Recently on E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness, pro wrestling veterans Edge and Christian caught up with ROH's Cody, formerly Cody Rhodes in WWE. Among many other things, Cody talked about owing a life debt to the legendary Rey Mysterio, learning about hard work in WWE, being jealous of Legacy stablemate Ted DiBiase, Jr., and the impetus for leaving WWE in 2016.
"I have a Wookiee life debt to Rey Mysterio and he doesn't even know it." Cody continued, "Rey was kind of the one who ribbed me and brought me into the office that day with Vince [McMahon] and said, 'I want to work Cody at WrestleMania - he [has] got some good ideas.' And I did, thank God. And that's where I think Vince kind of even played me. He said, like, 'oh, do you have it on paper?' and I actually had it on paper in my bag and I handed it to him. And after that, he kind of just grumbled and I got a 'yes' out of that grumble. I owe Rey everything I have, man. He [doesn't] even know. He [doesn't] even spell my name right, C-O-D-E-Y. That's got to be a rib."
Also during the interview, Cody shared that he learned he could always work harder in WWE.
"One thing I consistently learned with WWE, I'm sure [Edge and Christian] both, I know [Edge and Christian] both figured this out over and over again, you think you're working hard, and then you enter something new, you fill that block. And then, you're like, 'gosh, I'm covering this every second of every day.' Like, in that company, you always find out that you could be working harder, I guess, if that makes any sense. There's always this graduated level you're working at."
According to Cody, he was always The Legacy's "fall guy" as DiBiase, Jr. was being groomed for a top spot and group leader Randy Orton was already a top guy.
"With The Legacy particularly, I was the ugly duckling. I had a great spot, but I was the fall guy. Teddy was positioned to be the next Randy. Randy was the man." Cody explained, "I knew I had to supersede Teddy in terms of they put me on SmackDown, they we're expecting much, but they definitely didn't set me up to fail. I started the 'Dashing' Cody Rhodes stuff and during that period, I learned that I had to work a-whole-nother degree harder to compete."
Moreover, Cody admitted that he was "incredibly jealous" of DiBiase, Jr. and had to stop feeling like he had to compete with him as well as other young WWE Superstars occupying the midcard.
"There was this pivotal moment where I had to stop competing with my peers like Dolph Ziggler, and [The] Miz, and DiBiase, and [Jack] Swagger, all those guys." Cody recalled, "there came a moment when I stopped competing with them. We did a South America tour and after a show, Teddy got real drunk on the bus. Many guys get real drunk on the bus. I loved Teddy, but I was really jealous of him, just incredibly jealous of him. And he came into catering and he was so drunk only one eye was open, and he's kind of just like slurring his words, and he approached the piano. It was a really nice piano in the middle of South America, like this balcony overlooking the water, and all this. And he flipped the piano lid up real hard and I was like, 'oh no, this is going to be a mess.' And he sat down and with one eye, he starts playing, and he starts playing some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard from a piano and he's just smashed, just destroyed. And I actually remember I told someone at the table, 'do you know what? I'm done. I'm done competing with him. He's just… I'm just going to compete with myself because when you're a [WWE] Hall Of Famer's son and you don't have to work very hard to get the gig, it becomes a matter of once you get the gig, you have to work incredibly hard to even get in your own discussion."
With the evolution of the mentally unstable Cody Rhodes character being played out on WWE TV, Cody expected he would finally be over in WWE as an amalgam of all of his past characters.
"I always kind of felt, like, stuff was clicking with 'Dashing' Cody Rhodes, stuff with the mask clicked more, but it wasn't clicking to the level of, like, 'holy smokes, he's going to win Money In The Bank and he's our next guy'. It was clicking to a degree, so after a while, I started to think, especially around the Stardust period, I started to think, 'maybe this is going to be my thing is that when I finally get super to where I want to get, when I finally win, I'm going to be a combination of all these things' because I did like to commit." Cody added, "I always liked to commit to the spots that I got. I really committed to Stardust because I thought it was so ridiculous that if you didn't commit it would just be sad. Like, you had to really commit to it and own it or otherwise you could see Cody in it and that was sad, versus, when the lights are up, Stardust."
On the subject of leaving WWE, Cody revealed that it was a difficult decision given the relationships he had with many people involved with the company.
"Leaving [WWE] was really difficult, but it was also the easiest decision I had ever made. It was difficult because I had a family. 19 years old, I go to OVW, and I have my friends, and I have little Zack Ryder, he's still there, and I have Dustin [Runnels]." Cody said, "I've got family there and I've got Arn [Anderson], who… Arn is a huge part… all these people, whatever. And that was hard to not tell them because this was a decision I had to make."
During the podcast, Cody explained that he wanted to stop being Stardust following the passing of Cody's father, WWE Hall Of Famer Dusty Rhodes. WWE brass seemed "receptive" to Cody going back to the Cody Rhodes character, yet it seemed like empty words said so much without a plan.
"I wanted to go back to being Cody Rhodes." Cody professed, "Vince was being receptive to it. Hunter was being receptive to it. The problem was they were taking too long. And my dad had just [passed]. It may have been a minute, but he passed away. And there was some inner turmoil and when you have that inner turmoil, the last thing you want is turmoil at work, I think. And I just couldn't handle it. It was sad. It was sad to put on that suit. It was like being a sad clown, literally. It was sad. And I knew they were receptive and thought maybe this was a good idea, but I needed it now. It just came to, 'I'm going to leave, you don't get to fire me, but you also don't get to fix me. I'm going to go out and I'm going to fix myself. And who knows what I'm going to do after that?'"
Whoa-oh! If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness