SEScoops recently sat down with Cody to discuss a number of topics including his Independent run since leaving WWE, his time in the Bullet Club and Wrestle Kingdom match with Juice Robinson and the fact that he HAS NOT signed with Ring of Honor.
SEScoops: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us.
Cody: Thank you
SEScoops: Let’s talk about ‘The List.’ You sent out a tweet May 28th last year saying ‘this is my list, when I leave WWE this is who I want to face on the independent circuit.’ You’ve actually been in the ring with everyone on that list except for one person.
Cody: Roderick Strong? Well you know he had a baby (laughs), he had a baby. I wish I could get the Roderick Strong match, maybe I’ll just put him on the next list you know? Somebody told me that I should do another list and I was like ‘well sequels aren’t always so great’ but the reality is I think I’m gonna do another list now, maybe put it out on the same day.
SEScoops: Well Terminator 2 was good?
Cody: Termintor 2 yes. Ryback has never actually seen the original Terminator movie.
Cody: He didn’t know there was one, he legitimately thought that it was called Terminator 2 because there were two Terminators.
SEScoops: That is incredible.
Cody: Yea, yea me and Daniel Bryan had a very good time with that one. Very good time. He gets very upset when we talk about it. Cause that was 80’s the original Terminator? See he’s a child of the 90’s. If it wasn’t in the 90’s then it isn’t worth it to him.
SEScoops: Also wanted to talk about the Independent scene as a whole. It is very different to the way it was say 5-6 years ago. You spoke to Rolling Stone about the ‘initial buzz’ that stars get when they leave the WWE. It seems, not easier now but different because we are in the iPPV era. Obviously promoters will be coming to you for bookings but you just seem to always be in all the right/relevant places?
Cody: Yea, I’m smart (laughs) no, no. I was really measured with my choices. I wanted to go to places that had buzz and positivity if that makes any sense?
SEScoops: It absolutely does.
Cody: I went to some places that don’t have buzz and positivity (laughs) but I tried as much as I could to be where I could play ‘my music’ where people could hear/see it. It’s definitely easier. If you think about guys like Kevin Owens who cut his teeth in ROH and on independents, he came right before that streaming and social media era of embedded videos. There’s going to be stuff tonight (WCPW) that you’re going to see on Twitter instantly. If you have a brand, say you’re Penta (El Zero M), if you have good social media presence and you put yourself in those places that you talked about it’s just as good as being on cable television.
SEScoops: Exactly, even more so in some ways.
Cody: More people potentially will see it but at their own leisure in their own time.
SEScoops: Also wanted to ask you about the Bullet Club. Did they approach you, or did you approach New Japan?
Cody: It was a little bit symbiotic, I approached New Japan Pro Wrestling as I was told there was interest. I’m not shy about ‘ok if there is I’ll talk to them directly.’ I approached them and we were talking about the best fit. In the process of speaking to them I had developed a direct message friendship with the Young Bucks (through Kevin Owens) and Kenny Omega. It just seemed kind of like a no brainer. I said ‘I want to be a different thing in the Bullet Club,’ ‘I want to be my own entity and I want the American Nightmare to be as strong as it can be.’ It’s like the Young Bucks want to be well presented, The Elite exists within the Bullet Club, like I said it was symbiotic and a real good fit.
SEScoops: On the ‘American Nightmare,’ when it was first announced I thought ‘this makes perfect sense,’ why hadn’t it come about sooner?
Cody: I know it had been suggested before and I think I fought it because I never liked to do a lot of Dusty stuff. Initially when I got in (to WWE) I remember Dean Malenko gave me that great advice of ‘don’t do any of your dad’s stuff otherwise they will cheer him and not you. When you do something cool they’re cheering him and they’re not really cheering you.’ It’s just a unique way of looking at it with him [Dusty] being second generation, so I went about it with that approach. If you take a look, today’s fanbase likes, well you’ve got to give them a little bit of nostalgia. Charlotte Flair is a good example.
Cody: Charlotte is doing Ric, but it’s not Ric because it’s a female. She’s managed to be one of the first I’ve seen who’s doing it and I’m like ‘ok you aren’t JUST doing your dad’s moves, you’re reinventing it, you’re turning it on it’s ear.’ So I’ve loosened up to the idea and when it was suggested this time I was all about it.
SEScoops: I also wanted to ask about your match with Juice Robinson at Wrestle Kingdom this year. It was interesting because you both left the WWE but when you faced him at WK it felt like he was the New Japan guy and you were the invading entity which was strange because Juice hadn’t been there that long.
