Theoretically, when Cody Rhodes returned to WWE from AEW, he would have had less control over his character, right? Like, as an EVP in WWE's first true challenger since WCW, Rhodes had a ton of say over what he did and didn't want to do, with this creative disconnect with Tony Khan likely playing into his decision to leave in the first place.
And yet, even if Rhodes is no longer sitting in the creative meetings, producing matches, and helping to decide on the creative direction of his promotion, that doesn't mean the “Grandson of a Plummer” has simply handed his career over to Paul “Triple H” Levesque in order to become WWE's latest “create-a-wrestler.” No, as the “American Nightmare” noted in an interview with Daniel Cormier, if anything, he's actually become more focused on himself with a lighter touch on the proverbial wheel, as he's attempted to leave the “BS” at the entrance of Titan Tower.
“I'm thinking all me, all the time. I joke with some of my other peers that there are guys that will hit you with the, ‘Oh, I'm trying to help you. This will be good for you.' When you hear it, you're like, ‘Ah, I feel like this is about you.' If I'm the one on the receiving end of that conversation, I kind of just want the truth. That's how I've become,” Cody Rhodes told Daniel Cormier via Fightful. “It's something that, in my documentary I talk about, by no means will it ever be important to her, but one of the things about having my daughter was, I lost my sense of BS. It just became, I think I'm pretty good, I'm better, I want to be better, and how much longer do we have on the clock? You feel like it's never going to end, but it will end at some point. At this moment, I'm not doing any of the things… that is what I was meant to do then, now I feel no problem in saying, ‘Nope, I'm about myself at this moment. I'm about getting it done for me.”
Whether you have a healthy appreciation for the “CodyVerse” or you would have thrown back his weight belt had you been that lucky fan in the Target Center, it's clear Rhodes is living his best life back in the WWE Universe and hopes that the hype, hard work, and hand-wringing he's done over his career will be enough to bring home the “big one” his father never could.
Cody Rhodes reflects on his career-defining Hell in a Cell match with Seth Rollins.
Elsewhere on his SummerSlam promotional tour, Cody Rhodes was asked by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful about arguably the signature moment of his career, defeating Seth Rollins at Hell in a Cell with a purple torn pec practically hanging off of his arm.
For Rhodes, the prospect of losing six months of his career wasn't ideal, but he never felt unsafe in the ring, as Rollins helped to not only get the moment over but do so without inflicting any more physical pain or long-term damage in the process.
“That didn't bother me as much. It was gross seeing the kendo stick going into it. It's also gross, if you ever talk to Doc Dugas and he talks about when they cut me open, it just squirted blood for 90 seconds, just straight in the air. ‘Oh, it's good now,' from all the pressure that had been built up. It didn't bother me as much. The thing about the documentary, I couldn't tell in the sense if it was good, bad, great, anything, because it's about me and is singular to that story. The thing I was trying to get out of there alive with is, I don't like crying. I don't love it, and I am often crying. Crying in an interview, crying in the ring. Something happened to me, and I don't know when because this never was the case. I think because the story is so real, it's just a lot of emotion, and the stakes for me are different from other people's stakes. Not diminishing their stakes, but having my family now, it's an adjustment. I was trying to get out of that doc without crying so much. After a while, it's like, ‘Say something funny.' I didn't want it to be melancholy. Even with the finish, which was going to be somewhat of a dark finish, when watching it, I was crying a lot there,” Rhodes said via Fightful.
“The secret of what we do is, that's a day that was really sacred. I said that Seth made a decision that day that will have forever altered my career. Obviously, not sharing what he did, but I don't think it's not that obvious, I think it's obvious the choice that he made. I already had a lot of respect for him. I don't like talking about him in interviews, he doesn't like talking about me in interviews, but I have a lot of respect for him. That day, my respect grew endlessly. I had a guy come up to me in JFK, and he said, ‘I had heard that Seth was unsafe.' I guess that was a rumor at some point or thing. Buddy, my gosh, no. I'm in there. I've been in there with everybody from every company all over the entire world. Seth is top three of our generation. I don't even know where to put him, but that guy knows what he's doing.”
While Rollins understandably earned a bit of a reputation for Buckle Bombing Sting into retirement, in the years proceeding, the “Visionary” has gone from a star-eyed “Revolutionary” to one of the elder statesmen of the WWE Universe. Though he and Rollins will likely never hit the bar and shoot the you-know-what after an episode of RAW, there appears to be genuine respect between the two performers, which is as nice as it is inspiring.