AEW Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes is still hoping to have a match with the legendary Sting before the WWE Hall of Famer hangs his boots up.

Rhodes has expressed interest in a match with The Stinger in the past. He recently spoke with Kenny McIntosh for Inside The Ropes magazine and said a Rhodes vs. Sting match has not been discussed or penciled in for upcoming plans, but he’s still hoping to have the match while Sting is still with the company. Cody said Sting is a huge part of who he is, and what AEW does, and he also loves Sting’s love for his father, the late WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes.

“I absolutely was adamant about wanting to do a match with him and it’s not something that’s been discussed or contracted or anything like that but, while he’s here, I still would hope that it happens,” Cody said. “He’s such a huge part of who I am and he was such a d*ck to me on the second week when he showed up, and I love that. And I love his love for my dad as well.

“Sting is a big part of what we do. What a different company when you can have Sting there and Jack Evans in the same company. That’s what AEW does better than any. It’s such a diverse roster.”

Cody credited AEW boss Tony Khan with bringing Sting in. He noted how Tony let him in on the process of signing the WCW Legend, and believe he did that out of respect for his fandom.

“Sting is entirely Tony’s. He let me in on the process of it and I got to be there to help facilitate it to a small degree but, more than anything, I think he did that out of respect for my fandom,” Cody said. “Sting was my favorite wrestler growing up and he’s a big part of my childhood. I’ve modeled a lot of the babyface I’d like to be after the babyface that Sting was. So for him to be involved in what we do is massive.”

Cody praised the AEW medical team in getting the 62 year old Sting cleared for in-ring action. Sting’s last match before signing with AEW was at the 2015 WWE Night of Champions pay-per-view, where he suffered a neck injury at the hands of Seth Rollins.

“The process of getting him cleared really comes down to having a great medical team,” Cody said. “I can’t say enough about Doc Sampson and what he’s set up for AEW. I came back through the curtain after Double Or Nothing and someone handed me a bottle of electrolytes, one of the Young Lion type medical trainees that he has because he always has a group of interns and students. I mean, really, I don’t believe in so much of that stuff.

“I’m a dumb old school wrestler. At least I try to pretend to be. But that’s how you prolong your career. It’s the ice baths, it’s the kinesiology, it’s the actual attention to detail on nutrition.”

Cody continued and talked more about Sting’s health and what he was capable of at this point in his career. He said they knew Sting is able to have an actual match after seeing his performance in the cinematic Street Fight at Revolution back in March, where Sting and Darby Allin defeated Team Taz.

“Sting joined the healthiest company he could possibly join,” Cody said. “And it wasn’t a matter of ever getting him cleared, he’s got to do that through his doctors and our doctors, but more than anything, I don’t know if we thought Sting was going to have a ‘match’ match. Until I saw the level of intensity that the cinematic was—probably more intense than an actual live 12-15 minute match—that’s when I knew, personally, he can have a match.

“You’re only as good as your dancing partner and when people talk about somebody who might be medically—they might have a handicap, they might have an issue—what we do, we protect that. That’s our job is to protect that.”

Sting has only worked against Brian Cage, FTW Champion Ricky Starks, Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky since coming to AEW, and has teamed with Allin in all of those bouts. Cody had more praise for Sting’s AEW opponents, and added that there is no pressure for Sting to perform or prove anything.

“I think it’s a matter of Sting having good opponents,” Cody said. “You put Ethan Page in the ring with Sting, he’s going to be just fine. He’s going to be able to shine and take care of himself, and give the fans what they want. That’s the key. You’ve got to have a good dancing partner and you’ve got to know what you’re able to do.

“I think he’s just now seeing that there’s a lot under the water, the tip of the iceberg with the Stinger. But if at any point he would want to scale it back, he’s still a huge part of our team. We’re there. There’s no pressure on him to perform. He has nothing to prove to anybody.”