Recently on The Ross Report, Jim Ross spoke with former WWE Superstar Alex Riley about a great many topics. Riley talked about the respect he has for Cody Rhodes' tough decision to walk away from the WWE, as well as who he'd like to work with if he ever came back to the company.
When talking bout Rhodes' WWE departure, Riley says it took guts to walk away from the company--a true belief in himself that not a lot of guys have.
"First of all, I think he's a tremendous person and I only say that because it's the truth. I'd never say that if I didn't believe it. He loved what he did and when I see that and when I keep up on his story, and you bring it up. To me, he's a guy that, he just wanted to perform the way he wanted to. As a wrestler, as a creative artist, whatever you want to call it, singer, actor, it's really all the same. You have to have a love for what you're doing. A true love, not a 'okay, well, I'm going to show up here and they're going to pay me this, so I'm going to say that and because I'm here 12 hours a day, it means I love it.' That doesn't mean you really love it. What Cody did means he really loves it. He was tired. It wasn't a matter of where he was (on the card) or exposure he had or what opportunity he may or may not get. He believed in something and it wasn't what they thought he was and he made a choice to go out on his own. And, honestly, I don't think you can get any more courageous than that. And people say that, 'oh, he's so (fortunate).' And he is. He's a very fortunate man and he certainly works for it to have been given the opportunity that he did to be allowed the opportunity to make the money that he has made; however, to leave the money that he has made to go out on his own, a lot of people would not make that choice."
When asked who he would like to work with if he had the chance at another run in the WWE, Dolph Ziggler's name came up immediately.
"Dolph Ziggler. Yeah, I think he's a great guy. I think he's extremely talented. I think he's tough as nails, Dolph. He really has lasted there and I've always said this too. I think that people can hang on in WWE, if you can become a champion of WWE of any kind, if you can last on the roster for, s--t, even a year, you're talking about Dolph being there at this point, 10, 12 years, you're one of the toughest people on the planet. I'm not saying that for any other reason than it is the truth. It challenges you in every way you can be challenged. (And) for Dolph to have the type of success that he has had there, I can't say enough about him and I'd love to do a run with him. It would be pretty cool."
Ziggler has an incredible passion for the professional wrestling business, according to Riley, and that's something he has a ton of respect for.
"What he does better than anybody. And I think you have to have this about you if you're going to be there, you have to have real passion for what he does. And that is, he'll sacrifice anything for that company. He'll be on the road by himself. I don't know if he has a girlfriend now or if he's married or what his deal is, but he has, if he's with the WWE he has no other interests. He wants to be the best WWE Superstar that he possibly can every single day of his life and I'm very, very good friends with him or at least was when I was there and he walks into that building every Monday and Tuesday expecting to be the WWE Champion and believing he could be. And when they tell him 'no, you're not today going to be the WWE Champion,' he has enough in him just to shake it (off) and reload again the next day and it doesn't bother him. He fights through it and he cares about it more than most."
Riley was released from the company in 2016, losing his last match in NXT to Shinsuke Nakamura. You can watch a clip from that match at the top of the page.