Brandi Rhodes is All Elite Wrestling’s Chief Branding Officer, and she’s on the hunt for a wide range of wrestlers that catch her undivided attention.
Athletes like Awesome Kong, Nyla Rose, and Dr. Britt Baker have been heating up the scene, and the rabid fans can’t get enough of what AEW is cooking. The company is presenting wrestlers from all walks of life, and Brandi wants the company’s fanbase to know that they are just getting started.
During New York Comic Con, Rhodes spoke to Still Real To Us about what she is currently searching for when it comes to building a diverse roster.
Brandi Rhodes On AEW’s International Flavor
“As far as representation goes, what I’m looking at, when it comes to female wrestlers in particular; I don’t have any blinders on. So, what I’m looking for is something wrestling-wise. Something that really gets people excited,” Rhodes tells Still Real To Us.
One wrestler that became the talk of the town across social media was Sadie Gibbs. Previously unaware of her work, Brandi was quickly informed by AEW fans that Gibbs is someone that should be on her radar. Once AEW’s CBO reviewed the footage, she knew Gibbs would be the right fit for what AEW stands for.
“In the case of Sadie Gibbs, fans were going, ‘Have you seen Sadie Gibbs?’ I’m like, ‘Who the hell is Sadie Gibbs?’ I looked into her work, and went, ‘Wow, this is why these people are so into her.’ She’s very talented,” says Brandi. “Never mind she’s in England, never mind she’s never been on television before–this is something that people want to see.”
Ask and you shall receive, because Gibbs joined AEW’s growing roster and made a strong impression. During the All Out pre-show, Gibbs was one of the women to eliminate the powerful Awesome Kong during the Women’s Casino Battle Royale. The moment showcased Gibbs as someone who is going to be a major player in the company. In addition to Gibbs, Riho is also making a splash in North America. The no longer unknown 22-year-old wrestler from Tokyo is now the face of AEW’s women’s division. Brandi says that it’s not an odd coincidence that international talent is having the opportunity to succeed in AEW.
“It’s the same with everyone. With Riho, she doesn’t speak English. Is that something that’s going to keep us from having her on our roster? No,” Brandi exclaims. “She’s incredible. She’s got incredible heart, and very, very talented in that ring in many different ways.”
Brandi Rhodes On Listening To The Fans And Aubrey Edwards
AEW wants Dynamite to be an inclusive show that welcomes fans from all backgrounds, and Brandi knows that its a collaborative effort to showcase the very best in professional wrestling. She tells Still Real To Us that she has an open mind when it comes to the future possibilities of the company’s blossoming women’s vision.
“I think the answer is to not be looking for anything. It comes down to having an open mind to questions like, ‘What makes me excited? What do I see that fans are feeling excited about which ultimately makes me excited?’ When I show [the footage] to the rest of the guys, they go, ‘Whoah! Cool.'”
The women in AEW are not only fiercely competing in the ring, but they’re calling the matches, too. Referee Aubrey Edwards is catching the attention of fans with her no-nonsense style of officiating the matches. One of her bigger moments in the organization thus far was giving a bloody Chris Jericho a piece of her mind during his outing with “Hangman” Adam Page for the AEW World Championship at the explosive All Out pay-per-view. It was a defining moment that established Edwards as a force to be reckoned with. Brandi says that Aubrey’s tenacity is why all of the wrestlers, both male and female, want her to be their referee when they go out to perform for the fans.
“Everybody wants Aubrey all of the time. If I’m having a match, I go, ‘I want Aubrey.’ I just do. I feel great with her because she helps with everything,” Rhodes reveals to Still Real To Us. “She knows the story. She’s so into the match. She’s a saint.”
Brandi Says Spots Are Fairly Given
AEW can continue to receive its blessings from saint Aubrey, because the company continues to pull major ratings in key demos for TNT. Last week, AEW Dynamite drew 1.018 million viewers against NXT’s 790,000. The AEW Chief Branding Officer assures fans that AEW’s key to continued success and growth is by giving fair opportunities to their entire roster.
“The women are very good. You gotta give it to them. You gotta give them that spotlight. You gotta give them those spots. As long as they continue to deliver in these ways, they deserve the spots they are being given,” concludes Brandi.
AEW Dynamite returns to TNT tonight at 8 PM EST. The show is set to feature intense in-ring action between AEW World Champion Chris Jericho and underdog Darby Allin in a Philly Street Fight. In an equally intriguing match-up, Riho will defend her newly won AEW Women’s World Championship against Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. Jon Moxley and PAC will also team up to take on Adam Page and Kenny Omega. Also expect Brandi Rhodes to make an appearance. The show will take place at the Liacouras Center.