Cody Rhodes is one of professional wrestling's brightest stars. The son of legend Dusty Rhodes, Cody was part of the WWE for most of his career but after departing the sports-entertainment titan last year he set to make a name for himself and carve out his own legacy.
As the newest member of Bullet Club, fans have seen a new side to the man now simply called Cody as he aims to fulfill his conquest for championship gold and having the best time of his life while doing so.
ComicBook.com caught up to the second-generation star about his career post-WWE, the relationships he has with multiple wrestling promotions, and what it means to wear that Bullet Club black and white.
CB: Cody, when you first left WWE, you made this list of names and it seems it's almost complete.
Cody Rhodes: Yeah the list is really is kinda nearing completion. There are a couple of untouchables. I don't know if they're impossible, but guys at the time like Roderick Strong and then there's Adam Cole. I feel like I need to cross Cole off the list because we've ended up teaming together. I mean, there's no right way to get crossed off the list as it was more of an insurance policy for fans. You don't know how many times you see guys who get released or ask for their release and then do a vague statement like the best is yet to come or stayed tuned and I hate all those things. That's why I made the list. These are real people and trying to make as many of them happen.
So talk about Bullet Club. Who sent you the invite?
You know what, it might have been Kenny talking to me about this whole Bullet Club thing. Who's in, who's out, who's honorary, he said it's all about who's cool. You can't teach cool. I'm sure you have friends who are cool and some who are not cool, you know what I'm saying? This bad boys club is the cool kid's table. It sounds terrible as I say it, but if you look at Ring of Honor, the guys in Bullet Club have the longest autograph lines and tend to put on the best matches.
That for me sets the bar. Kenny Omega having the match of many years and the Bucks put on great matches always sets the bar even higher. I'm not happy just being in Bullet Club, we're out there competing with each other to have the best match or the best moment and when you're surrounded by guys like Kenny Omega, the Bucks, Adam Cole, and Hangman Page that's really difficult to do. You don't always top your peers, but it's always a friendly competition.
At a recent Ring of Honor taping, it seems things were pretty tense between you and Adam Cole. What's up with that?
Well, I think Adam Cole is somebody who, for those monitoring this crazy world, I think they are aware that Adam is going through something at the moment. Will he stay with ROH forever? Will he be moving on? Is he unable to maintain his Bullet Club status considering that he and Kenny Omega have beef, but I think he's answered all those questions that you'll see eventually. I trust Adam Cole implicitly.
In a calendar year, you were the first guy to do WrestleMania, Battle of Los Angeles, Bound for Glory, Final Battle, and WrestleKingdom. What was that tour like for you?
Yeah, first and likely only guy because I don't how I got through a lot of the red tape. I think maybe I'm lucky because of who my dad was. They don't necessarily let me run through the red tape, but definitely slide under it.
It was really, really difficult just looking at logistics. From WrestleKingdom to a legit 17 hours on a plane and changing into my tights in the back of a little British taxi cab to fight Zack Sabre, Jr in Liverpool in a building the Beatles played at in the dead of winter with no heat in the locker room. It's just been logistically stupid on my part. I mean, you don't want to show up to these things half-dead, but it was a real honor to cover all that ground.
Starting with WrestleMania and while I didn't win that match, I watched maybe one of the most deserving people in the industry, Zack Ryder, win and get to celebrate with his dad and it was all so touching even when I was legit stuck in the ladder at the time.
At Bound For Glory, I think Mike Bennett is one of the most overall talented guys out there. In terms of what our industry does, it was just cool to stand across from him and have my wife a part of it as well.
WrestleKingdom I went up against Juice Robinson who repaid all his dues, even when he didn't have to by going to the New Japan Dojo and just a great experience. My match with Sami Callahan with at Battle of Los Angeles is one of my favorite moments of the year. Even with Final Battle if there was ever a place I was like "you know what, I could stay here" it would be Ring of Honor. Even though I was fined a very small amount when I flipped the table it was still a really unique experience.
Can you talk about your relationship with the companies you're involved in? One minute you're at an Impact taping wearing a Bullet Club shirt and the next you're at Ring of Honor. What's the legality of it all?
