Cody Rhodes will face Shaquille O'Neal in a tag team match on AEW Dynamite Wednesday. And to promote the match, the professional wrestler appeared on Carton & Roberts on WFAN in New York on Tuesday. Rhodes was asked about wrestling O'Neal and decided to take a jab at him.
“I think (Shaq’s) in great shape from a vanity aesthetic, but when it comes to go muscles, I don’t think he has anything in the tank," Rhodes said. "I don’t think he’s as nimble as he was, but he’s a guy who can rise to the occasion." Rhodes will be teaming up with Red Velvet while O'Neal's partner is Jade Cargill. When talking to the Associated Press, O'Neal said he's ready to put on a show.
“I’m the type, I can never back down from a challenge,” O’Neal stated. “I’m not a professional wrestler, but I’ve been in a match before. I’ve got a lot of moves in my arsenal. When you step inside somebody’s world, you have to stick to what you’re masterful at. I’m not acrobatic. I’m not going to be jumping off the ropes. I’m coming with the power game. When I get hands on him, I’m going to display this power.”
O'Neal is no stranger to pro wrestling. 1994 was O'Neal's first appearance in pro wrestling, and he presented the WCW World Heavyweight Championship to Hulk Hogan. In 2009, the 48-year-old NBA legend was the guest host of WWE's Monday Night Raw. One of his memorable moments was in was entering the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32 in 2016. He got into a battle with Big Show, which led to them taking out Kane.
Bringing in O'Neal is a way for AEW to help boost ratings and beat WWE's NXT show. Both shows air on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET and last for two hours. AEW launched in 2019 and has grown to become the second-largest wrestling promotion in the country behind WWE. But could AEW and WWE join forces in the future?
"There’s no reason that there couldn’t be a potential WWE crossover one day," Rhodes said in an interview with the New York Post in February. "And I don’t mean that’s a thing that’s been discussed or happening, but none of those rules that exist for other places exist for us. Wrestling is really this universal industry. The territory reference that you made, that’s fairly accurate, but the part of it that’s most accurate was there was a genuine trust."