With AEW 'Revolution,' WWE Rival May Have Its Own 'WrestleMania,' Says Cody Rhodes

Expectations are high this Saturday for All Elite Wrestling (AEW), the upstart wrestling league that has disrupted television cable schedules since October, as it presents its next pay-per-view event, Revolution.

To hear Cody Rhodes, one of AEW's executive vice presidents and featured wrestlers, tell it, Saturday's card could be the fledgling company's answer to WWE's WrestleMania, the annual Super Bowl-like wrestling event that attracts nearly 100,000 fans from across the world each year.

In a phone interview with Newsweek last December, Rhodes, 34, expressed hope that Revolution, taking place at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, will be AEW's calling-card event.

"A lot of people ask us, 'What's your WrestleMania? What's your big event?' We've never designated one event as the big event out of our four pay-per-views," said Rhodes. "But just kind of going with what my gut is feeling and seeing the marketing element, the thematic element, the staging element, I think Revolution may end up being the big one."

Rhodes was careful to add a caveat.

"If I'm wrong," he said, "that means one of the others is the big one, so it's OK. But I have just such a good feeling about February 29th."

Rhodes will be in action at the event facing friend-turned nemesis MJF. Their rivalry has been simmering on TNT's Dynamite program since late last year.

Rhodes has overcome numerous obstacles to get his hands on MJF, including taking 10 lashes to the back on live television and defeating MJF's heavy, Wardlow, in a steel cage match.

Headlining AEW's first pay-per-view event of the year is AEW World Champion Chris Jericho defending the coveted title against Jon Moxley, formerly Dean Ambrose in WWE.

Rhodes' fellow executive vice presidents and star performers, The Young Bucks—Nick and Matt Jackson—and Kenny Omega will also wrestle on the card. The Bucks will challenge Omega and "Hangman" Adam Page for the AEW World Tag Team Championship.

Nyla Rose, the first transgender woman to win a major professional wrestling championship, will defend her AEW Women's World Championship for the first time against Kris Statlander.

All Elite Wrestling was co-founded by billionaire Jacksonville Jaguars founder Shahid Khan and his son Tony last year. Tony Khan serves as the company's CEO and president.

AEW's Dynamite program on TNT has consistently beaten WWE's NXT on the USA Network since both programs began going head-to-head Wednesday nights last fall. Last month, TNT said the show is averaging 1.2 million viewers and 654,000 viewers in the adult aged 18-49 demographic each week in Live +7 ratings.

TNT's parent company WarnerMedia has been so impressed with AEW's growth in such a short space of time that last month it renewed Dynamite through 2023 and ordered a second show straight-to-series.

AEW's Revolution airs Saturday, February 29, at 7 p.m. ET on pay-per-view, B/R Live and FITE TV.

Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes. Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.