Cody on Brodie Lee: “I hated the fact that I was his last match”
Cody Rhodes on Brodie Lee defeating him in three minutes for the TNT title: “I wanted to do Vader/Inoki. I wanted to it for a while, but no one fit the profile. They built up the first-ever match with Inoki and Vader, and they built up Vader, and my understanding is Vader beat him in two minutes. It’s one of the only time the Japanese audience is almost near riot. Vader/Inoki was kind of redone with Brock/Cena from SummerSlam, where about two minutes in you realized, ‘This is different.’ I thought, no one has done that, and that would be really shocking. It would be the right call because in wrestling, anything can happen on any given night. We have to consistently remind them of that. Also, he’s near seven-feet and a legit super heavyweight who’s mobile. It would make all the sense in the world if he was to catch me with a dropkick – that could be the thing, that could be the piece that puts me out.
“I know wrestling sometimes follows its traditional parameters, but when we break away from those, sometimes there’s some magic. He was just the perfect person – he didn’t believe me when I told him. He was all worried about, ‘Well, I want to hook your leg.’ I said, ‘Don’t even hook my leg. Absolutely disrespect me, own me, eat me alive.’ And then Arn added the cherry on top with Anna and Brandi, and Anna choking her out. I just thought it was a great way to end the show. Honestly, it’s a weird thing to say, but it’s my favorite match in AEW. I’ve wrestled you [Chris Jericho], I’ve wrestled Dustin, I’ve had a fun outing with Darby. I just loved how I felt. My favorite thing and moment was I could feel in his chest how excited he was.”
On putting together their Dog Collar Match: “Jerry Lynn helped put it together. The first thing – the night before I’m putting the collar on, the chain, and we’re pulling on each other. It’s like a cage. The first time you get in the cage, you’re like, ‘This is awkward.’ The Elimination Chamber – ‘I’m supposed to take a bump here?’ And then I’m very worried about our necks – any whiplash, and he’s so big. He could make something look incredibly violent, and we could’ve done that Dog Collar Match every night. I’m overly prepared – I like to have a plan B, a plan C, a plan D. So, we had another set of collars and chain under the ring. We ended up using that as part of a picture and frame we made of him backstage.
“I was telling Amanda [Huber] that this was the chain in case the other one broke, he was gonna double clothesline and go put it on himself like an animal and then put it on me. So, we had that planned. Everything went how we’d like it to go. He was really adamant during commercial that we do a really big bump going into commercial. He had me do Kevin Owens’ package piledriver, and he was really confident in my strength. I was able to do it no problem. He pushed me and challenged me as a wrestler. I loved that. One of my favorite things from that match – I punched him with a chain on my hand, and he just said, ‘I want you to punch me in the face as hard as you can.’ I reared back and leveled him, and he just chuckled. You never would see it or know it on TV. But he really wanted to do a Dog Collar. He really wanted to do a gritty, serious rivalry.”
On being Lee’s last match: “I was telling Brandi, this has nothing to do with me, but I hated the fact that I was his last match. I loved it and love that feeling, but I also hated it. We were denied all these other great matches. Obviously, he could’ve continued and done more stuff, and I could’ve done better. I hated and loved that I shared that moment with him. But now I look at it as reverence in love just because he got to go out with the thing he wanted the most – he got to go out on top, which is great.”
On Lee giving him advice on coping with the loss of his dad: “I feel like when someone passes away – I felt like this with my dad, and this is one of the reasons that I was close with Brodie. When my dad passed away – I think Brodie lost his dad when he was 20. He had lost his dad, and we were at Quicken Loans Arena. I asked him, ‘You know what’s weird? It just feels like the next day just happened. The sun came up, people were talking about funeral plans, people were talking about what they were gonna eat. But to me, the world just stopped.’ I remember him telling me, ‘I have felt the same way for 10 years. It won’t get better.’ No one was wanting to tell me that. No one was saying the truth. That was the best advice that was given to me. You’ll still feel like you’re there every day, but you can carry that forward in a positive.”
On the original plans for Lee’s AEW debut in Rochester: “The one that really pisses us off is that Rochester show. I don’t know if anyone knows this, but he was gonna come up out of the ramp like the monster in The Munsters.”