After becoming one of the hottest tickets on the planet during the Attitude Era, WWE made a conscious effort almost 20 years ago to smooth off the edges and produce a more family-friendly product, with the promotion's show officially earning a PG rating in 2008, much to the chagrin of some long-term fans.

And yet, after changing bookers for the first time since, well, all of the promotion's wrestlers have been alive, it would appear the directions of creative has changed too, with Paul “Triple H” Levesque embracing more mature storylines and the wrestlers in the ring even being allowed to use more colorful maneuvers like a brainbuster, piledriver, and occasionally blood, which was a big no-no during the final act of Vince McMahon.

Discussing his infamously bloody match with his brother, Dusty Rhodes, at Double or Nothing 2019 on the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast, Cody Rhodes embraces color in wrestling, celebrating that he was able to bleed during his WrestleMania 40 program with The Rock, noting that he was allowed to blade during his infamous parking lot beatdown at the hands of “The Final Boss.”

“It's very fun to see. Blood is part of sports entertainment, part of pro wrestling. It's in a weird way, I don't mean to sound toxic at all, it's nice to see it celebrated in the packaging and in this moment,” Cody Rhodes told Matt Cardona and Brian Myers via Fightful. “Actually, I gave myself a nice pat on the back for — recently going into WrestleMania, I was the first WWE shirt that got a little blood on it as well, they had done the skull with a little cut up top after Rock beat the h*ll out of me in the rain.”

While WWE isn't booking the sort of bloodbaths that make it onto AEW television regularly, from CM Punk's Dog Collar match with MJF, to the bi-monthly women's Street Fights on Rampage that routinely gets fans talking online, it's nice to see that he isn't as hardcore about avoiding the promotion' hardcore roots as the previous administrations was, as there are some moves, maneuvers, and storylines that simply looks cartoonish and fake without a realistic amount of blood. Playing into that realism makes a world of sense, and embracing it is a major reason why WWE is having the success it has today.

Nick Aldis believes Cody Rhodes' success in WWE endorses AEW.

Speaking of the changes to the professional wrestling landscape on Gorilla Position, Nick Aldis was recently asked why wrestlers like AJ Styles and Cody Rhodes have been allowed to say the names of promotions like New Japan Pro Wrestling, TNA, and even Ring of Honor but remains seemingly banned from saying the name AEW. While Aldis believes the decision makes sense, as the promotions are clearly engaging in a ratings war, the “National Treasure” believes the “Rhodes'” success is the greatest endorsement AEW could ask for, as his “American Nightmare” would have never gotten where it is today without being promoted on Dynamite.

“I don't know, and I'm certainly not involved in the conversations at that level. I don't think it's anything nefarious, I think it's more of a thing of, ‘They made it clear they're coming at WWE.' I personally think the war thing is silly, it's silly on their part. If you sort of liken it to geo-politics. If someone has declared war on you, it's not like you're going to throw their name around. They've certainly been hostile at times, and from the company's point of view, ‘We don't want to poke the bear' necessarily. We're not looking for that,” Nick Aldis told Gorilla Position via Fightful.

“At the same time, it's interesting to be able to acknowledge that part of Cody's history. It's unavoidable with Cody because when he came back, he was the American Nightmare. He wasn't the same guy. To pretend he turned into this person in the middle of nowhere made no sense. In many ways, that's the greatest acknowledgement of AEW, is Cody being Cody. He crafted that persona and presentation. The fact that it was a major part of a major company being born and a place for people to go to work, it's a tremendous accomplishment and does no harm to WWE to acknowledge it.”

Would WWE have ever come up with a gimmick like the “American Nightmare?” No, probably not, as outside of the confusion surrounding the name – since when are nightmares a good, babyface thing? – they simply never viewed Rhodes as a top babyface due to his size, wrestling style, and general aura. Still, Aldis has a point, as every time Rhodes is on WWE television, even the hardcore-est fans immediately associate him with his time as an EVP of AEW, which might not make them tune into Dynamite, Rampage, or Collision but does keep that war alive and well.