AEW’s Cody Rhodes on Full Gear: ‘There’s a great deal of pressure’

Nov. 8 (UPI) — All Elite Wrestling star and executive vice president Cody Rhodes said his title match against AEW World Champion Chris Jericho at Full Gear is the biggest match of his career.

“There’s a lot riding on this. I don’t mean to get emotional or on a rant here, but I don’t just take my own pressure into these matches. There’s a great deal of pressure that’s been put on us by the fanbase,” Rhodes told reporters on Friday.

“It would be the pinnacle of my career, as my mother said,” the 34-year-old continued.

Full Gear will be taking place at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore.

Rhodes, on Dynamite Wednesday, announced during a passionate speech that if he loses to Jericho, he will never challenge for the title again. The American Nightmare’s reasoning was due to criticisms he has heard surrounding performers being involved in the title picture who were also a part of management. Criticisms that were also levied against his late father, the legendary Dusty Rhodes.

The grappler’s speech on the subject has gotten acclaim from fans and members of the professional wrestling industry –including Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

“I was very connected to what I was stating because it’s my life,” he said about the moment. “I’m not hiding from who I am, I’m not hiding from my position here.”

“This is the biggest rivalry I’ve ever been involved with and the stakes are as high as they’ve ever been. Wrestling is best when it’s real so I don’t even know if you could call it a promo. It was just a real statement from me and I’m glad it resonated with fans.”

The championship bout will also feature a panel of three special judges who will determine who wins the match if the 60-minute time limit is reached.

Rhodes said that he doesn’t know who will be judging the match, as it is a conflict of interest, but that per AEW president and CEO Tony Khan, each judge will be familiar to fans and are championship-caliber.

“I think this type of match more than ever needed it and looking forward down the road, I wouldn’t be surprised if you see the judges appear not only for the AEW World Championship, but the AEW Women’s Championship,” Rhodes told UPI.

Rhodes said that plans to increase the presence of the women’s division with even more matches and exposure will begin to take place soon following Full Gear. Part of the issue has been AEW’s cast of international female stars who have needed to obtain visas to compete in the United States.

“We have a lot of foreign talent and foreign talents, to do it properly, requires a work visa and those, in this political climate are rather difficult to get,” he said. “So that’s something that’s kind of been difficult in terms of the representation because we have a very international women’s division.”

Full Gear will be airing live on pay-per-view and streaming service B/R Live on Saturday at 8 p.m. EDT.

A pre-show titled The Buy In, featuring Bea Priestley vs. Britt Baker, will be livestreamed on AEW’s official YouTube channel and B/R Live.

Full Gear will also feature heated rivals Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega battling it out in a Lights Out Match, AEW World Tag Team Champions SCU defending their titles against The Lucha Bros. and Private Party, AEW Women’s Champion Riho defending her title against Emi Sakura, The Young Bucks vs. Santana and Ortiz, Hangman Adam Page vs. Pac and Joey Janela vs. Shawn Spears.

AEW has taken the professional wrestling world by storm ever since it was introduced in January. It has set itself apart from WWE by putting more of a focus on the in-ring action as opposed to soap-opera-like storylines.

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