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Cody Rhodes says he felt ‘dead inside’ playing Stardust during last WWE run

The 2023 Royal Rumble winner said playing the character in front of his wife Brandi was ‘one of the hardest things’, and helped him realize he had to leave the company

WWE Live 2014 - Frankfurt Photo by Simon Hofmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

Coming off one of the biggest moments in his career — and getting ready for the possibility of an even bigger one at WrestleMania 39 in a couple months — Cody Rhodes is on the interview circuit. His latest stop was on After The Bell to talk to Corey Graves & Kevin Patrick.

During the course of their conversation, Rhodes shared an anecdote to illustrate how frustrating it was for him to not be able to break through as a top guy during his initial WWE run (from 2007-2016):

“I’m at the TV hotel. It’s a smaller market. We’re at a Best Western, which was the TV hotel shockingly. And I’m not knocking our Best Westerns out there people. But anyways, I’m at this Best Western, and I’m sitting in a rental car with Brandi [his wife]. It’s freezing because we were in Scranton [Pennsylvania] — it’s freezing, freezing. We were outside the bus, crew bus was right in front of us. It had The Rock and had the John Cena photo on it from the second ‘Mania [29]. So we’ve already seen this bus for over a year now, but this story was encompassing really two years.

“This story — the John vs Rock saga, it was wonderful. But when you’re on the card, not close to that — and at my level, I had been chipping away a little bit. Brass rings here and there, but I hadn’t broken through by any means. I just got so tired of seeing their dang faces. I love John. He was my role model in the business. He’s a rental car guy with me until he got a bus. But as much as I did, I just was getting so upset. I told her ‘I can’t keep looking at the same guys. I can’t.’

“I got out the car and I threw a Yoo-hoo glass bottle up against beautiful Dwayne Johnson’s face. There might have been somebody sleeping on this crew bus for all I knew. It shattered everywhere and I just stared at him, like I wanted to fight this giant head on the side of this bus. I remember telling her, you marry a wrestler, you’re marrying wrestling. As bad as this is, this is part of it. I gotta get this out, and getting it out for me ultimately would lead to me leaving was the only way I could get it out. It was pent-up. It was pent-up for too long.”

“You know, today you’ve got a medical team at WWE that includes mental health services. I’m not saying that I was deep down the rabbit hole, but it’s still so helpful to talk to somebody. I only had other wrestlers to talk to, myself to talk to.

“You never want to lower yourself in front of your beloved, in front of your wife. That was one of the hardest things for me was being Stardust in front of Brandi. That was rough. When Brandi married Cody Rhodes, he was the Intercontinental champion. He was wrestling Randy Orton every night, and we were absolutely tearing the joints down. Next thing you know, I’m running around in this space outfit and trying to make the best of it, but I was very dead inside.

“We were right near a critical mass because I remember the next conversation was, ‘Here’s what needs to happen.’ And what I said what needs to happen next, everyone told me not to do. But gotta bet on ourselves wherever we are, and I needed to then.

“Also to this day, I don’t know why I was drinking a Yoo-hoo.”

Definitely seems like he made the right bet. And based on the abs he’s rocking these days, I’d bet that was one of Cody’s last Yoo-hoos.

Listen to Rhodes entire chat with Graves & KP here.

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