Cody Rhodes was in an unusual situation after the passing of his father in 2014 -- he didn't want to be the Rhodes character, or his alter ego Stardust.
Many wondered why the former Intercontinental Champion Rhodes didn't attempt to kickstart his stalling career after his father Dusty suddenly died. According to Rhodes himself, "The American Dream" hated pro wrestling angles that exploited the death of former talents.
“Here’s the issue: I didn’t want to be anything after my Dad’s passing. I didn’t want to be Stardust, but I didn’t want to be Cody Rhodes either, because – it’s a very long story that I shared with my buddy the other night and some people know this. My Dad despised the angle between – I want to say it was Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton, where they mentioned Eddie Guerrero and they mentioned his passing and they used it as a vessel. A lot of people said, ‘Oh, well, Eddie would love this.’ He might have, but I never, ever, ever will forget – my Dad and I were watching Raw at the time. My Dad said, ‘Do not let anyone ever say I would’ve loved something.’ And he was just talking about, in general, for when the day comes that he’s not around and that stuck with me forever. I remember he went on a whole tirade that night. He was like, ‘How do they know for sure?’ and he was one of those who I had to beg him to come back for Battleground. I had to beg him to come back for anything. He really wanted his body of work to stand on its own and speak for itself. So when he passed, no one presented me with the kind of option of, hey, let me rally the flag and do it for the family. But I personally wouldn’t have been comfortable doing it because I had built my previous nine, ten years there on trying to be anything, but Dusty’s son so it would be cheap, it would be hollow for me to have done it then. Would it have worked? Probably, but I didn’t want to do that because I love my Dad too much to bring his name up on TV and say I’m doing it for him when the last nine, ten years of my career, I had been doing it for me, you know?," Rhodes said on an episode of Busted Open Radio.
Opting not to change his WWE character was something Rhodes had to battle with. During the interview with Busted Open Radio, the panel asked him if asking 'what would Dusty do?' was something that he often wonders.
"100 percent. 100 percent and I kind of drowned that voice out for a long time. Dusty wanted me to leave WWE after WrestleMania in Miami and I pushed that off and wanted to do it on my own and I always tried not to be a daddy’s boy and get advice from as many other people, more objective people than my own father. But that’s exactly where I’m tuned in now is the ‘What would Dusty do?’ because he had a great sense, not just as my father, but as a businessman. For the business, for the sizzle, but also for the substance and giving the fans both sizzle and substance. I say, ‘Hey, what would Dusty do?’ Dusty wouldn’t be at the WWE show on Saturday night. Dusty would be in Wappingers Falls and he would be in that Kurt Angle match. That’s obvious. That’s where he would be. He would be in control of his destiny and that’s important that you remain, in whatever job you’re in, in control of your destiny. It’s real easy to believe someone else is in control of what you do. It’s totally up to you, I think, especially in entertainment. That’s it, man – what would Dad do?," Rhodes said.