Cody Rhodes recently took part in a media call ahead of AEW: Revolution, where talk turned to the AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament.
A cross promotional tournament with Japan’s Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling, the series was eventually won by Ryo Mizunami who will face Hikaru Shida for the AEW Women'sWorld Championship at Revolution. However, the stand-out performer of the tournament arguably was Maki Itoh, who was eliminated in the first round, and now Rhodes has assured fans that Itoh returning to AEW is a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’:
“I'd like to give a shoutout to [Hikaru] Shida, Emi [Sakura], and Kenny [Omega], of course, and [Michael] Nakazawa. Tony [Khan] moved heaven and earth to make [the tournament] happen. Very difficult in the pandemic to get a show in another country and somehow weave it into the fabric of our own show. They did a wonderful job in this tournament.
“The discovery from this, we talk about how much tournaments can benefit your show, is someone like [Maki], who had a following. We want people who have a following. The hardest thing to do in sports, they say, is to hit a baseball. To me, the hardest thing in sports is to connect with fans. If you connect with fans, that's why you will see someone like Maki Itoh or Ryan Nemeth. They connect with the fans. You don't want to be the best worker no one has ever heard of or connected with.
“Personally, there have been conversations on my end. I know a lot of women in the locker room were a fan and would love to work with her. When things open up, I'd say it's likely you see her again in a AEW ring.”
H/T: Fightful for the transcription