*Note: The following article was written from a clip that was recorded in December 2018 as we bring some unseen archive footage into the spotlight for the first time.
Speaking at an Inside The Ropes show back in 2018, AEW Executive Vice President and former TNT Champion Cody Rhodes spoke of how Undertaker became “God” to him following a hilarious interaction in a Royal Rumble Match.
CM Punk told him he was out before Rhodes and asked if there was anything Cody wanted to do, and told him to talk to everyone and take his moment to stand out.
“I talked about the importance of that 30 seconds, right? The reason I know is I made my first Royal Rumble in Madison Square Garden and CM Punk comes up to me and says, ‘I’m out before you,’ I think I was 12 and he was 11, ‘I’m out before you, is there anything when you get in that you want to do?’ He’s like, ‘Dude, you’ve got to talk to everybody, that’s your time, you’ve got to do something, that your moment to stand out,’ and I was like this plucky underdog guy. New York was likely already going to be indifferent or just boo me.”
Rhodes went on to say he got his 30 seconds in with Punk – but in less than a tenth of the time…
“So he was like, ‘All right, why don’t we do jabs and do this, and almost dump me over?’ This short little moment. Boom, music hits, short Garden entrance that they don’t have any more and I run, and I get in there and everything is going actually okay. They didn’t really boo me, didn’t really give a shit either, but they didn’t boo me so I was like, ‘All right, yeah.’ I did the spot, almost dumped Punk over and 2.7 seconds have gone by. It was that quick and literally now I just feel the camera on me and I can see myself on the screen, and just a child…”
Rhodes went on to detail the moment he thought, ‘F*** it” and decided to shoot his shot.
“And I see Undertaker in the corner. And I thought, ‘Fuck it. I’m going to do it.’ So, I run over and he’s on top of somebody in the corner and I hit this man as hard as I’ve ever hit anyone in the back of the head, ‘Bam!’ And I felt him stop… The whole head turned and everything, and now I know, like, ‘Okay, I’ve been in this long enough to know, now I’m the bad guy.’ So, I’m already doing this [He mimics backing away] and, again, I can see myself on the screen like, ‘Oh, God. They are still watching me.’
The former TNT Champion would open up about how Undertaker taking a bump for him would bewilder the then-rookie.
“All of a sudden, he just, bam, goozles me around the neck and I’m thinking, ‘Well, I’m going up. Good job, Cody.’ He goozles me and he’s just… ‘Kick me in the knee.’ Okay. I kick him in the knee. He lets his hand go and his hair is all hanging in his face, and he goes, ‘Dropkick me.’ So I literally… I get so excited, I jump up, I dropkick him, he takes a bump. He takes a bump! He takes a bump!”
Rhodes would say how “everything about Undertaker is giving back” and how he loves The Deadman.
“I didn’t know what to do. The goal is to get the guy out of the match but I’m not going to pick him up. So I just kind of like stand there and go over to the corner and just start fake punching somebody… But, man, after that, Taker was like God to me. I thought, ‘Everything about this guy is about giving back.’ He really absolutely did not need to do that – plus I stiffed the hell out of him. He didn’t need to do that so, man, I love the Undertaker.
For more, subscribe to Inside The Ropes on YouTube.