Following Cody Rhodes’ appearance on The Broken Skull Sessions, we take a look at ten big takeaways from the nearly two-hour conversation.
Now as the American Nightmare prepares to face Seth Rollins one more time at WrestleMania Backlash, he sat down with Stone Cold Steve Austin to reflect on his career to date. Yes, that includes his time in AEW.
The following is by no means an exhaustive or definitive list, instead just a number of interesting talking points that came up during the interview.
Don’t Mention Stardust
Upon returning to WWE at WrestleMania 38, Rhodes asked people not to mention his run with the company as Stardust. He explained that if an opponent mentioned it, that was one thing, but otherwise, it was off-limits. This tied in with his own call-back to the character during the match with Rollins which he confirmed was a “shedding skin” moment as described by Corey Graves on commentary.
Primarily Trained By Al Snow, Not Dusty Rhodes
While his father Dusty Rhodes was a huge figure in his life and was the first person to place him in a wrestling ring as a small child, he wasn’t involved in his training. Cody revealed that he began training at 15, as Dusty told him he was allowed to run the ropes, with no actual wrestling.
Dusty’s sole training input in the ring was one body slam and one hip toss. The rest of the foundation was laid by Al Snow.
Dusty Rhodes’ Hall Of Fame Induction Led To Main Roster Call Up
In 2007 Dusty Rhodes was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his sons Cody and Dustin. During the induction, Cody gave a lengthy speech which impressed many in attendance. He admitted that the speech was perhaps too impressive, describing it as one of the best and worst things to ever happen to him.
After the ceremony, Cody Rhodes met with Vince McMahon who facilitated his main roster debut just three months later. Rhodes had only been appearing in developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling for a year and believes he should have remained there for a further two.
2011 Intercontinental Title Run Was His Favourite In WWE
In October 2011, Rhodes held the Intercontinental Championship and brought back the belt’s classic design from the 1980s. He said that it was his idea to bring back the design, but was advised against it. It was suggested he create something linked closer to him.
Rhodes said this was his most fun time in WWE to date, although the title reign also gave him false hope that he would be next to move up to bigger and better things, something that never happened.
Stardust Was A Step Down And An Embarrassment
In the summer of 2014, Rhodes transitioned into a new character called Stardust which was linked to his brother’s long-running character Goldust. However, what was meant to be a short-term run became something more long-term and Rhodes felt it was a step down from where he had been before.
During his time as Stardust Rhodes said that he was praised for always being in character at events and meet and greets with fans. He admitted that this wasn’t a commitment to the character, instead, he was embarrassed to explain to people as Cody Rhodes that he performed as Stardust.
No Longer Felt Welcome In WWE When He Left
Rhodes revealed that by the time he left WWE he no longer felt welcome and had become trapped by his Stardust character, something he could never come back from. Despite this, he detailed how being under the face paint helped him after his father died, as he wasn’t ready to take on the family name and legacy.
Feeling like there was no other way out, Rhodes said he went for the nuclear option in how he left, adding he “released himself.” He also confirmed he never bothered to sign his release papers.
All In Felt Like Wrestling’s Woodstock Festival
Reflecting on All In, Rhodes explicitly discussed his motivation to prove Dave Meltzer wrong when he tweeted that Ring of Honour wouldn’t be able to pull 10,000 to Madison Square Garden. By the time the show rolled around, Rhodes said it was a beautiful thing and the perfect moment in time.
Although, it gave him the idea that he would be able to work as an Executive and in a backstage role going forwards, limiting his own in-ring career.
Match With Dustin “Made AEW,” Is His Favourite With The Company
At AEW Double or Nothing in 2019, Cody Rhodes faced his brother Dustin in a blood-soaked match that was heralded as one of the matches of the year. Cody commented that the match was his favourite from his entire AEW run and had even been told by “the man” that it “made AEW.”
AEW Departure Was Driven By Desire To Win WWE Championship
Looking back on his time in AEW as both a wrestler and backstage figure, Rhodes said that he had been too giving, and went from “doing the honours” to “doing jobs.” This came from trepidation about making perceived mistakes his father made during his time booking WCW. In response, Arn Anderson (Who Rhodes praised greatly) told him to make sure he took something for himself.
In the end, Rhodes felt AEW no longer needed him and didn’t want to be the gate-keeper wrestler he had started to become. But, more than anything he wanted to win the WWE Championship, “the one that got away” from his father.
WWE Thought AEW Exit Was A “Work”
After announcing that he had left AEW, Rhodes was immediately linked with WWE, with many fans believing that a deal was done very quickly. In reality, Rhodes broke down how talks began a lot later than many thought, and how he was encouraged to return by Matt Cardona, the same person who told him to join the Bullet Club years earlier.
Rhodes’ first contact with WWE was with Bruce Prichard, who thought that him leaving AEW was actually a work. After this meeting, he spoke to Vince McMahon and went into everything surrounding his exit from the company six years previously, in a conversation he said he should have had in 2016.
Naturally from a two-hour conversation, there were lots of other stories and glimpses behind the scenes, including his memories of his father. Rhodes was also full of praise for Randy Orton as well as Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. On multiple occasions, he described WWE as “the house that built me.”