Cody Rhodes’s WWE run almost seems like a distant memory. As the newest member of New Japan Professional Wrestling and Ring of Honor stable Bullet Club, the 31-year-old son of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes appears to have made the most of his decision to leave the company he had worked for over the last decade. And while it may look as if Cody had a major beef with WWE when he asked for his release earlier this year, he seems open to the possibility of a return, provided the circumstances are right.
It was in 2006 when Cody Rhodes signed with WWE, initially competing in the company’s then-developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling. He was just 22-years-old when he made his main roster debut in 2007, and while it looked like the young man had a chance to be a next-generation megastar in the mold of Randy Orton, Cody had spent most of his WWE career in the mid-card instead. He would occasionally compete in main event title matches, but in the end, he was more often used as a “jobber to the stars,” particularly in his final WWE persona of Stardust, a character based on his half-brother Dustin Rhodes’ Goldust gimmick.
After competing for almost two years as Stardust, Cody Rhodes left WWE in May 2016, issuing a lengthy statement on social media where he explained why he had asked the company to release him. According to Wrestling Inc, Rhodes’ decision to leave WWE all boiled down to creative frustration, which included WWE’s refusal to let him drop the Stardust gimmick.
In the seven months since then, Cody Rhodes has been on a roll. He is currently working non-exclusive deals for both ROH and TNA Wrestling, where he is simply billed under his first name. And earlier this month, he was announced as the newest member of ROH and New Japan’s powerhouse stable Bullet Club, as the Inquisitr had reported. Life after WWE appears good for the man who now calls himself “The American Nightmare” (his late father Dusty was “The American Dream”), but if he was asked to return to WWE, that’s something he wouldn’t exactly turn down, depending on what’s in it for him.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Cody Rhodes opened up on his time in WWE, his recent announcement as Bullet Club’s newest member, and other wrestling-related topics. And for starters, Cody seemed pleased that he has retained the “buzz” one tends to get after leaving the world’s largest professional wrestling promotion and becoming a free agent.
“A lot of times, guys leave WWE or get fired by WWE, but there’s always that little bit of buzz right when they get out on the scene, but like all buzz, it fades. But I feel really flattered that, for whatever reason, it seems to be trending upwards. It’s damn exciting that without the biggest wrestling company in the world, I’m able to build a brand and be successful.”
Talking about the present state of professional wrestling, Cody admitted that most aspiring pro wrestlers still target the WWE, though at this point, joining the company is “no longer needed” to ensure success, as fans have “more options” in the current age of social media and streaming video.
As far as a Cody Rhodes WWE return is concerned, that might have to wait, though it’s not like the man has been bitter about his time with the company like so many ex-WWE Superstars have. Citing a conversation he had with his wife Brandi, Cody said that he may consider coming back to the company if he was given a high-profile match, but rejoining WWE isn’t a top priority at the present. He also stressed that he doesn’t hold anything against the company, even if he did have several complaints when he had asked for his release.
“I think people who say, ‘I’m never going back to WWE,’ I don’t understand that. I had a lot of gripes, and those are things that I’d be a hypocrite if I went back and didn’t try to make right. But I think it’s silly when people say never, unless you’ve been burned that bad. I really can’t even say I’ve been burned at all.”
Cody Rhodes wasn’t bitter either about his tenure as Stardust, as he told Rolling Stone that it was a good character that debuted at the wrong time and that he ultimately “lost faith” in it following the 2015 death of his father Dusty Rhodes.
“To me, (Dusty) was the greatest wrestler ever, and if people don’t know that, it’s my job to make them know that. Even though they’re not watching him, they can just watch me. I know that sounds f—ed up, but that’s my dad. I don’t know any son who has not wanted to stand in that presence of their father. So when it happened, that’s probably the biggest reason that I lost faith in Stardust.”
For Cody Rhodes, the WWE dream may be over, at least for the time being. But he’s had a great 2016 nonetheless, and with a variety of bookings that extend as far out as November 2017, the coming year should be another productive one for the “American Nightmare,” with or without the WWE.
[Featured Image by WWE]