To continue his experience with different characters in WWE, Cody Rhodes turned into "Stardust" during his alliance with Goldust after going on a losing streak while teaming with his brother and feeling that he was not good enough to be his partner. Initially, the brothers resumed their spot in the tag team division, even winning the titles for a second time, before Stardust disassociated himself with Goldust.
Stardust as a heel did not accomplish much, losing to Goldust shortly following their break-up, as well as a string of losses before he asked for his release against names including Apollo Crews, Zack Ryder, Dolph Ziggler, and Sami Zayn. His comic book inspired feud with actor Stephen Amell led to a match at SummerSlam 2015, in which he and King Barrett were defeated by Amell and Neville.
When Rhodes' release was granted, he explored the independent scene for the first time in his career, competing for numerous promotions. While competing, Cody remained appearing as Cody Rhodes. However, it was reported by the Wrestling Observer that he was not allowed to come out as Cody Rhodes while on television due to WWE having the rights to the Rhodes name. To confirm this, the former Intercontinental Champion appeared in Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and New Japan Pro Wrestling as "Cody," and occasionally as "Cody R." The only time Rhodes would be affiliated with his name was when he would appear with his wife, as they were introduced as "Cody and Brandi Rhodes."
In a 2017 interview with Sports Illustrated, Cody confirmed not being able to use the Rhodes name, stating that it is indeed an intellectual property issue, and he vowed to get the Rhodes name back. However, he also admitted that the longer he performs without the Rhodes name, the more he became comfortable with not having it.
"There is something to not always reminding people of a show they've already seen, but instead embracing the one right in front of him," Cody said. "I am Cody, and I can promise you that the future is going to be even better than the past."
Recently, a user on Twitter sent a tweet about WWE preventing Cody from using the Rhodes name outside of the company, while Velveteen Dream "is referred to as 'Dream.'" He added, "nothing against Patrick Clark, but come on."
Cody shut down this comment, putting over Velveteen Dream as a great talent.
"Nobody is keeping me from using my last name. There's no evil plot," Cody said. "He could call himself 'blue eyed velveteen American dream soul jr' and I wouldn't be offended. He's very talented and not hurting anybody. Besides, we Rhodes always make a comeback. We endure."
Instead of being concerned about the Rhodes name at the present time, Cody has his sights set on joining Austin Aries, Jay Briscoe, and Adam Cole as the only wrestlers in company history to win the ROH World Championship two times or more, as he competes in the triple threat main event against Dalton Castle and Marty Scurll at tonight's Best in the World pay-per-view. If Cody is able to capture the title, the main event for "All-In" on September 1 will be changed from an NWA World Championship match to a title vs. title match, per the agreement made with Cody and Nick Aldis.