Cody Rhodes On Working With Damien Sandow & Randy Orton, Growing Up In Wrestling, More
Cody Rhodes joined Busted Open with Dave Lagreca and Doug Mortman. Here are some highlights from the interview.
Rhodes and Damien Sandow as a tag team and the tag division: “I think after Wrestlemania you’ll see us without much fanfare. Damien and I have never really looked at it as far as being a tag team, I guess technically we’re a tag team and we have a team name, but really its two different individual performers who get away with a lot of shenanigans and he’s helped my career a lot. He’s completely different from what I grew up a fan of, he’s just different, he’s a different aspect of this world and he’s helped me with that.
“Tag team wrestling is incredibly important to sports entertainment and Damien and I will be there as far as I really do think we make a good tag team and especially match wise I think we complement each other well so hopefully if we do part ways there are more tag teams coming up. I know it’s something that we’d like to have a bigger place on the show is the tag teams in general.”
Growing up in wrestling: “I was never motivated at all by my father and I grew up with such an age distance from Dustin that it didn’t come from him either. I never was motivated to get into this. I was actually, if anything, discouraged, but then again, he took me to shows when I was supposed to be going to school the next day and he exposed me to sports entertainment at the ripe age where you’re never going to want to do anything else. We watched Monday Night Raw and we watched Nitro; we watched this stuff on the couch together and I think without me knowing I was always naturally being groomed to do this.
“My brief acting stint, which was rather brief, really was based on the fact that I didn’t think I was big enough to be involved with sports entertainment. I didn’t think I was physically big enough. I had an amateur wrestling background but I know that this is a whole other world and that what I’d seen on TV I was a little concerned. I thought, ‘well I want to be a performer, I want to be in entertainment, maybe I’ll go to Hollywood,’ it was almost like a cop out. It’s like ‘I’m going to be an actor” when you have no acting credentials or formal training. That lasted about 9 months of me spending my parent’s money and really doing nothing and watching WWE and seeing guys like Randy Orton, seeing them move forward from being just somebody’s kid, somebody’s son. So it was extremely motivating for me. Actually, as soon as I came home I was on the track to getting to Louisville, Kentucky to being part of WWE in any capacity.
Working with Randy Orton in Legacy: “We forget that Randy was 21 when he debuted on television. He had a chance to grow up with the audience. Randy was an extreme influence, still is, and we’re both now able to do our own things and initially he took me and Ted Dibiase under his wing and it wasn’t like ‘Randy is a friend of ours, he’s going to be easy on us,’ I think Randy was harder on us than even Triple H was in that whole grooming process; Legacy versus DX, then him versus Triple H and them going into Wrestlemania 25; so I will always owe him a good chunk of my career.”
When is his time: “When Dolph is a world champ. This year after Money in the Bank, and Dolph is the guy who won MITB, there was this real drop off of all this momentum and moving forward and I don’t blame anyone but myself; not that something bad happened or anything like that. I hate when people say stuff like ‘the push’, it’s just a matter of sometimes, I’m never going to be patient and fans of mine I hope they know I’m not sitting there waiting, but as a company there are several superstars that whether you want them now, it’s a slow thing. It’s a slow building process and I think it’ll be all the more satisfying. I grew up a fan of Shawn Michaels. I watched the whole time. He makes it to the WM match and he doesn’t win the title. Then the next title match he goes an hour and he doesn’t win the title in the hour but they’re going to go sudden death and then he finally got the title and I was just fully satisfied as him being the greatest WM performer of all time. That’s the goal. That’s the guy I’d like to pattern myself as. I hate the fact the people said ‘you’re the future’ and we’re not there yet, but we’ll get there.”
How he got to be so versatile in the ring: “I watch everybody. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of Ray Stevens, a lot of Pat Patterson, a lot of Arn Anderson, but Joey Mercury is a trainer at NXT now and he told me once, and I love this advice, he said, ‘I don’t work my size, don’t work your size.’ This weird, eclectic style I’ve carved out is just a combination of different people. The moonsault is a very simple thing, but it’s a Shawn Michaels thing. The Alabama Slam, I feel like if anybody gets that I get it. I had to partner with the guy and we put him away. Out of respect for the team I had with him and the guy himself, I’m going to continue to do it. Then I have the great fortune of I can steal from my own family. I just take stuff I see and try to make it fit for me. I try to be somewhere in the middle because I’m not the biggest guy so I want to give the audience the fighting chance I give myself in the ring and that’s through some of the little eclectic things that are probably more suited for a smaller guy. That’s why I had to put knee pads on eventually, that was mandated I was told by the boss. Yeah, [I prefer to go without knee pads], I saw this picture of Buddy Rodgers and he had the WWWF championship on and he’s standing there and I just thought ‘that’s what a wrestler looks like.’ And that’s what he had, the boots, no knee pads, the trunks were like a quarter of an inch higher than everybody’s wearing today and I just thought ‘that’s what they’re supposed to look like.’ It never translated with me though. I have these tiny little legs so it didn’t translate.”
Damien Sandow: “Damien Sandow, his vernacular, how he competes, he has this style and it’s kind of rooted in the old south, Carney style, but what’s old is new. It’s not even a character, every day he’s more and more Damien Sandow than whatever the hell his real name is, I’ve called him everything. But to me, that commitment I really appreciate because I’m old school in how I approach sports entertainment; his commitment is wonderful. I did not want to do a tag team with anybody but I have enjoyed everything we’ve done together because that’s a completely different facet of the industry. I’m not funny, he does certain things that I can’t and makes things very fun.”