The Cody Rhodes media blitz continues as we get closer to the premiere of his American Nightmare documentary on Peacock next Monday (July 31).
It’s given interviewers and podcasters plenty of chances to get Cody to reflect on things things like the end of his AEW run, and — on SI Media With Jimmy Traina — his WrestleMania 39 loss to Roman Reigns.
Rhodes knew that loss, which few predicted, would hit people hard. He told Traina he still feels “stuck” in that moment, and dealt with it at SoFi Stadium in a way he hoped would make it easier for his supporters, friends, and family:
“I feel you have moments in your career where you get stuck in them, whether they’re so good or whether they’re so low, that you get stuck in these moments. It’s not unlike if you have a traumatic experience in your personal life. For me, I felt, and I still do three months removed, very stuck. In that there was a very long period of time where I was sitting in the ring. I knew I was sitting in the ring and knew I had lost. I’m watching people not leave. They’re looking at me. They’re looking at me and they’re either frustrated, they’re sad for me, they’re mad at me.
“But you usually see at the end of the night some people heading for the aisles. They’re going to beat traffic, something. We were just stuck. And I knew we were filming me. And the internal monologue I had when I saw my family at ringside, then I saw some of the most diehard fans fully decked out in every piece of merch for me they could have possibly bought, the internal monologue was really just telling myself to get up. And then I wanted to make a point that I was not going to walk what we call ‘loser lane.’ I’m going to walk all the way back up this 70-yard ramp and I want to feel every bit of this loss.
“Whether you look at what we do as from an entertainment standpoint or true sport, however you do, it was a huge loss. Huge. And I wanted to feel it all the way because I didn’t want to go see my wife afterwards and just be destroyed or distraught or in a bad mood or have some tantrum. I wanted it all to happen right then and there. Just take it in, feel it, look everyone in the eyes that you possibly can. That was a big thing for me. I was trying to look as many people in the eyes as I possibly could in my best way of saying to them, ‘It’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay.’”
Experiencing that reaction live didn’t prepare Rhodes for the reactions elsewhere, however. He said he was particularly warmed by WWE higher ups to stay away from the internet after his match on April 2:
“I was surprised at how pissed people were. And I was surprised that a lot of managerial people in the company reached out to me, checking on me, and also reached out to me to let me know like, ‘Don’t go online. Don’t go online.’ And I didn’t even think to go. It’s such an incredibly busy week, there are so many emotions in that experience, I got my family with me at the time, I lost in front of them, which is another level of embarrassment. I didn’t even think to go online. Just the fact that they were preparing me and like battening down the hatches for, ‘This is shaky, people are really frustrated.’ That surprised me. That surprised me a lot.”
Nothing about the experience has dulled the sting of not “finishing his story” in Southern California. In fact, it’s created an even bigger obsession for the Grandson of a Plumber:
“And I had to mentally prepare for the amount of, ‘Oh my gosh, but you main evented WrestleMania.’ ‘Oh dude, you main evented WrestleMania.’ I kept hearing, ‘You already won.’ And even some of my close friends, I wanted to just jab right in the jaw. Like, no. All I found out from main eventing a WrestleMania is I want to do it again and I have to win. Like it’s a sickness, you know? Like, you got this high and for it to go like that — I can’t accept it. I can’t allow it.”
Which might be why Cody says he currently feels “stuck” in his program with Brock Lesnar. But he hopes to get unstuck with a win at SummerSlam, and to use that as a message to the folks who were disappointed or pissed after ‘Mania:
“Let them know, the thing I came back for, we’re still on the path. We’re still on the path. And I want to be confident about it in the best of ways because you rode with me all the way to WrestleMania in Los Angeles and hopefully they can ride with me to wherever it is and wherever we go next.”
Listen to the entire Cody Rhodes episode of SI Media right here.