Guest: Cody Rhodes Previews Omega Match, the RAW Invasion and more!
Release Date: April 4th, 2018
Recap by: Sean McGraw
X-Pac is joined in studio by Jimbo and Denise. This week’s guest will be Cody Rhodes. X-Pac says he thinks that Cody is the best thing going outside of WWE.
Preview of WrestleMania Weekend
X-Pac is looking forward to Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa in an unsanctioned match. Jimbo is looking forward to the North American Championship Ladder Match. X-Pac really likes Lars Sullivan. He says that Lars will be fine in the match (even though you don’t typically think of a guy his size in a ladder match). Denise thinks that Ember Moon will lose her title in her match against Shayna Baszler and win the Women’s Battle Royal at WrestleMania while possibly being called up to Raw. X-Pac wonders if they will do two title changes at the show. Jimbo says that since this is typically the “reset” point that they could do two title changes to give the show a fresh look for the upcoming year.
The panel starts to talk about the WrestleMania crowd. They speculate that the Battle Royals and the Cruiserweight match will be on the pre-show. X-Pac says that even though some people might think its B.S. that those matches are on the pre-show, he would rather be on earlier and get a fresher crowd than to have a match that doesn’t have a lot of steam on it and put in a collapsible spot where it could get cut. X-Pac is concerned that those matches will have a crowd to work in front of rather than a nearly empty arena like what happened at WrestleMania 32. That would severely affect X-Pac’s performance. He says that the crowd matters because you need to feed off of the energy of the crowd.
X-Pac says that he considers the Cruiserweight match to be on the main show. They are considered a WrestleMania match as far as pay is concerned – although he isn’t totally sure how the pay works out with the network now. Jimbo asks X-Pac if he said anything to Razor and Shawn when they came back after going over on time at WrestleMania X since it caused Pac’s match to be cut (and his pay as well). X-Pac didn’t even know that it was a thing at the time. He had his ten-man tag the next night on Raw, but “that’s like getting Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat when you get kicked off the game show.”
The Usos finally get their WrestleMania moment. Their three-way with the New Day and The Bludgeon Brothers should be a good match. X-Pac thinks that The Bludgeon Brothers gimmick seems really similar to War Machine. Jimbo thinks that War Machine just has an overall different vibe. X-Pac doesn’t think that Harper and Rowan need all the get-up like the hammers or the outfits. It makes them too cartoony. X-Pac says that The Usos are the best team in the industry right now. There may be some other teams out there right now that take umbrage with that opinion, but The Uso’s are crushing it.
X-Pac thinks that the Intercontinental Title match will steal the show at WrestleMania. X-Pac wants to congratulate The Miz on the birth of his new baby. It’s brought up that the original due date for the baby was WrestleMania Sunday. X-Pac is asked what you do in that situation. “You push that thing out! You induce labor and you get that thing the hell out of there! C-Section!”
When the U.S. title is brought up, X-Pac says that he gets that you’re trying to fit everyone on the show, but come on there has to be another way to do it than another multi-man single’s title match. Occasionally if the storyline calls for a multi-person match its fine, but X-Pac likes his single’s title matches to be one-on-one.
X-Pac says that the Rousey/Angle vs. Stephanie/Triple H match is going to be amazing. He says the people care about it. The talent in the match is amazing. Everyone involved is going to do their part. They don’t leave anything like this to chance.
X-Pac seems to think that Asuka’s streak will come to end – or he says that he wouldn’t bet on Asuka winning. People are very careful on streaks in the industry, because if the person doesn’t lose to the right person at the right time, their career will never recover.
X-Pac thinks that Nakamura will beat A.J. and become the first Japanese WWE Champion. He says he would personally bet money on it. X-Pac says that Roman will win the Universal title and based on merchandise sales enough people care about him. He’s great in the ring. The main knock on him is his move set isn’t big enough. If you know what you’re looking at from a professional wrestler’s point of view and don’t think he’s excellent in the ring then you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Interview with Cody Rhodes
When you’re in WWE you can get trapped in a mindset that there is nothing else out there but WWE. Since Cody started in WWE Developmental and had never been on an indie shows, X-Pac asks Cody if there was a fear of the unknown. Cody says he had a lot of time to prep. He was unhappy for a long time and didn’t want to do anything knee-jerk. He asked Kevin Owens a lot of questions about travel, where to ask for more, where to not worry about money etc. If it doesn’t scare you it’s not an adventure and it’s been a hell of an adventure.
X-Pac says that the name of the show “All-in” is fitting because Cody is all-in on himself. X-Pac says a lot of people probably doubted Cody leaving but Cody didn’t have any doubt in himself. Cody says that he didn’t doubt his skill set. Cody said before he became unhappy in WWE he considered himself to get a taste of the success that he wanted. He had his fingertips touching the brass ring. He definitely took a deep breath when he saw some of the bigger names on the indie scene because of all the mind-blowing stuff that they could do.
