Like father, like son? Not so much for Cody Rhodes in one particular aspect as a wrestler and an executive vice president of AEW.
Dynamite is heading to the Dallas area for the Dec. 11 episode. Cody sat down with Joey Hayden of The Dallas Morning News. One topic of conversation was Cody being removed from the World Championship picture after losing to Chris Jericho at Full Gear. Cody wanted to be careful walking the line between booker and wrestler that fans would sometimes criticize his father, Dusty Rhodes, of taking advantage.
“It was solely my decision. Tony was not a fan of it, but he understood why I wanted to do it. And I heard both sides of the argument.
Right now, I’m in a spot with the fans that I’ve never been in before. I’ve never gotten reactions like this. I’ve never been as good as I am in the ring right now. You know, men’s wrestler prime is 35 [years old], that’s what everyone always says. I’m 34. So, I think I’m almost there. ... But also, I don’t want to face any of the criticisms or any of the asterisks that my dad [Dusty Rhodes] faced because they weren’t fair to his legacy.
When he was with [Jim Crockett Promotions], people talk about all that, he made everybody at Crockett rich. Him and Ric Flair were the top stars. When you’re the top stars, they’re what the people wanted to see. But they all received that criticism later on, the political aspect of it. I figured I would just take a different path.
It’s not going to stop me from wrestling. It’s not going to stop me from even main-eventing if the match calls for it. But the title doesn’t belong to me. And unless the fans really wanted me to be champion, to wouldn’t belong to me. So right now, I’m happy with that decision.”
That is a reflective attitude from Cody. It shows the foresight to anticipate valid complaints from fans, but I feel it also gives naysayers too much power at the same time. There will always be a contingent of fans of any product that look for reasons to make a fuss. Even if it takes three years for Cody to be top champ, people will gripe about abuse of his power. I’d say put on the best show they can, whether that means Cody as kingpin or pushing papers backstage, and let the chips fall where they may.
Who could be the top guy down the road if Cody continues to take a backseat? He points to a special luchador of one thousand lives, Fenix, as a future star to keep an eye on.
“I would say everyone who you see weekly because it’s like a list, basically, a short list of people like Luchasaurus, like Kris Statlander, Shida, Riho, Nyla, people like Jungle Boy – even people like MJF. I mean, you can look at their faces and see the youth in their faces. But it’s very easy to kind of see it in their performance, there is something incredibly special and they’re going to grow up in front of you. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention who I think is probably the best wrestler that you don’t know about, and that being Rey Fenix. Rey Fenix is something very, very special and I’m glad we have him.”
An endorsement of Fenix is music to my ears. The current heel Fenix is a tad curmudgeonly for my taste, but I believe he’ll eventually find the babyface light as his AEW singles career blossoms in the future. Perhaps one day we’ll get an epic brother versus brother feud with Pentagon at a major PPV event.
The whole interview is an interesting read. It covers Cody’s thoughts on AEW having a responsibility to be a true alternative, only having one show per week, working with his brother Dustin, influence on better pay for women and health insurance, and the Dallas Cowboys’ season. Check it out here.
What do you think about Cody’s attitude of trying to balance his office role with his wrestling role? How would you have booked Cody’s championship aspirations if you were in his shoes?