As a vice president of All Elite Wrestling, Cody Rhodes has come a long way since his wrestling debut in 2006. Cody started off in WWE's developmental territory, OVW, where one of his tag partners was the recently-released Tye Dillinger.
Cody spoke to Wrestling Inc. today for our WINCLY podcast where he discussed what Dillinger meant to him back then and how he would help Dillinger moving forward.
"I have a lot of respect for Tye, because that poor dude...when I got to OVW I had about three months of wrestling experience and was given a WWE contract solely because I was Dusty's son," said Cody. "They paired me with him as a tag partner and he was so technically sound and ahead of me. He never once looked at me as a nuisance as he hid my weaknesses and accentuated my strengths."
Dillinger announced on Twitter that he had requested and received his WWE release and he thanked them for the opportunity.
"We're friends and I have a lot of love and respect for him and how he put his statement out. He thanked them for their time, but he's an artist and you can't put a dollar figure on how you play your music," stated Cody. "If that's true, then I'm happy for him and I'll loan him whatever resources I have to help him on his way because he loves the industry."
As a VP of AEW, Cody is much more than just a wrestler as he will also be looking for new talent. He discussed what he specifically looks for when scouting wrestlers.
"Everyone's looking for something different as there's four of us," Cody said of himself and fellow VPs The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. "I know that shocks everyone but I think it's a good thing.
"For me, the No. 1 thing I look for is a hard worker. You'd be surprised at how many fake wrestlers there are in wrestling. Guys that wrestle two weekends a month and go out with the boys and think they are rock stars, but they are not. Wrestling is a touring show and you've got to be getting your reps in."
Cody then mentioned someone who personifies what he looks for in a wrestler and that person may surprise some people.
"I'll give you an example… Joey Janela. He's not Lex Luger in his appearance, but that doesn't matter," said Cody. "What matters to me is that he's constantly trying to entertain his fans and his base. He's not trying to entertain everybody, but he's entertaining his base."
Cody commends guys who are constantly thinking wrestling such as doing interviews in their car or in their mirror. He also is seeking a freshness when it comes to AEW prospects.
"I'm looking for hard workers that have not been oversaturated. We can't just say, 'Hey ex-WWE. Bam! Here's a contract.' It's more about the fresh and the individual that hasn't gotten the call yet. They can grow up in our company and in front of people's eyes," said Cody. "That's a huge responsibility and we have a big responsibility to these guys. I always thought it was ridiculous when a part-time guy in WWE came in and worked with another part-timer. No! You're supposed to bring them up. Reach your hand down there and grab them.
"A big responsibility is to build characters that engage with the audience. That is the No. 1 thing that I am most excited about is these young guys and girls that we can build."
Cody also commented on reports that Arn Anderson was released from his producer position with WWE.
"I can't really speak to that because I don't know if it's confirmed," stated Cody. "But that would really shock me if Arn was let go because Arn is responsible for every current top guy. Seth Rollins, John Cena, Charlotte – it's all Arn.
"Arn is definitely not corporate and that's a compliment. You can't take wrestling out of wrestling people. You can't. Hopefully that's not true. He would be valuable anywhere he went whether it's staying in WWE, the Performance Center, an indie show with 20 people, at New Japan, at ROH, at AEW. Wherever he goes, he'd be valuable."
Cody's full interview will air this coming Tuesday on our WINCLY podcast. In it he also discusses the future venues they have begun to scout, AEW TV deal, how he is recovering from injury, a possible AEW training center, scouting talent and more.
You can check out past episodes of the WINCLY here.