Ring Of Honor world champion Dalton Castle was recently a guest on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast. During the interview, Castle discussed his rivalry with Cody Rhodes.
Since leaving the WWE, Rhodes has reinvented himself on the independent circuit and is enjoying the best run of his career. Castle defeated Rhodes to win his first ROH world title at Final Battle in December. Despite their rivalry, Castle said he respects how Rhodes has evolved since joining ROH.
"ROH has never really been the company to rely on the popularity of others to excel the others that we have built. ROH itself, for the past 15 years has been its own thing. When guys get released from WWE we don't immediately pick them up and make them our next champion, that hasn't happened in history. Cody [Rhodes] was a unique case," Castle said. "He decided to take a step out and put in a lot of effort to reinvent himself and bring a lot of eyes onto 'Cody' the performer, not Cody the former WWE guy, and because he was doing that, Ring of Honor appreciated it and I think all the fans of ROH saw that and accepted him as one of our own. He was a Bullet Club member too, which also helped and escalated things. He came to our company and brought a lot of eyes with him, which is great because ROH is such a good show and a nice little breath of fresh air with a different type of wrestling. People don't know about it until they are brought in by somebody like him, and the ones that get here. We have people like Jay Lethal, Matt Taven, Silas [Young], all people keeping those new viewers."
Castle also had some praise for the entire Bullet Club, saying he admires how they've been able to build an immense following despite not being part of a mainstream company like the WWE. He said their popularity around the world is unmatched so it gives him something to aspire to because he wants to achieve financial success the way they did.
"I would be lying to say that I don't look at those guys and don't have a little bit of envy at the amount of success they have had with merchandise sales and just the overwhelming popularity that they have all over the world," Castle said. "It's insane how the Young Bucks have taken their brands to a whole other level without having that big 'machine' backing them or a big brand behind them, and I feel that because of that they have elevated the entire world of Professional Wrestling with them, but nobody is on the level that they are.
"We went to Dublin, Ireland the week before Final Battle, and it was me and The Boys vs Marty Scurll and the Young Bucks, and 2,000 people in Ireland are yelling lines and catchphrases from "Being the Elite' show, which blew my mind," he continued. "We are on the other side of the world and they have made an impact without anybody helping them along the way, and you see that. All these guys on the Bullet Club get to ride along them and have their shirts be sold at Hot Topic, and have these giant sales online. Everywhere they go they are associated with them as well, so immediately they are at an advantage to everybody else. That being said, watching where I came from, or as my wife constantly reminds me, keeps me humble from where I started, that I built myself to this point that I didn't coast myself alongside anybody else, which I am very thankful and happy but my bank account is not."
As the ROH world champion, Castle takes a lot of pride in being an independent wrestler. At 31 years old, he's entering the prime of his career. He said he has not thought about joining the WWE at this point because he hopes to help ROH grow as a company.
"I look at someone like Bobby Fish, [Adam] Cole and Kyle O'Reilly and I am really happy for them because that was the inevitable next step for those guys. I don't think that is my next step at this moment, I just won the title and to think that far down the road," he said. "First thing is that I have another year left with Ring of Honor guaranteed so to think passed that would be unfair for the company that i work for and unfair to the effort I am putting on now. What I see now, after I won this title I think of what I have done with ROH I always want to do more things bigger and better, and would like ROH to do that."
If you use any of the quotes that appear in this article, please credit the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.