Video: Rhodes on what has changed since returning to WWE, first thing McMahon said to him, more

Jul 28, 2023 - by Steve Gerweck

I wanted to pass on the interview that Chris Van Vliet did with Cody Rhodes on INSIGHT With Chris Van Vliet. He talks about what has changed following his return to WWE, what Vince McMahon said when he saw Cody Rhodes again, using Dusty Rhodes as part of a storyline and more!

Some of the most interesting quotes are below and you can find a link to the video here:

On what has changed since returning to WWE:

“Well, the schedule at WWE, like first out of the gate when you think of returning to WWE, you think of what that schedule can be. It’s very daunting, because they’re trying to cover everywhere on the map. And then wherever the TV goes, WWE goes. The schedule has been lessened, there’s a healthier schedule. I mean, I’m literally thinking of all the things that are different. The live events are branded now, you know, Saturday Night’s Main Event, Sunday Stunner, the VIP element that’s around the ring. I don’t know if people realize this who only see Raw or SmackDown. At the live events, this VIP service that they offer is just the best bang for your buck, they’ve figured it out. They have figured it out. His name’s Billy who runs that, and it’s one of my favorite things about the live events. But the main thing, and the far more important thing that’s changed is the people who run it the same, it’s the same [people] who run it. But they now run it, and it’s a bunch of grown men and women now in a sense of the actual talent. Seth Rollins is not a child, it’s not Tyler Black coming from Ring of Honor anymore. He’s a grown man who knows the psychology of a crowd, how he can move them, how he can not, and that’s across the board. Jey Uso is a completely different animal. Sami Zayn, just like a true artist, Kevin Owens having experienced the ebbs and flows of it all, and that creates the environment we’re in, and the environment we’re in is the business of it. It has been so good, sell out, sell out, sell out. They’re not random, I don’t take them for granted. You don’t want to, at any moment they could end, but they’re there because you have an experienced group of guys and girls, and that’s been the biggest difference. When I was there the first time I was a kid, and I was blossoming into what it’s like to be, you know, in your 30s, professional wrestler who has experience working with some of the top names, but still, it’s no substitute for what we have now. There’s no substitute for that experience. And that’s what you see with these shows and I think that’s one of the leading factors. Obviously Roman, but that’s a leading factor into how this business is like, like just everywhere they go the transaction is through the roof. And that’s why.”

On the first thing Vince McMahon said to Cody Rhodes:

“That’s a good question, I think he laughed. He has that like, [impersonates Vince laugh] I think he laughed. Because I kind of snuck in. But I like leaned over him, and I think he kind of laughed. I remember going in to talk to him. I wasn’t afraid of anything, and I was overcompensating almost. I was very adamant of like, I’m not, I’ve used the Bernie Mac reference a bunch, but he walks out and the crowds kind of booing him, he tells me he’s not scared of them. That’s really where I was at. It’s like, we’re good. Not scared of anything here, let’s talk. And I was almost overcompensating because both Vince and Bruce were so welcoming. So, this is the term I can use, sweet, and so positive about what I had done. And the fact that they knew what I had done and actually were citing different things, like I saw this, I saw this, I couldn’t believe it. It was very self-affirming. And it just went like that type of happy go lucky. We’re talking about, I had, you know, Liberty was a year old or maybe not even at that time. And he’s talking to me about what it’s like to be a you know, a dad for a daughter and how special it is, it was just beautiful. And then like in the last 20 seconds of the meeting it was, Seth Rollins at WrestleMania, you know, that’s where the only business came up. And it was, I told Brandi I would say this, but I was adamant about saying please don’t do one of those hey, this is the deal, if you leave it’s off the table, don’t do one of those. I have to leave and think about it. I have to. And even in your mind, you’re like yep, I think we’re gonna do that. Even your mind, I have to leave to think about it and take some time because man, we had made such massive decisions. And I’m kind of a career left turn guy with, no way would he do this, well he did that. So, this one was going to be something similar but really special. Didn’t feel like a meeting until maybe the last 30 seconds.”

