Cody Rhodes was granted his request to be released from WWE on May 22 of this year, stealing some of the headlines away from that evening’s pay-per-view, Extreme Rules. Rhodes’ plea to go less extreme as far as his character was concerned was either rejected or flat out ignored. He had grown tired of the Stardust gimmick and desperately wanted to be given an opportunity to showcase his natural persona as the Cody Rhodes character, but when Vince McMahon denied him, he felt he had no other choice but to leave.
Upon his departure, Rhodes released a short statement via social media proclaiming that he would continue wrestling and that he wouldn’t satisfy anyone’s voyeurism by appearing on any tell-all podcasts. Once his WWE contract officially expires, he will, in fact, continue wrestling, having booked several matches on the independent scene starting in August.
As for declining any wrestling-related podcasts, he didn’t completely hold true to his word. Rhodes appeared on Ric Flair’s newest show on MLW Radio but was quick to point out on Twitter that he was “avoiding tell-all podcasts, yes. Not avoiding the chance to chat with Ric about my father and the future.” And what was interesting about his chat with Flair is that the Nature Boy brought up a rumor that Rhodes was released from WWE in some elaborate plot to rid the company of the Stardust character as a way to bring the Cody gimmick back (thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.)
“There are a lot of motivations for my departure from WWE, but, certainly, like, wanting to prove something. I can tell you 100% that WWE and myself have gone separate ways. I saw even there was a rumor about, like, a merchandising contract, but I think that might extend from the fact that the only discussion, post-WWE, was about my dad’s books and it was very important to me that they granted me the rights to write his book before I left, but it was important. I knew that was one of the big risks I was taking with leaving.”
The same night Rhodes was released from the WWE, the company put on Extreme Rules, as noted. On that show, Dolph Ziggler faced Baron Corbin on the kickoff show in the pair’s first pay-per-view encounter in a largely forgettable feud that inexplicably spanned three months. When Ziggler’s name was brought up during Rhodes’ conversation with Flair, Cody claims that Dolph’s size has worked against him, even though that should never have been the case.
“He’s a very tough kid and he’s one of those [guys] who has the earned reputation, backstage at least, of ‘you’re going to get tied up if this goes further’. He’s the real deal. I think that people forget because he’s not necessarily as big as Brock Lesnar or Jack Swagger or some of the guys with an amateur acumen, Dolph Ziggler is like Kent State’s most winning wrestler. That man, when he wants to, we had a couple [of matches]. [Flair] watched him in that referee’s position that one time, there were a couple of nights where I was a little worried and then getting a little pissed too, like, ‘well, I’m going to give him the best thing I find in Georgia, the old double leg something.'”
Up next for the son of the late great Dusty Rhodes are several bucket-list matches for the former Intercontinental Champion. His independent bookings will see him take on the likes of Zack Sabre Jr., Mike Bennett, Jushin Thunder Liger, and Kurt Angle, among others. It was recently revealed that the WWE included a gag-order stipulation in their contracts prohibiting talent from speaking negatively about the company upon their release. It’s believed Rhodes has been abiding by that since his departure.
[Image via WWE]