Cody Rhodes has likened being booed in AEW to Woody being cast aside after the arrival of Buzz Lightyear in the first Toy Story film.
Cody Rhodes has been a staple of AEW after helping start the organisation with The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and Tony Khan. Before winning the TNT Championship, The American Nightmare was heavily featured on AEW television, challenging for the World Championship against Chris Jericho at Full Gear 2019.
Cody Rhodes has been forced out of the AEW World Championship picture while also embarking on a number of ventures outside of the ring. Rhodes To The Top is his most recent scripted reality show, which he co-created with his wife Brandi.
While Cody Rhodes was a fan favourite during AEW’s early days, The American Nightmare is now met with a much more mixed reception.
Rhodes discussed the current reaction to his character and where he sees it going in the future on Busted Open Radio. The former TNT Champion began by saying that if fans have paid to attend a show, they have the right to react however they see fit:
“I’m of the outlook that if you pay your money to attend the show if you give us your attention to watch the show, you do whatever you want. I think our competition in the wrestling space, one of the things that has hurt them is their inability to hear.”
“If you’re a wrestler in the ring, you can hear and if you don’t hear [reactions], you’re doing yourself a disservice. You’re doing the whole company a disservice, you’re doing the match you’re in a disservice. I can hear but I also play chess, not checkers.”
In addition, Rhodes stated that he wants to try something new with his character rather than rely on what has worked in wrestling’s past:
“So I think it’s fun to speculate and there’s so much that we’ve seen in the past, ‘That’s how this went and that’s how this could go.’ The challenge I’m facing in the direction I’m going is something that has never been done in wrestling before.”
There’s tons of just old plays that we could run here, ‘Oh, kick this guy in the balls and abuse my EVP power.’ Very soap opera bullsh*t. I don’t mean to say that harsh, but the challenge for me now is to go in a direction that perhaps no wrestler has gone before.”
“I don’t come out of either tunnel if that’s probably the best way to put it, and I’m looking forward to it as the most fun I’ve ever had in my career has been navigating some of these new spaces.”
“For example, in New York, we had 25,000 people and that reaction’s a little different. Last week, I’m in the concourse doing a book drive for community outreach and it’s the opposite of that reaction in Philly. That beautiful feeling of, ‘Alright, these are my people,’ depends [on the setting].”
“Some places I go, they’ll be my people. Other places I go, they won’t, but that’s your right as the fan to do what you want.”
Despite his recent mixed reactions, Rhodes has stated repeatedly in interviews that he will not turn heel.
The second-generation star then admitted that the boos do have an effect on him, drawing the unusual parallel between himself and Woody in Toy Story:
“Woody was having a hell of a time. He was having a great time. He was getting played with every day. He was the number one toy. Buzz Lightyear shows up, Woody gets thrown in the toy box. If you’re wondering how I feel, take a peek at how Woody felt in the very first Toy Story because that, to a degree, has been my role lately.”
“However, with that said in my pettiness aside, I have been doing this since I was 15 years old and that education is invaluable in terms of me not panicking, and in terms of also me enjoying this moment. I’ve never had a run like this in my career where everything is happening at once personally and professionally.”
“I want to ride the wave. I want to look back at it and enjoy it. But yes, if anyone wants to know perhaps how I feel I identify with Woody from Toy Story if that makes any sense. That’s where I’m at with it.”
After receiving harsh words from his head coach Arn Anderson, Cody Rhodes might find himself singing The Ballad of The Lonesome Cowboy before too long.