It's all illegal. Let's be honest. I thought the Bullet Club shirt would have been digitized out on Impact, it was not. The positive thing that came from that was that people were asking if they could buy that shirt. I wear that Bullet Club sweatshirt everywhere, too. I guess it's just another thing you can get away with if you're a bratty second-generation kid.
My whole relationships with the companies are all really good. My relationship with Impact and Jeff Jarrett has been great. Jarrett and my family have done business for years and years and I never met him until recently. He's a smart guy who wants young talent to succeed and you can see that. He wants to groom and move the young talent forward.
My relationship with Ring of Honor is just incredible. They're incredibly organized from their merch to their signings to the position they put me in right away. I have a lot of love for Ring of Honor. I also appreciate their business side of things with their team that runs all of the business because wrestling running that kind of stuff isn't always a great idea. They're super organized and I really, really like them.
I mean they let me ride a motorcycle down for Supercard of Honor, then raffle that motorcycle for pediatric cancer, and the fact I didn't know how to ride one until five minutes before the show, they're just good folks.
You seem to be this creature of reinvention so how would you describe your wrestling persona these days?
This is always a good question. When asked who Cody Rhodes is, I thought the answer was kind of obvious. Like you said, he's a creature of reinvention, but in that time I was still able to get in the ring with the Undertaker when he was full time, Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, and I learned from these guys.
One of the most exciting things I learned from them was that doing Stardust that I learned to get out of my shell a little more. So when I was out of the paint, I was still able to get out of my shell and I didn't have to be just a Create-A-Wrestler. I think that's what we're seeing right now; it's a combination of all these things. The reality of my story is 100%: I'm a second-generation wrestler who has been the opposite of everything my father was. I've never stopped training to be better at it. I've been on their TV sets since I was 20 years old, and I think I'm beginning to get it.
Your ring attire was designed by comic artist Ramon Villalobos. Can you talk about some of the influences that went with it?
Sure! Ramon used a bunch of Star Wars imagery for these. The first concept was sort of Han Solo, even with the belt that his blaster goes on. The Austin-Hall Eagle that is on the side was originally a big Mandalorian skull. Well obviously I'm not a Mandalorian, and that's not a thing. The Austin-Hall eagle used to be on the side of the boots of guys like Dusty Rhodes, Barry Windham, Blackjack Mulligan...you know, those guys. Bray Wyatt might be the only person who recognizes the Austin-Hall eagle. It's not a phoenix.
Ramon did a great job. He added a little snakeskin and guys in the back when they see it always have questions about how designed it and run their fingers on it without asking and that actually makes me very happy. It was like Rey Mysterio back in the day would have his gear out and it was so professional and cool and when you asked where he got it made, he'd never tell you.
I'm fairly certain he wanted the green and brown because of Zelda, but I wouldn't call them "Zelda-themed" tights.
It's only April and you've already managed to capture some gold. What is your ultimate plan for 2017?
I love it when people ask me even the very small promotions do you want to be in a title match and the answer is always absolutely. I'm here to make it clear that I am a full-blown collector. I'm going full Benicio Del Toro, you know what I mean? I'm out for titles. I want all of them!
You attended the ROH taping so you have a little bit of a spoiler of where I'll go and what I'll do, but that's not a coincidence that it looks like a confrontation between me and Christopher Daniels. That guy is amazing and has laid out an incredible body of work. That's the type of guy that defines Ring of Honor and I'm the sort of anti-Ring of Honor and those are the types of matches I look forward to. I think I'm 100 times better than him and I look forward to it.
Does this mean you'll finally get a rematch with Glacier for his Turnbuckle Championship?
Oh, so, now that Glacier has resurfaced after being my health coach, the lacrosse coach at my high school, and being a Turnbuckle Championship alumni I'm excited about this thing next week is south Georgia called Bulletproof Wrestling. Luke Gallows, myself, and Joey Mercury are pretty much starting from scratch with stuff we learned from the Turnbuckle days and I've been in charge of recruiting this thing. And believe me, I'd be all about that match. I'd probably tag with him since I love Ray, but I'm all about that. I'm just glad he had fun with the Joey Janela thing.