Cody Rhodes is currently itching for a non-title fight with Brock Lesnar, but he remains central to discussions about WWE’s top championship belts — both the two he failed to win from Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania 39, and the new one Triple H announced last week on Raw.
Taking the WWE & Universal titles from Reigns was supposed to be represent Cody finished his family’s story, winning the one belt his late father Dusty never did in his Hall of Fame career. There have been debates about whether losing that match was good or bad for Cody in the long-term. The current consensus seems to be that the new World Heavyweight title is a consolation prize, and that Rhodes becoming the first person to carry it would be bad for both his and its standing in the company.
What does Cody think? He tackled those topics in a recent interview with ComicBook.com’s Matt Aguilar.
Asked about Paul Heyman’s comments that losing to Roman at ‘Mania made the American Nightmare a bigger star because of the redemption arc it lays out for him, Rhodes said he thinks Heyman might be playing mind games with him. It’s his entry into a great answer that mixes work and shoot, explains why he hasn’t mentioned The Bloodline’s interference in the match on television, and reiterates that beating Reigns for his belts is still what he has to do to “finish the story”.
“Reacting to losing at WrestleMania — here we are, the most profitable WrestleMania of all time, the most important show ever involved, this collective thing that fans love, and to be able to main event. So many people looked at it and tried to sell me that that was a win in itself and it’s not how I feel. A win is a win and a loss is a loss.
“I haven’t gone on TV talking about the nature of how I lost because I think it’s whining and I think everybody saw it. We saw it, we lived it, we breathed it. I think Mr. Heyman lives on the wild side in a sense when you hear things like ‘earn it,’ ‘hasn’t had enough adversity,’ I can’t wait until my documentary comes out. It’s very ironic in terms of juxtaposing the documentary and the amount of adversity in it — some people may not know about, particularly getting back to WWE — and Mr. Heyman’s comments.
“The goal is the same, is the best way to put it. The goal is the same for me as a sports entertainer, as a wrestler. I came here wanting one thing. It doesn’t mean other stories won’t happen that will also be finished. And it doesn’t mean there aren’t other milestones — and we’re talking about the good things like video game covers and things like that today. But the most important thing to me is still the championship that sits on Roman’s shoulders. And it’s the biggest match that WWE could do. But it would take a great deal of mountains to be moved for that rematch to even happen. So — the goal is the same for me. And I just kind of have to see it through and do the work.”
Even though that’s the goal, Cody is still a Raw Superstar after the WWE Draft, and the World Heavyweight title is going to be Raw’s main title. Rhodes admitted that as a belt mark, the design of the new championship alone made him interested in winning it. But he also had good business and storyline explanations for why he plans to be in the hunt for that prize:
“That’s the title that represents Raw. That’s the title that main events Raw. That’s the title that is the franchise title for the USA Network. So I can’t say I don’t want it. I can’t say that that’s not something that would be, if you look and revise your goals and say, okay, this is the route we have to go, especially particularly with me being drafted to Monday Night Raw.
“And that might be more of a case of like I just said, a story, a different story. The goal is still the same for me, but by no means am I or should anyone be looking down on the new World Championship because it’s one of those things I think in time, people will hopefully come to love and revere. It’s being positioned as the lead title for the brand itself and it’ll take a lead individual to do it and handle it. And Raw has a stacked, stacked roster so I definitely wanna throw myself in the mix.”
But first, he has a match with Lesnar this Saturday in Puerto Rico. The Grandson of a Plumber didn’t forget to sell that, too:
“I try not to get into the discussion because people still very much, like I am, over how... WrestleMania 39 ended, a lot of people wonder, how would I look at this? And I try not to get into the discussion on it because it’s more one of those things where in my mind, the goal hasn’t changed but also other things are gonna come up.
“You’re gonna confront new — gosh, I can’t believe I’m gonna say this word — ‘adversity.’ And for me right now, that’s Brock Lesnar more than anything. So I can’t even think about that beautiful belt that Triple H showed until I’m able to do something that very few people could ever do. Get into the ring with The Beast. Not just survive but win.”
WWE may have taken him down a longer road than many of us feel was necessary, but this interview is a good reminder that Cody has a really good grasp on his story.
Will he be able to keep you on board if that story involved winning the World Heavyweight title first, and not facing Reigns again for another year or more?