On the Kingdom entrance:

“So, you know, the whoa had been in different versions of Downstait music for me. Yeah, the whoa had been present. So, I think really you’d have to say Kevin Dunn, because Kevin, he looked at an AEW entrance of mine, and I said it has to be this. This is what it is, I’m not, you know, calling any shots. But this is what I, to be fair, this is what I would like, this is representative of who I am. And he was of the thought of great, we are just gonna make it a little bit better, we’re just going to make it a little bit better. And we tried some entrances that the world never saw, just different things during the day, we could do this, do that. And he set it up where it was most conducive for Monday Night Raw with the way the staging is on Monday Night Raw to do that and not have to build the Codyvater every day at three o’clock in the afternoon and maybe, maybe save it for let’s save it for a pay-per-view or a WrestleMania, which we did. But he’d have to be to blame for the whoas, because he loves the idea of singing, loves it, and you can hear him calling for that, I want to see people singing, and you can hear it. And that’s just never anything that I thought about. But I can say one of the most important things with the logo I knew wasn’t gonna change as I got the tattoo. [What did Vince to the tattoo?] He, again, laughed but that was one moment where I said, he had mentioned that there’s all kinds of designs we could do and I told him well that one we’re pretty locked in on. But the one thing I was really clear about of all things, the music has to stay the same. And the reason the music had to stay the same was the music wasn’t just at AEW. The music was at Ring of Honor, New Japan, every independent I could possibly go to all over the world. That was the music, including the line that I recorded on my iMac in my living room, gosh knows when, the wrestling has more than one royal family. For sure they were going to take that out, for sure. No way, somehow, someway, we’ll get there and it says sports entertainment. Like we’ll be dubbed over the wrestling but no, they kept it let it be. And there was a version of my song if I can find it, I’ll send it to you. There was a version of my song that was different, that was an option. And I just thought I think the audience would be really mad. Kingdom is I’ll follow you to the end. we can’t discredit that. We have to, we have to have it. So that was probably the most important piece of okay, we’re gonna bring the nightmare brand as it is, the most important piece is that song. I didn’t know it, but I was fighting for it.”

On Seth Rollins and their Hell in a Cell match:

“Oh, I feel like, Oh, man. I feel like because Seth and I’s rivalry is true, and real. I don’t want to tell you how unbelievably, it’s fair, it’s fair to say. Seth is, I can’t even begin to tell you how good Seth Rollins is as a wrestler, psychologist in the ring. And without getting too far, Seth made a decision that day that he made, it was his decision to make, that will forever be something I’m grateful for. Seth and I are not friends. It doesn’t look like we’re heading towards friendship. There has been some flirtation with it. Don’t think it’s going to happen though. All that aside, if I ever write a book one day, a whole chapter will be about how good that guy is and how he’s super valuable to WWE. And he’s still undervalued, in my opinion. And having Monday nights with him and I in a nice, competitive who’s the guy, without ever having to be in the ring with each other. I couldn’t ask for a better sparring partner in that sense. I don’t want to wrestle Seth ever again. But that day, he made a decision that was very important. And if you get him ask him because I still don’t want to say nice things about him.”

On using Dusty Rhodes in storylines:

“Yeah, I was okay. I was definitely okay with it. I got to the point where at the end of my run with AEW and the beginning of my run with WWE, where I was really big on leaning in, like I’ve been leaning out for so long, I’ve been leaning out. Okay, there’s they’re starting to boo here. And you’re kind of split, Let’s lean into it. Let’s, let’s stir it up. And when I came back, and the story was a real story, that is actually what I talked to Vince and Bruce about in that meeting was, hey, here’s the WWWF title, I have it. Dan Lambert gave it to me. This is the whole reason I wanted to be in the business, this physical piece of [history] this thing right here, this belt, this championship belt. So, I was fine with leaning in. Because it feels like it’s now or never, in a sense, it’s now or never that there’s things you have to earn. And when you’re someone’s kid, and you’re second generation, third generation, you have them all at your disposal from the beginning. But there’s a difference from when you use them at the beginning and when you’ve earned them. And I felt like I’d earned them. And I remember Stephanie McMahon said this. She said use everything, use everything you have. And there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to use everything. Oh WrestleMania, the main event, essentially getting elected president is getting that match the final match, like use it all, use everything you have and leave no stone unturned. And she was right.”

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