X-Pac asks Cody if he felt like there was no more upward mobility for him in the WWE. Cody felt like he couldn’t do anything more. He has seen a lot of his friends be yo-yoed in their careers. He says that wrestling isn’t a fair business where hard work definitely gets rewarded. You have to work smart not hard. If you can do both even better. As Stardust there was no heartbeat for him. NXT was also a huge inspiration for him to leave. NXT is Triple H’s independent scene and those were the guys that were capturing the attention of the crowd. Those guys had a brand and a buzz and all they need do is polish up and they’re ready to go.
Has Cody learned anything from indie guys aside from The Young Bucks? Cody says he’s got to always be bumping and learning. He’s learned a ton of things from the independent scene. He’s wrestled Kurt Angle, AR Fox etc. The biggest thing that he’s learned is to get out of his comfort zone. Not just in wrestling, but in backstage segments and interviews. Cody says he can’t get stuck in anything. He says the “WWE bubble” exists in every company. It’s too easy to get caught in one style. “To find how you want to play your music, you’ve got to listen to a lot of different types of music I guess.”
How did Cody come up with the list of guys that he wanted to face once his non-compete was up? He says the list fell right into his lap from having time to prep. He was also already talking to a lot of high profile independents and talking potential matches. The ones that were pretty much booked were put to paper and the rest were guys that he wanted to face. He says that by doing that he wanted to show people that he wasn’t worried about the bubble anymore.
Has the experience outside WWE exceeded expectations? It has definitely exceeded expectations mainly because Cody didn’t really know what his expectations were. The game plan might have been go away, get hot, come back – not that that was necessarily the plan – but now the whole wrestling world is changing. It’s a lot smaller now, everything is accessible.
X-Pac wants to know if there are any conflicts when working for multiple companies at the same time (ROH, NJPW, etc.). Cody gives everybody credit for letting him be himself. It’s pretty old-school. It’s a lot of trust that each company’s interests will be protected when Cody is working. X-Pac says that when you bring as much as Cody does to the table he can do the things that some other guys might not be able to. The company needs him just as much as he needs the company – same with The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, etc. Cody says he appreciates ROH’s forward thinking – specifically when it comes to “ALL IN.” Technically Cody is under an exclusive contract so ROH could have said no way, but they told him that they are “ALL IN” too and that he should let them know if he needs anything. Can Cody share any of the ALL IN card? Cody can’t share ANYTHING. If he did he’d have to sue himself!
What are the differences of wrestling in Japan vs. The U.S.? As far as Japan and “strong style” and the respect system is if the match isn’t more than 15 minutes, they don’t get into it. It’s a lot more sports style oriented. Less working punches, more stiff forearm shots to the chin. Cody really appreciates the young lions and the respect based system that they have established.
What were Cody’s thoughts on last year’s New Japan Long Beach show as compared to this year’s? Cody was mad that he got booed out of the building last year. He had just won the ROH title and was a hero and the crowd was a pro Bullet-Club crowd. He says the reaction had him rattled (I think he might be working us here. He was playing the heel gimmick really hard at that show. I don’t see how he could have not been booed out of the building.)
Cody says the Long Beach shows have been outstanding in all facets. He says pro-wrestling is very much sports entertainment and he won’t knock the term. If WWE hits that entertainment portion harder than the sports side, New Japan is the opposite. They really skew to the sports side and a lot of fans really want that. The Long Beach shows have hit that on the head. Cody is excited for the Cow Palace show and says that it’s a ballsy move from New Japan. X-Pac agrees and says that he’s all about ballsy moves.
X-Pac brings up how Disco Inferno used the cut that Cody suffered in a match as an “example” of how guys are getting hurt in the ring. X-Pac says it was totally different and not a way that guys are getting brain damage. It was an accident and not an example of guys dumping each other on their heads every night. Cody agrees but says he feels bad for responding to Disco Inferno because Cody didn’t realize the narrative that Disco was driving of guys killing themselves trying to go for Meltzer stars.
X-Pac says that all things considered, he really hates everything that’s going on in regards of driving divisiveness in the fan base. Cody says that if guys are calling out people for “killing the business” you are exposing the business itself. It’s not good for anybody and nobody should be telling the fans how to be fans – even the guys responding to the criticisms. “The fans are allowed to do whatever the hell they want. If they love what we’re giving them great and if they’re not then we need to give them something else.” X-Pac says it bums him out that veteran guys are s****ing on anything that’s happening in the business right now. Pac says it’s the best time ever to be working and a fan in the business.
Kenny Omega vs. Cody Rhodes is the biggest match in the history of ROH numbers wise. It crosses so many platforms it is special. Cody knows that right across the street at the same time NXT has Gargano vs. Ciampa. Cody says that he wants to do everything in his power to be better than whatever Gargano and Ciampa are going to do. He says that that’s a good thing for wrestling right now. X-Pac agrees and says that it’s the best thing for wrestling.
