Rhodes sat down with New York Post's Joseph Staszewski to talk about how this AEW matchup came together:
"What happened is really what fans saw. He tweeted about me (in August 2020) and didn't, I don’t think, particularly know me. He just knew he had a show on TNT and we had seen each other at the upfronts and “Dynamite” was kicking a** and I think he chose an in-house professional wrestler to pick on. And I didn’t think much of it other than, you know, us wrestlers, we love when we see the blue (Twitter) checks, we love when we see people talking about our world.
Then the next you know, QT (Marshall) calls me like half a year ago, so this is a while ago. He called me and said, 'Hey, I just want to make you aware of something.' When that’s how he frames it, I know it’s going to be something about the Nightmare Factory. He said, 'I just want to make you aware of it that Shaq came in and started training.' I said, 'well send me a video, I’ve got to see it.' He’s done a good amount of training with QT with a couple bodies there that he can throw around and things of that nature.
Right at that moment, I knew we were into an area where this could really, seriously happen. We really jumped on it in the best way we could. QT is really technically responsible for that. He and (AEW president) Tony Khan because he and Tony have a great relationship as well. It kind of willed itself into existence like so many other things in AEW."
"He was just one of the most valuable teachers to me" - Cody Rhodes on how wrestling the Big Show has prepared him for his AEW match against Shaq
"The only thing I’ve been thinking of in my mind is I wrestled Big Show so many times. He was just one of the most valuable teachers to me. He was everything. He was a genuine adversary when it came to how he handled going to WrestleMania. He was my first taste of good politics, bad politics, and he was an angel in the ring to wrestle with. It gave me some absolute valuable lessons. So thinking about Show a lot as I’ve been thinking about Shaq, in any way are they similar."
Are you excited about Shaq's in-ring debut for AEW? How well do you think he'll do? Let us know by sounding off in the comments section below.