How AEW Put Cody Rhodes Vs. Shaq Together

Cody Rhodes tells all on AEW's working relationship with NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal.

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NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal finally steps into an AEW ring for the first time on 3 March, when he teams with newcomer Jade Cargill to face Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet.

The bout has been several months in the making. Original plans called for Cody teaming with his wife, Brandi, before their pregnancy announcement, though Velvet was introduced as a substitute through ongoing storylines. Shaq has already made one direct appearance on AEW television and has constantly hyped the bout during his NBA coverage.

Interviewed by the New York Post's Joseph Staszewski, Cody said that the match essentially "willed itself into existence." He credited QT Marshall for bringing Shaq into the Nightmare Factory for training in the first place. When O'Neal had completed enough sessions "with a couple bodies that he can throw around," Rhodes knew that they'd reached a point where the bout could seriously happen, they jumped at the chance.


Here's what 'The American Nightmare' had to say on Shaq's training:-

“I know when he trains it’s very long. They put in over two hours. They go from the weight room to the ring and two to three of our better guys bump around, training themselves and want to be there. They’re there almost all night. I’ve never trained with him. He’s very much been trained by QT. They train pretty regularly and I’m excited."

Shaq's celebrity should guarantee a viewership boost for AEW Dynamite on 3 March. Cody and co. will no doubt be hoping these eyeballs stick with the product, and especially Cargill, who wasn't put in this spotlight without reason.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.