going to want to be the best at it. And per recruitment of or I guess scouting of opponents pretty much been half and half, when I think of it in my mind, Tony has some people he wants to see get in the mix, and then there's some people I've wanted to see get in the mix, and never really is it a hard sell to one another on these things. Arn Anderson's actually been involved, his involvement goes beyond the on-screen coaching role, it really is special to have him around and Jerry Lynn secretly is the, kinda been attached to me by the hip for the last few weeks and my gosh, I'm so glad to have him because it feels like 2007-8 all of a sudden again, it feels like I know nothing, and he doesn't do it in a mean spirited way but it's never about 'oh what you did well or what worked' it's about 'well you could have done this, you could have done this', and really special...he's found his identity as a coach, but this has gone very well, and I'm a large critic, very well in terms of viewership and ratings, very well in terms of critical reception to the matches  but the trick is it's gotta keep getting better and I think there's an element of unpredictable to the open challenge that I want to kind of turn the volume up on.

Mike: With the level of unpredictability, is that something you want to maintain for Dynamite or do you feel like we've got a certain shelf life for this and then it'll kinda settle into a traditional championship where we build to different feuds and storylines?

Cody: You know, that's a great question. I know so many people were trained, you know it shocked me the amount of people that thought like John, who's wonderful, cause I was part of his open challenge, it shocked me the amount of people who thought John Cena came up with the open challenge, and it speaks to how good he did with the open challenge but every week with his open challenge it was a surprise. I think it's taking time, we want ours to be a surprise from time to time, and then we also want it to be an announced match because it's important that we announce our matches. That's something that's important to Tony and he's got the data right there in front of him. Historically it's better for wrestling to have your announced matches and versus you know that kind of week to week aspect, and that on the seat of your pants booking which is not what we ever want to do. We always want to be ahead of the game and we have the management core with Tony at the helm of this starship, not to get incredibly too Trekkie on you but as you know cause you're a fellow fan of the Trek, he's really, he's been a great captain for this ship, big time.

Interview continues on Page 2!

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