Friday, February 23

10 Backstage Tales About Cody Rhodes Fans Should Know

While it’s nowhere near over, Cody Rhodes has enjoyed an amazing career thus far. A second generation star, Rhodes toiled for years on the WWE midcard, reinvented himself outside of WWE as “The American Nightmare,” helped found the upstart All Elite Wrestling, and then returned to WWE and immediately became one of the company’s most popular main eventers.


Related

How Cody Rhodes Almost Became A WWE Main Eventer In 2013

2013 was the year that presented the opportunity to make Cody Rhodes a top-level WWE Superstar, but the spotlight went to his partner, Damien Sandow.

That alone sounds like quite a roller coaster ride, but that’s just what fans saw on screen. Rhodes’ career so far includes a lot of interesting and must-known backstage tales, so let’s take a look at 10 behind-the-scenes stories about “The American Nightmare.”


10 The Story Behind “Kingdom”

Cody’s Theme Was Recorded By The Band Downstait

Downstait Theme

Wrestler

“I Came To Play”

The Miz

“Radio”

Zack Ryder

“Here To Show The World”

Dolph Ziggler

“Kingdom”

Cody Rhodes

Upon leaving WWE in 2016, Cody Rhodes had to build a new wrestling persona for himself to reflect the kind of star he wanted to be but was never able to be. As part of that, he enlisted the band Downstait to record a new theme song for him, and the hard-rock anthem “Kingdom” was born. Downstait were no stranger to pro wrestling themes, however — they had actually made a number of themes for WWE, including for Dolph Ziggler and The Miz — a fact that Cody was unaware of during his time with the promotion.

9 Getting Pranked By DX

The Incident Occurred At A House Show

Match

Event

Date

Location

D-Generation X vs. Legacy

WWE DX Invasion Tour

11/4/2009

Dublin, Ireland

In 2009, Cody’s old faction Legacy was feuding with D-Generation X — Triple H and Shawn Michaels — resulting in a prank that happened during one of Rhodes’ entrances. For a house show in Dublin, Triple H pitched that Cody Rhodes and his stablemate Ted DiBiase Jr. trip up a spray-painted DX banner as a heel move. Unbeknownst to Cody, this was all a set-up for a prank where a wooden plank holding up the banner fell down, hitting Rhodes on the head and splashing paint all over him.

8 Behind The Scenes With Stardust

The Gimmick Almost Had A Mask

Gimmick

Run

Accomplishments

Stardust

2014-2016

WWE Tag Team Championship

Before Cody Rhodes left WWE the first time, he was saddled with the gimmick of the spacey weirdo Stardust, which was amusing but perhaps not the best use of the son of Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes agreed, considering it the nadir of his career, but one of the concepts pitched for it would have likely made it even worse.

Related

10 Things Fans Forget About Cody Rhodes’ Time As Stardust In WWE

While Cody Rhodes’ performance as Stardust was fantastic, with him putting his absolute all into the gimmick, he unfortunately didn’t find success.

On top of wearing an outfit reminiscent of his brother/tag team partner, Goldust, Stardust was also set to wear a mask. Likening the mask’s look to being “like a classic condom blowing up,” Cody Rhodes actually shot down the mask idea, and simply wore face paint and shaved his head to look more like Goldust.

7 Almost Came To Blows With Seth Rollins

The Two Stars Have A Lot Of Tension

Matches

Date

Winner

WWE WrestleMania 38 – Saturday

4/2/2022

Cody Rhodes

WWE WrestleMania Backlash

5/8/2022

Cody Rhodes

WWE Hell In A Cell

6/5/2022

Cody Rhodes

In 2023, Cody Rhodes found himself main eventing WrestleMania 38 against top champion Roman Reigns, a decision that rubbed a lot of other WWE stars the wrong way, including reportedly Seth Rollins. According to Cody himself, Rhodes and Rollins don’t get along, and their tension resulted in the two actually almost coming to blows backstage over “The American Nightmare’s” main event spot. Both men have addressed the altercation, with neither denying that it happened or that the two don’t particularly like one another.

6 Actually Fighting A Wrestler Over A Stolen Vest

Cody Claims It Was His Only Backstage Fight

Infamous Backstage Fights

Promotion

CM Punk vs. The Elite

AEW

Joey Styles vs. JBL

WWE

Chris Jericho vs. Goldberg

WWE

While the Cody Rhodes/Seth Rollins incident didn’t actually result in a fight, Rhodes actually did get into a fight once — and over something far more minor than a WrestleMania main event. In his early days, Rhodes found another wrestler (who he declined to name) wearing one of his entrance vests and mocking him. In what Cody claims was the only actual backstage fight he ever got into, an angry Rhodes decided to pull out some of his amateur wrestling skills to take down the wrestler and recover his jacket, though he admitted that he probably looked like a jerk for doing so.