Does Cody feel pressure facing huge names like Omega or Okada? No he doesn’t really. He grew up the son of Dusty Rhodes. After a while you stop worrying about the pressure and you just focus on what you have to do. He says that in some ways he may be too laid back.
X-Pac asks how Cody’s body is feeling. Cody says he feels pretty good. He’s thankful that he’s never really been injured or had to work with an injury. He attributes part of that to not having ever taken steroids. Cody says that he’s glad that business is getting back to all different body types. It’s more healthy living. X-Pac says that there was a whole outlaw spirit that was attractive back in the day. It’s so much better that they don’t have their friends dropping left and right and that their friends aren’t all pilled out. X-Pac says he’s very grateful for that. Cody says that for his generation those guys dropping left or right were their heroes.
Cody hates when he watches a match from 1992 and all of the guys that were in the match are now deceased. Cody gives credit to the WWE rehab policy. He knows it’s a big expense for them but it’s a solid move. X-Pac says that they spent a lot of money on him and that he’s very grateful.
Cody says that with his creative freedom on the independent scene he feels even closer to Dusty Rhodes than he did when he was in WWE. Dusty was always thinking about angles, what looked good on a t-shirt etc. Cody is in that same mindset now. X-Pac agrees and says that Dusty was a creator and a producer not just a professional wrestler. He says that he sees Cody in his own way doing the same thing. Cody also credits Vince with saying “Guys we’ve got to be our own producers, our own directors, our own cameramen and our own wrestlers.” Cody says that’s one of the bonds that he shares with the Bullet Club guys – they share that similar mindset.
X-Pac says that the Bullet Club members bring something to the shirt as opposed to the shirt bringing something to the guy. He compares it to not knowing what to do with Virgil in WCW so they gave him an NWO shirt. Cody says that’s what’s special and what keeps the Bullet Club going. When you have your specific themed shirt for Bullet Club as opposed to just the Bullet Club shirt, that’s what makes it official. The Bullet Club is well represented with a lot of different styles and personalities – there is something to captivate anybody. Cody says it’s good when you can define the brand as opposed to the brand defining you.
X-Pac brings up the Raw Invasion while laughing and says that he won’t get too much heat for saying this but while it was happening he was texting with someone encouraging them to try and get into the building. Cody says that the text was to “take it as far as you can.” Cody says that was such a fun day and he’s glad that X-Pac appreciated it. It was a very stressful few hours. X-Pac says the fallout of the cease and desist made it even better. X-Pac says the people complaining about that didn’t understand that Bullet Club didn’t need any of that. X-Pac was just thrilled that they were even doing it in the first place because it made the NWO and D-X members relevant again.
Cody says that the cease and desist only helped everybody to get away from some of that stuff. He says that some of his old friends were genuinely upset about the invasion. Cody thought it was fairly harmless and homage to the original invasion, but some people were flat out pissed. X-Pac says that some people in WCW were pissed off when D-X did it and that sometimes you have to piss people off.
In my opinion Cody is the best heel in the business right now. Even though Dusty was a babyface I think Cody is channeling his father’s spirit and bringing the old “territory days” heel back and playing the role to perfection. There are times in this interview where I felt like I was being worked, but I can’t tell specifically one way or the other – and I absolutely LOVE it. The impression that I got though was that Cody was pretty straight up and honest in his conversation and that this was the real Cody and not the character that he is playing. In that respect it was great to get insight into the thought process of what I consider to be a successful WWE talent and going on to be one of the top acts on the independent scene. I found the discussion about Cody’s interactions with Disco Inferno interesting as it led to a deeper commentary on the criticisms of the business and the divisiveness within the fan base. Cody comes across as a very passionate creative spirit and that passion translated to me once again feeling great about being a fan of this business. Like I’ve said before, the best episodes of this show leave me with a feeling of excitement and an eagerness to see what’s coming next. X-Pac and Cody really delivered a captivating podcast.
0:00 – 31:13 Intros and WrestleMania Weekend Breakdown
32:13 – 1:24:35 Interview with Cody Rhodes
1:24:36 – 1:25:51 Show Wrap up
Sean is a media professional from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sean’s earliest memory of wrestling is seeing Kane on WWF television in 1998. Sean watched primarily WWF in the Attitude Era and dropped off just before the initial brand split. Seeing recap promos of the Undertaker building up to WrestleMania 20, he became hooked and has been an avid fan ever since. Sean’s wrestling preferences currently lean more towards NJPW/ROH/NXT but he remains a fan of it all. In his spare time Sean enjoys cooking, baking, and going to the gym. You can follow Sean via Twitter @stmcgraw and Instagram @stmcgraw09.