Cody Rhodes has recalled the slightly bizarre story of being given wrestling advice by Stone Cold Steve Austin in a car park after a New Japan show.
At WrestleMania 38 both Cody Rhodes and Stone Cold Steve Austin made their returns to a WWE ring. While Austin hadn’t wrestled since 2003 after being forced to retire through injury, Rhodes departure and return to WWE was very, very different.
After becoming dissatisfied with his role within the company, Rhodes left WWE in May 2016. Over the next six years, the American Nightmare appeared all across the independent scene, while wrestling in Ring of Honor, IMPACT Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
This eventually led him to play a huge part in the creation of AEW in 2019, where he would become an Executive Vice President alongside Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks.
Speaking to the media after his triumphant return at WrestleMania 38, Rhodes recalled bumping into Steve Austin after a match against Kazuchika Okada in 2017. The match took place at a New Japan Pro Wrestling show in California, where Austin had been in attendance.
Reflecting on his chance meeting with the WWE Hall of Famer, Rhodes described Austin giving him advice in the car park, before disappearing into the night like a bald headed, beer swigging Batman.
“I have a cool Stone Cold story. The New Japan Long Beach show, I wrestled [Kazuchika] Okada. It was really fun and he’s a tremendous storyteller,”
I was excited and I always try to get some space afterwards. I went out to the parking lot and [Steve Austin] had come to watch the show and sit on the truck with one of his friends who was producing the show. I didn’t know that. There were whispers that Steve Austin was there. He started walking with us to the parking lot, it’s Steve Austin, not like ‘Steve Austin,’ it’s the same guy walking to the ring at [WrestleMania 38].
He came up to me in the parking lot and he was telling me about some holds I could do differently and he was giving me some really sincere, genuine advice for wrestling’s most prolific money maker. You had to stop being a fan and listen to what he’s saying.
So, I’m listening, and all this press and media slowly coming. Right as they got closer, he patted me on the shoulder, turned around, and walked off into the darkness. There was no car, no hotel. It was like Batman. It was legit like Batman. There were people like, ‘Where did he go?’ He was gone. I don’t know if he turned the corner and sprinted. It was a really special thing.
We got to have that moment again [at Mania]. He said, ‘that was the match you needed to have. Hearing that from the guy going on last, yup, thank you.”
After defeating Seth Rollins at WrestleMania, Cody Rhodes opened the following episode of Monday Night Raw. During an emotional promo, Rhodes declared his intention to win the WWE Championship, not only for himself, but his father, the late, great, American Dream, Dusty Rhodes.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.