When Cody Rhodes stepped in the ring with a torn pec at Hell in a Cell at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, in 2022, the “American Nightmare” had to know that something magical was about to happen.

On paper, the match had everything going for it: drama, suspense, intrigue, and the very real chance that no matter how the match shook out, Rhodes would be out of action for months due to his injury, but few expected it to reach the levels of in-ring mastery presented, with Rhodes earning his third five-star match from Dave Meltzer for his efforts.

Speaking with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his The Dale Jr. Download podcast, Rhodes reflected on one of the signature matches of his career, how things went down in the ring, and how the fans reacted to his injury.

“It's one of the strangest audience reactions I've ever had,” Cody Rhodes said via Wrestling Inc. “I didn't know, would they think this is cool? Really what it came across was, we don't know how to feel about this. Talking about myself, he seems like he's very injured, half of my body at that point. It was a complete tear, thing was ripped to shreds. And that bruise just kept getting bigger and bigger, and it was running down. I thought I might have some other problems in my bicep and stuff because it was just getting bigger and bigger. I cramped up too, so it's ripped off from here, but it's still hanging up here, and all of a sudden it shot up real high. It looked like I had a giant chest.”

Was Rhodes wise to wrestle with a torn pec? No, probably not, but hey, as he's noted in the past, the injury couldn't really get much worse, as his pec was clean off the bone; why not secure a win and make a lasting memory in the process?

Cody Rhodes reveals his father's love of Dale Earnhardt.

Elsewhere on The Dale Jr. Download, Cody Rhodes commented on the unique experience he and Dale Earnhardt Jr. share as the sons of all-time legends. Unsurprisingly, Rhodes' father Dusty was a huge fan of racecar driving and was a supporter of Dale Sr., too, because of his showmanship.

“My dad was a monster fan. Monster fan. Your dad was his absolute favorite. My sister Teil was so excited I was coming on (this show). My dad sat there and watched every race. He had a very specific taste. He was a showman, so he loved your dad. He loved that there was a presence, almost a gimmick, and the gimmick was backed up by ‘he's that good.' He had this odd, not dislike, but he was never into Richard Petty. It was Dale. Watching you, he and my mom, big time fans. These races are long. When you're a kid, he's plugged in on the couch. He loved it so much,” Cody Rhodes said via Fightful.

“He had this one moment where, Daytona, when your father passed, he was doing a show in Georgia, a small independent show, and he was devastated. He didn't know, ‘do we say anything to the crowd.' Georgia, they have roots and love this, I remember the drive home with him, different times he watched, and how excited he was. He was a huge fan and by far, your family was the favorite. He didn't like Jeff Gordon. He has specific taste. He tried to explain to me, ‘Richard Petty is like George Strait. Dale is like Garth Brooks. The show, the gripping,' that was his big comparison to explain it to me. I'd needle him. He'd be watching racing all day, and my sister and I would say we like this person more, just to get him upset and kick us out of the room.”

Is it surprising that Dusty was a huge fan of NASCAR racing? In a word, no; the elder Rhodes was a southern boy through and through, and it makes sense that he would fancy a drive he felt shared his love of larger-than-life showmanship. Still, with both Rhodes and Earnhardt no longer with us, it must have been surreal for the two second-generation stars to discuss their lives and careers together, as few others know the experience of having a parent on the Mount Rushmore of their respective sports. No matter how much they accomplish in their respective careers, it will always be compared to a legendary legacy, making the success of both Cody and Dale Jr. all the more impressive.