AEW Couple Cody & Brandi Invite Viewers Into Their Home in TNT’s ‘Rhodes to the Top’
All Elite Wrestling power couple Cody and Brandi Rhodes have had a life-changing year—one that will be chronicled in the upcoming new TNT reality series Rhodes to the Top. Cameras follow the two as they juggle their respective responsibilities as executive vice president and chief brand officer with becoming first-time parents.
Brandi gave birth to a daughter, Liberty, in June, but episodes will also give viewers an inside look at those stressful and at times emotional months leading up to her arrival. Here the dynamic duo opens up about their filming experience.
How did it feel having cameras capture your personal life? How would you say it tested your relationship?
Brandi Rhodes: Yeah, we’re getting a divorce [laughs]. Joking. I feel like I knew what to expect. Cody and I aren’t exactly strangers to the reality realm with [the 2018 E! series] WAGS Atlanta. In this situation, I think we were able to help shape the narrative a little bit more. We were able to be more authentic and share as opposed to a situation where we are going to be told everything that was going to happen and who we were going to have interactions with.
Cody Rhodes: Even as a producer on Rhodes to the Top, which I was really proud to be, they were very aggressive in terms of slapping those mics on us and filming everything. The episodes are very much authentic. It is a scary, unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at AEW. It’s a good fear. If you’re a hardcore fan who put so much equity in our business, you will be rewarded.
There is a balance between home and work life. And we see you mentor newer talent like Darby Allin, Ricky Starks, Jade Cargill. How important was it to you to show this?
CR: I feel vindicated that my actual job as the executive vice president of live events and talent is being seen. It’s my job to do what others haven’t done in the past for me: When someone is deserving or ready, give them [the spotlight]. Darby, Ricky, and Jade are prime examples. It is very comforting to see because there is the misconception that I’m the booker of AEW or that I even run AEW. Here you get the opportunity to see Tony Khan as such a unique leader. I help coach segments, produce content. The number one thing that is my job no matter how much of a wrestler I am is to continue building our roster so we are going to talk about AEW not only today but 30 years from now
Brandi, you delve into how difficult your pregnancy was, which can certainly resonate with many viewers.
BR: In reality, people will see we don’t play that so seriously. It’s an element of comedy more so because every time I’m asked how I’m doing, I have a different answer of how horrible I’m feeling. It’s something that many women go through in their lives. I had a little bit of a harder time. I worked up to two weeks before the baby was delivered. She was born very happy and healthy. I think it provides a fun outlook for women who go through that. The light at the end of the tunnel.
Was it difficult getting the family onboard?
BR: My family wanted to be on TV more than anyone else’s family who has ever wanted to be on TV. The Rhodes came with a lot of stipulations. First, they were in, and then they were out and in again. I don’t know who made the ultimate decision for them, but there was so much drama that we didn’t capture about whether they were going to be on the show or not that I wish we captured that because that was a whole episode in itself.
CR: Kudos to [my brother] Dustin. It’s really unique to see what he is doing through these episodes at this point in his career and how important it is and how it has really manifested with the women’s division on TV. My mother and sister are the greatest people. My original best friend was my sister. I was the baby of the family. That [dynamic] exists in small ways on the show. My sister has so much personality. She is far more Dusty than me or Dustin. To see her on the program, I get a good chuckle out of it.
What did you learn about yourselves through the process?
CR: It’s very visible the exhaustion and the nagging injuries I’ve been dealing with. All of it comes to a head. It was a perfect storm and a great time personally to film this show because of the birth of our daughter, but also professionally, the hardest. We’re bringing in all the top free agents under the sun where you don’t have to pull the wagon anymore. There is the fear that I’ll ever be able to pull the wagon again because I’m taking the step back to film Go Big Show and all of the things happening while we were filming Rhodes to the Top. I always thought I was really hard to read, but judging by this show, it’s very clear how I feel at this juncture.
Folks on social media can be pretty hard on you two. Do you think this show will cause people to change their opinions?
BR: I do believe that some opinions can’t be changed. I do think this will be pretty insightful for actual fans. I think they are really going to appreciate this look beyond the curtain. Beyond the doors of our homes. Hopefully, that will strengthen the bond with the people who are in our camp.
CR: I try to reward the positive nature of social media because there is something good to it. I don’t want to get into the toxicity of it, but I do know I’m going to keep moving forward and climbing the ladder. And if that offends anyone, then you will continue to be offended. There are a lot of do-nothing types that dominate the social space. They can kiss my ass because the ladder is there for me to climb. Mediocrity loves company, which is really what social media has become. That’s why I try to highlight the positive and the good stuff you see. It’s way easier than calling it quits there.
Brandi, you make no bones about wanting to get back in the ring. How soon do you think we’ll be seeing you back?
BR: That’s a good question. I like to leave it up to fate. Then when you’ll see me, you’ll see me. Hopefully, when I do make my way back people are happy to see me.
AEW has big shows this week with Grand Slam specials of Dynamite and Rampage from Arthur Ashe Stadium. Cody, you’re returning to face Malakai Black. Rhodes to the Top will certainly give audiences a greater appreciation for all the hard work put into getting the company where it is today.
CR: There is a true moment where you’ll watch every wrestler take an extra step on the ramp and look out and take it in. That is literal proof of what we were told could not be done. The goalposts continually move. The pettiness is still on the rise, but if we are all honest and being real with one another, AEW and what Tony Khan has done with AEW is going to last. If I were to call it quits tomorrow, that is something massively special to hang my hat on. That this challenger brand, this alternative, became competition and then went from competition to be its own destination. You’ll see that moment manifest Wednesday in front of 20,000 people in the number one market in the world of New York City.
Rhodes to the Top premieres September 29, 10/9c, TNT
AEW Dynamite, Wednesdays, 8/7c, TNT
AEW Rampage, Fridays, 10/9c, TNT