A key part of Cody Rhodes’ WWE return was set into motion by a conversation with Stephanie McMahon.
Come early 2022, Cody Rhodes was on his way back to WWE after rebuilding his career, having left the sports entertainment giant six years earlier. While Rhodes was and is, determined to be his own man, his career will forever be overshadowed by the legacy left by his father, the late, great Dusty Rhodes.
The American Dream wrestled the very best the world had to offer during a Hall of Fame career, and he is credited with a number of innovations that have shaped the wrestling industry since. However, arguably his biggest contribution to modern-day WWE was his work at the Performance Center, helping guide the likes of Mercedes Mone, Becky Lynch, and many more.
Despite this glittering career, there was one title that Dusty never won, the WWWF World Championship. This title would eventually become the WWF Title and then the WWE Title. Upon stepping back into WWE, Cody vowed to win the title his father never did in an emotionally charged promo the night after WrestleMania 38.
Appearing on the Insight podcast with Chris Van Vliet, Cody was asked about using his father and family history in storylines. During the conversation, the American Nightmare discussed earning the right to use that history, recalling how Stephanie McMahon told him to “use everything” he could to add to his story.
“Yeah, I was okay. I was definitely okay with it. I got to the point where at the end of my run with AEW and the beginning of my run with WWE, where I was really big on leaning in, like I’ve been leaning out for so long, I’ve been leaning out. Okay, there’s they’re starting to boo here. And you’re kind of split, Let’s lean into it. Let’s, let’s stir it up.
When I came back, and the story was a real story, that is actually what I talked to Vince (McMahon) and Bruce (Prichard) about in that meeting was, hey, here’s the WWWF title, I have it. Dan Lambert gave it to me. This is the whole reason I wanted to be in the business, this physical piece of [history] this thing right here, this belt, this championship belt.
So I was fine with leaning in. Because it feels like it’s now or never, in a sense, it’s now or never that there’s things you have to earn. And when you’re someone’s kid, and you’re second generation, third generation, you have them all at your disposal from the beginning. But there’s a difference from when you use them at the beginning and when you’ve earned them. And I felt like I’d earned them.
I remember Stephanie McMahon said this. She said use everything, use everything you have. And there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to use everything. Oh WrestleMania, the main event, essentially getting elected president is getting that match the final match, like use it all, use everything you have and leave no stone unturned. And she was right.”
Has Cody Rhodes Ever Been World Champion?
While Cody Rhodes has never been World Champion in WWE or AEW, he has won World Championship gold in the past. During his time away from WWE, the star won the ROH World Title and the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title.
His most recent attempt at winning WWE’s top prize came at WrestleMania 39, where roared on by a huge crowd he was defeated by Roman Reigns. During a recent interview, Cody Rhodes said he was “surprised how p*ssed people were” that he lost.
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