Cody: But Juice has been ingrained in the system because he went and did the dojo, he legitimately came in, he didn’t have to but he came in as a ‘young boy.’ That’s a feather in his cap that he was able to do that, that is not for me (laughs), I’ve watched the warm ups! I’ve nothing but respect for Juice and David Finlay for going there and saying ‘we’re going to start from scratch here.’ I mean Juice was just in the main event (against Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Title) you know, Juice didn’t lose anything when he lost to me at Wrestle Kingdom which is a nice feeling, and I think you’ll see more of me and Juice down the road. Juice is going to make his way anywhere and everywhere, I like Juice a lot.
SEScoops: It’s really good to see people like that who didn’t get the shot they necessarily deserved (in the WWE) going ‘well I’m going to leave and I’m going to show you just how good I am.’
Cody: I think it’s ok to just say ‘you know what this really isn’t a good fit right now, I’m out.’ I know that he had a really good, classy exit (from WWE) and maintained all of his relationships, he has friends in every company….wrestling is for him for sure.
SEScoops: I know you’ve mentioned recently that you’d possibly like to ‘settle down’ in one company, and there were reports that you’ve signed with ROH. You’ve since categorically said that you haven’t.
Cody: If I sign with ROH EVERYBODY will know, I’ll damn sure make sure of that. It’s ongoing, I said that, I shouldn’t of said it because we still don’t have a clue (laughs) as far as my and my wife (Brandi Rhodes) and what we want to do. The idea of settling down is more an idea of ‘here is where I’ve been and here is what i’ve seen, so here is where I’d like to stay.’ You come in somewhere as a one time guy and you see something really special you think ‘I want to be part of that,’ those are the places you know? Now not all those places work together. I really stand against exclusivity in wrestling at a level beneath WWE, or not beneath WWE but at a level that is not WWE, because exclusivity…you’re hurting yourself. Most of the people that come into that locker room, 90% are adults, professionals, business men and women and they know how to cross these streams without disrespecting either brand, any brand. So when it comes to me and talking exclusivity, I don’t know, it takes a lot. Brandi just wants the money (laughs), I’m kidding.
SEScoops: (laughs) that’s cool, I understand.
SEScoops: Obviously you mentioned Dusty before, a big part of his career was the Four Horseman.
Cody: Oh gosh, that’s like seven years.
SEScoops: If you were to pick who the Four Horsemen have been in your career, who would they be?
Cody: It’s different because I’ve never had a group I’ve rallied against but I do have a series of guys who essentially made my WWE career, I’m not like the Young Bucks they didn’t need WWE, I did. So these men put me here….
- Rey Mysterio is in my Horseman group, he was the one to first say ‘yea I wanna wrestle you at Wrestlemania and YOU tell me how we’re gonna do it.’
- Ok, so Randy Orton for sure, because the amount of matches we had untelevised and televised that I learnt from.
- Shocking answer because for a long time I hated his guts but I definitely don’t hate his guts anymore…Big Show. Another guy who lead me to a singles match at a Wrestlemania and helped me very much. I’m trying to think of guys who I was genuinely tied to and not just guys who I had a small moment with.
- I’d say it’s a toss up between Damien Sandow and Wade Barrett. Wade and I were both a little bit frustrated at the same time and we decided to have fun. I just love Damien because my favourite match in WWE was that Money in The Bank match were I didn’t win, but I was close. To have a moment where you don’t expect a crowd to go a direction and they do is….we all dream of that in wrestling.
SEScoops: Last question, I know you’ve mentioned before about the use of the Rhodes name. Do you feel a little bit liberated where you can just be Cody?
Cody: So, I have a lot of radio interviews that start so bad where they’re like ‘can we call you [Rhodes]?’ Everybody who leads with that I’m like ‘Grrrr,’ and I did just mention that in the Sports Illustrated interview. I love the sympathy that it gets ‘AH THEY WON’T EVEN LET HIM USE THE NAME!’ but the truth is I love when I just see ‘Cody’ on the screen, love it. In my career I’ve had 9 of the 11 [years] to be his son and when he passed away…you know I got the opportunity to be his kid. He has his NXT kids, he has his real kids, half the hall of fame class this year he hired, you know he’s put his stamp on so many people…I’ve used Dusty enough so I don’t mind being Cody. You know who would think it’s really cool? Him. He would love it, I don’t think he would love how it came about (laughs) but he would love it.
SEScoops: It’s respectable because you want to be you.
Cody: If I went to WWE again tomorrow I would ask them not to call me Cody Rhodes. I would just say Cody…and they would have a fit. Vince is just ‘they’ve gotta know who you are!’ Well I worked here for eleven years I think they get it.