5 The Request Cody Rhodes Made To Vince McMahon In His WWE Return

The Request Was About His Stardust Gimmick

vince mcmahon speaking at the wwe hall of fame

Return Match

Event

Date

Location

Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins

WrestleMania 38

4/2/2022

Arlington, TX

Cody Rhodes left WWE as he was sliding into the undercard as Stardust and returned as an actual star, retaining much of the presentation he established during his time away from the company. Upon returning, Rhodes reportedly only had one request from Vince McMahon and WWE — that nobody ever mention Stardust again. Ironically, in his return match against Seth Rollins, Rhodes did the Stardust cartwheel taunt, wondering himself why he was acknowledging something he wished to stay buried. However, in context it worked, especially as commentator Corey Graves described it as Rhodes exorcizing an old demon.

4 How All In Happened

The Proto-AEW Event Was Kicked Off By A Bet

Event

Date

Location

All In

9/1/2018

Hoffman Estates, IL

As stated, one of Cody Rhodes’ major achievements outside of WWE was his part in the foundation of All Elite Wrestling. AEW can trace its roots to All In, a huge indie show put together by Rhodes and The Young Bucks, who would became major figures in AEW. But the impetus for All In was a Twitter bet.

Related

10 Things Fans Should Know About AEW’s First Ever PPV, Double Or Nothing 2019

A lot went down at the first-ever AEW pay-per-view, as Double or Nothing set the stage for what this new wrestling promotion would become.

In mid-2017, wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer expressed his doubts on Twitter that an indie promotion like Ring of Honor could sell 10,000 tickets. Cody Rhodes ended up replying to Meltzer’s tweet, saying “I’ll take that bet” and All In sold out the roughly 11,000-seat Sears Centre Arena (now known as the NOW Arena) over a year later.

3 The Tanning Bed Prank

Rhodes Was Pranked By His Own Legacy Stablemate

Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton Matches

Date

Winner

WWE Monday Night Raw

7/16/2007

Randy Orton

WWE Vengeance

10/23/2011

Randy Orton

WWE Friday Night SmackDown

11/4/2011

Randy Orton

WWE Monday Night Raw

9/2/2013

Randy Orton

The DX incident wasn’t the only time Cody Rhodes was pranked by his WWE peers. One time, Rhodes was actually pranked by his own Legacy leader, Randy Orton. According to Orton, stealing a wrestler’s clothes from an unlocked tanning bed room was a common prank, so the multi-time champion once did it to Cody when they were out at a tanning talon in Alabama. On top of stealing his clothes, Orton decided to also snap a cell phone pic of his naked stablemate, though it was deleted due to Rhodes’ complaints.

2 Cody Rhodes’ Worst Match Ever

Ted DiBiase Jr. Disputes One Major Detail Of The Tale

Match

Event

Date

Location

Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase Jr. & Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan, Sin Cara & Ezekiel Jackson

WWE SmackDown

6/17/2011

Providence, RI

One oft-shared Cody Rhodes anecdote is his account of his “worst match ever,” a six-man tag team match on a mid-2011 episode of SmackDown. For some reason, the bout went horribly awry, with Ted DiBiase Jr. failing to kick out of a pin, resulting in the match ending early. According to Rhodes, backstage a livid DiBiase accused the referee of “trying to f–k on him,” a bizarre yet evocative turn of phrase. However, DiBiase himself disputes Rhodes’ story, claiming that Cody exaggerated the now-iconic line.

1 Cody Rhodes’ Amateur Wrestling Rivalry With Xavier Woods

The Two Were Rivals In High School

Wrestler

Debut Year

WWE Accomplishments

Cody Rhodes

2006

WWE Intercontinental Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship, World Tag Team Championship, Royal Rumble Winner

Xavier Woods

2005

WWE Tag Team Championship, Raw Tag Team Championship, SmackDown Tag Team Championship, NXT Tag Team Championship, King Of The Ring

As alluded to above, Cody Rhodes also has an amateur wrestling background, having competed in high school while growing up in Georgia. In fact, at the time he actually had a bit of a rivalry going on with his future WWE co-worker, multi-time Tag Team Champion Xavier Woods, as the two attended competing high schools at the same time. As a teenager, Woods knew that Cody was the son of Dusty Rhodes, and sought to defeat him in amateur wrestling in order to impress the elder Rhodes so that “The American Dream” to take him under his wing and train him in pro wrestling.

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