The heat between AEW star Cody Rhodes and former NBA great Shaquille O’Neal has finally reached a boiling point. The war of words that began between the two men in 2020 is now leading to an actual pro wrestling match.
Rhodes will team with AEW Women’s Division star Red Velvet against fellow division star Jade Cargill and the four-time NBA champion O’Neal. It’s no secret among pro wrestling fans that Shaq wants Cody in the ring and now he will get him. The match will take place on the March 3 edition of AEW Dynamite.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) February 4, 2021
This entire angle is perhaps something of a surprise for many fans. The WWE faithful knows that Shaquille O’Neal has often been associated with Vince McMahon’s company. He’s been rumored to compete in a WWE match many times over the past several years, most notably against The Big Show.
Though that match didn’t take place, it’s clear that anything can happen. WWE seemed like the logical place for it and Big Show, who is a giant among men like O’Neal, seemed like the logical opponent. But while Shaq never got a real match in WWE, he will get it in AEW.
This isn’t the first time that a high profile celebrity has done business with AEW. Snoop Dogg, who is the cousin of current WWE Raw Women’s champion Sasha Banks, is also a member of McMahon’s Hall of Fame. Snoop is a fan of WWE and he’s a big wrestling fan in general.
But Snoop most recently did business with AEW. He performs Cody Rhodes’ latest entrance theme and fans are still talking about his top rope splash on Dynamite. While it’s obvious that Snoop is just having fun and likely meant no offense toward WWE, many AEW fans have certainly enjoyed seeing him “switch sides.”
Time to Step Up
The real question here is what will happen on March 3? Shaquille O’Neal will be three days away form turning 49 when he steps into the ring across from Cody. He’s been retired from the game of basketball since 2011 and he’s regularly featured as an NBA analyst on TNT. How much will he really be able to do in this match?
The fact is that Cody’s a pro and will certainly do all he can to protect the former MVP. Rhodes will obviously make him look good in the ring, while Cargill and Velvet will handle their part. The bout will likely not go very long and it’s a safe bet that Shaq will have some great spots that immediately become a highlight reel.
Though some fans are understandably apprehensive about the situation, the truth is that this is good for AEW. The company’s partnership with TNT opens many doors for them and every time one does open, AEW should take advantage of it. Exposure is the real point here and every time AEW receives it, that’s a win for everyone.
Tom Clark brings more than 10 years of experience as an online writer, including Featured Columnist stints at Bleacher Report, Pro Wrestling, Daily DDT and Wrestling Rumors. His podcasts, Tom Clark’s Main Event and Tom Clark’s 6M Podcast, are available on Apple Pods, Google Pods, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Audible, Spotify and YouTube