Cody Rhodes (CBS Sports Local)
What a wild journey it has been for Cody Rhodes. Since leaving WWE in 2016, Cody has elevated himself to become one of the best freelance professional wrestlers out there. Before Ring of Honor went live on Friday with their War of the Worlds collaborative PPV with New Japan Pro Wrestling at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC, Double G Sports was able to speak to Cody himself. While preparing for his Ring of Honor World Title match against champion Christopher Daniels and Jay Lethal, he spoke in length about his new life. The son of the legendary Dusty Rhodes did not hold anything back.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is “The American Nightmare”, Cody Rhodes!
Double G Sports: Over the past year plus, you’ve competed at WrestleMania, Battle of Lost Angeles, Bound for Glory, Final Battle and Wrestle Kingdom. You’ve been to WCPW, Evolve, among others. How do you feel heading in knowing you’ve been able to accomplish this in such a short period of time?
Cody Rhodes: I feel really whole. It’s so easy to tell people that you are good or you’re great, and that they (WWE) didn’t give me the opportunities I deserved. There does come a point however, where someone says they will check out an independent show I’m at and if you suck I know you were lesser than. Those moments have actually been pretty cool, because it’s so fun to see negativity on social media and see it diminish. It’s great to prove people right, but it’s even better to prove them wrong, and I’m obsessed with that. I’ve seen people admit that they have spoken too soon, and that they want me to win the ROH World Title (or any for that matter).
DGS: How long did it take for your “haters” to die down.
CR: I think there are less haters than before. We did start off a little rocky though. It could have started with the Evolve audience. To start off, I love Gabe and Evolve, especially Ethan Page. My first two show’s there got a lot of viewers, but people judged me based off them. They weren’t seeing what I was doing week in and week out after. This is where it’s really happening, and I hope more people would check it out. The more streaming, the more FloSlam, the more FITE TV and the more PPV’s help. I believe I’ve shown people that there is a lot left in the tool box and gas left in the tank.
In regards to a Chris Hero Evolve match – There are those that enjoyed it, but other’s still judged him based off of this, among a few other matches:
CR: Evolve is a lot more popular than people think. There were people six months after seeing my matches who were negatively asking, “Did you see his Evolve stuff?” and my thought was, “There’s so much that has happened in six months. Have you seen this, have you seen that?” The crowds are fun but they are very hyper-critical when they want to be. They are a fun audience though. Thats what makes them and the whole organization great.
DGS: What is it like working for WCPW?
CR: WCPW has great shows, great talent and the best fans. The personalities- Jack the Jobber, King Ross, The Adam’s, they are all great. If I was ever mad about my traveling, or I was in a four person car with 80 people, I’m not mad by the end of the night because the crowd and the shows have been great to me. What a fantastic locker room as well. With the exception of Prince Ameen, it’s a good vibe.
In regards to crowd reactions there, in which the U.K. crowd loves him: I have no clue why. I’m not from the U.K., I wear the American flag there and they don’t boo. I love Newcastle for taking me in. If I ever make an obsessive amount of money, I’ll set up a residence in Newcastle. They don’t treat anyone they’ve grown up with like an import, they treat you like you’re a part of the family.
DGS: Was it hard to adapt to the independent lifestyle? There are always reports about wrestling a specific way, evolving it, etc.
CR: I think its just about experimentation. There is a fast pace, crash style that you’ll see more on the independent scene compared to WWE, but there is so much of that happening in WWE now. NXT is the biggest indie there is, if that makes sense. Its kind of blending together and its offering a lot of diversity on all shows. You’ll see a little song and dance, you’ll see a little intergender, you’ll see a little true sport, you’ll see it all. There is a saying, “Just give them your greatest hits”, but I tell them, “Well, I don’t even have any greatest hits.” I’m going to try and do what you want to do and we’ll just see what we can come up with.
DGS: Is the traveling easier or harder?
CR: Way harder. I don’t ever sleep. In WWE, you take a car ride anywhere in between 90-300 miles each night. Now, its a new place each day and a flight every morning. I’m not ever going to complain though, I’m really going for it.
DGS: Would you be willing to make a new list?
The original list came out on May 28th
. Maybe on the anniversary I’ll come up with it. I’ll put Roderick Strong on it again since I never got him, just in case.
Listing off names: Phoenix would definitely be on there. I’ve already wrestled Pentagon but I’d put him on there. Jerry Lawler (I like to diversify the list), Davey Richards, Frankie Kazarian ( which he did this past Sunday). Tanahashi would also be a nice choice.
DGS: Working with your wife and seeing her wrestle now, have you taught her anything or has she tried to teach you anything?
CR: I try to protect her. She tries to do a lot of matches with tacks and tables, and she even asked me about flash paper, which is fire. She really loves the gritty, Terry Funk element of what we do. Brandi teaches me how to dress how to talk, how to be better. I was convinced by her I had something wrong with a tooth I have in the back of my mouth, and she’s like “I don’t know, people think you have bad breath and they aren’t going to want to work with you.” She’s very wife about everything, and I love it.
DGS: What can we see from you in the future?
CR: A lot of what will happen hinge’s on tonight. Winning a world title would be everything to me, it would be the journey. A whole new journey would have to begin, and I wouldn’t be sure what that is. Thats the best part about professional wrestling.
* While Cody did not end up wining the ROH World Title, he may have more opportunities to do so in the future. We’ll have to wait and see.*
DGS: From the time you debuted in WWE until now, what have you learned and improved on? What can you take away from your experience?
CR: I kind of model my attitude backstage and towards the business after Kane. He’s running for mayor now. He is the best example on how to be an older gentlemen, a veteran in our business. Everybody after two-four years goes through that phase where they think they are a veteran. After about six years in you start to think you’re really a veteran, and then you realize that it never ends. You should always treat everyone with fairness, kindness and shake everyone’s hand the same way you would shake Vince McMahon’s hand. Everybody matters. We all do this together. From the fan out there in the street who may or not be a collector to Vince, never devalue anyone.