How Video Games And Comic Books Influenced Cody Rhodes' Wrestling Style

Throughout his career, Cody Rhodes has put references on his ring gear that acknowledge some of his biggest influences in the entertainment world.

The second-generation professional wrestling star has said in the past that he's long worn secret symbols and colors that reference characters from his favorite video games and comic books. At the same time, Rhodes has said he's also drawn from comic books and video games to help craft parts of his wrestling personality.

"There are so many portions of my wrestling career that have these parallels and correlations with comics," Rhodes told IGN in 2016 after he made a guest appearance on "Arrow" opposite Stephen Amell.

While fans know Rhodes often draws most of his influence from his late father, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, he told back in 2009 that he's also been approaching pro wrestling with the mindset of his favorite superheroes.

"I grew up with the cult characters and I was, as you can guess, a big Archangel fan, but I was an even bigger Omega Red fan. I feel like Omega Red gets no play — when there's a perfect opportunity to present Omega Red, he's not there anymore," Rhodes revealed. He also said he enjoys Cyclops "because he was always the leader, always the guy who took charge even though it was about Wolverine to so many other people. He was the man who took the burden of leading the team, of living up to Xavier's ideals, and took all the criticism when he tried to apply those teachings."

Rhodes said that comic books make him "feel a bit worldly because they take you places — places that are fictional, but you're still traveling with these characters and that's where it helped me the most." So, at times, Rhodes has decided to bring the characters on the road with him — or, at least, references to them.

Hidden References On Rhodes' Ring Gear

The next time you watch Rhodes in the ring, you might just find a character reference from your favorite game or comic book if you look closely enough. In 2009, Rhodes told he'd been wearing new tights "inspired by Archangel of the X-Men." Rhodes said the tights were "strong" with the character's trademark blue and pink colors. "I was so excited about it because they're dead on."

Rhodes also revealed in another interview with ESPN that he'd started wearing a triforce symbol on his wrestling boots, made popular in "The Legend of Zelda" video game series. He first shared an image of the boots on Twitter, which he wore during the WWE's Battleground pay-per-view in 2013.

"Some kids like books, some kids like movies, but for me, every year I still go back and play 'Legend of Zelda,' " he told ESPN. "So to me, when I got up to the big time, I thought that Zelda was my thing. CM Punk has a Pepsi tattoo, so why can't I have the Triforce? Gaming is huge to me, it's all I do." 

And more recently, Rhodes has changed his physical appearance to reference his favorite characters, while trying to build deeper stories about his own career trajectory. In 2020, he said during an AEW interview that he dyed his hair black in reference to Superman's "The Death of Superman" comic when the hero changes his look and turns bad. Face or heel, it's clear Rhodes will find a character from his favorite comic books or video games to match the mold of his own.