Cody Rhodes isn't sure if the AEW audience wants to play with him anymore.
At the start of the AEW revolution, Cody Rhodes was spearheading the movement with legions of fans behind him at least symbolically smashed thrones and metaphorically broke through the glass ceiling, helping to establish AEW and grow the promotion to heights once believed unachievable.
Throughout the two-and-a-half years that the promotion has existed, The public perception of Cody has gone from overwhelmingly positive to mixed at best. Amid a rollercoaster ride of neck tattoos, name trademarks, and fatherhood, more audible jeers can be heard at live events and the social media crowd never has a shortage of criticisms regarding the youngest son of “The American Dream.”
Speaking on the latest episode of Busted Open Radio, Cody Rhodes addressed the direction of his character noting that he wants to do something that has never been done before because while there are endless tropes from the past to play upon, Cody Rhodes believes that stories like that are "bullshit.”
“I'm of the outlook that if you pay your money to attend the show if you give us your attention to watch the show, you do whatever you want. I think our competition in the wrestling space, one of the things that has hurt them is their inability to hear. If you're a wrestler in the ring, you can hear and if you don't hear [reactions], you're doing yourself a disservice. You're doing the whole company a disservice, you're doing the match you're in a disservice. I can hear but I also play chess, not checkers.
“So I think it's fun to speculate and there's so much that we've seen in the past, “That's how this went and that's how this could go.” The challenge I'm facing in the direction I'm going is something that has never been done in wrestling before. There's tons of just old plays that we could run here, ‘Oh, kick this guy in the balls and abuse my EVP power.’ Very soap opera bullshit. I don't mean to say that harsh, but the challenge for me now is to go in a direction that perhaps no wrestler has gone before. I don't come out of either tunnel, if that's probably the best way to put it, and I'm looking forward to it as the most fun I've ever had in my career has been navigating some of these new spaces. For example, in New York, we had 25,000 people and that reaction’s a little different. Last week, I'm in the concourse doing a book drive for community outreach and it's the opposite of that reaction in Philly. That beautiful feeling of, ‘Alright, these are my people,’ depends [on the setting]. Some places I go, they'll be my people. Other places I go, they won't, but that's your right as the fan to do what you want.”
In an effort to illustrate that he is not just spouting corporate-speak to swerve the audience that he will never turn heel, Cody admits that the negative reactions do have an effect on him and relates his internal feelings to how Woody feels in the first Toy Story movie when Buzz Lightyear enters the picture and Andy begins to cast Woody aside for the shiny new toy.
“Woody was having a hell of a time. He was having a great time. He was getting played with every day. He was the number one toy. Buzz Lightyear shows up, Woody gets thrown in the toy box. If you're wondering how I feel, take a peek at how Woody felt in the very first Toy Story because that, to a degree, has been my role lately. However, with that said in my pettiness aside, I have been doing this since I was 15 years old and that education is invaluable in terms of me not panicking, and in terms of also me enjoying this moment. I've never had a run like this in my career where everything is happening at once personally and professionally. I want to ride the wave. I want to look back at it and enjoy it. But yes, if anyone wants to know perhaps how I feel identify with Woody from Toy Story if that makes any sense. That's where I'm at with it.”
For the majority of 2021, Cody Rhodes has interacted last with some of the core AEW roster members, especially his former Elite stablemates, and focused more on his own roundup of characters, specifically those directly linked to The Nightmare Family and The Nightmare Factory Training facility.
As of recent weeks, Cody Rhodes has been dealing with a disgruntled Arn Anderson, who has been acting like quite the Stinky Pete while publicly voicing his disappointment in Cody Rhodes and his somewhat itchy trigger finger.
Cody says that Arn Anderson has something fun planned for him on the upcoming Saturday night Dynamite on October 16, 2021, and that out of respect for Arn, he will let him lead.
Fightful will have live coverage of Saturday night Dynamite as it airs on October 16.
If you use any of the above quotes, please credit Fightful with the transcription by linking back to this article.