By Chuck Carroll
When I spoke with Cody Rhodes a few months ago he told me that he had no regrets leaving the WWE. He had been logging tens of thousands of miles in the air and rarely got home. At the time, he had just wrestled a match in Tokyo, only to wrestle the following night in the United Kingdom. Just a couple of days later he would be setting foot inside of a ring in Orlando. Somewhere in between there was also a stop in the Pacific Northwest. It was a mind-numbingly grueling schedule that would be difficult for even the most ardent world traveler to keep up.
Flash forward to present day, and Rhodes is doubling down on his enthusiasm for the post-WWE chaos. As he approaches the first anniversary of his departure from wrestling’s biggest company, it’s clear that he doesn’t miss it. He left because he felt that he was being underutilized. It’s a chip that clearly remains on his shoulder. That same chip is also what drives him to work on opposite ends of the globe on successive nights.
Rhodes recently told Sports Illustrated that his days of being a grappling globetrotter were numbered. “It’s been really fun to cross all the streams, but at this point I do need to find a new home,” he said. The plan was to cut back on the insane amount of frequent flyer miles he was accruing and stay closer to his actual home in Georgia.
But Rhodes tells me he spoke too soon. His calendar will look as full as George Costanza’s wallet at least through September.
I had the opportunity to sit down again with him recently before Ring of Honor’s War of the Worlds pay-per-view event in New York. The most interesting thing to come out of the conversation wasn’t his future in wrestling. It was that his wife, Brandi Rhodes, wants to do hardcore wrestling. Apparently, she’s been soliciting advice and instructions for using flash paper to throw fireballs in the ring. Mind you, this comes on the heels of her being slammed on a bed of thumbtacks during an inter-gender match.
You’ve been a world traveler for a while now…
We’re approaching that year anniversary of time after WWE. Time went by (in a snap). It’s nuts.
Give me an idea of what the average week is like for you. Do you even get time at home?
I could show you the calendar. The calendar is just hilarious. But yeah, I get home when I have to work [shows] at home. Lately I haven’t gotten home, and I’m not complaining about it, because it’s what I’ve asked for. My wife’s been very busy. I’ve been very busy. We have a very strong bond with one another. There’s a lot of missing one another, that’s for sure. But it’s what I asked for. I said when I left WWE that I deserved more and was worth more. Now that I’m [in] that premiere role, I certainly can’t complain about it. If I caught myself complaining about it, I’d kick my own ass.
You mentioned your wife [Brandi Rhodes]. When last we spoke, she was still training and premiered with Impact. How is that coming along? What does the future hold for her?
She’s crazy. She wants to do tables and tacks. She asked me about flash paper the other day.
Shut up. Seriously?
Yeah! She did tacks with Joey Ryan at WrestlePro in Orlando. I gave her the worst advice ever and said you won’t feel it because of the adrenaline. And then I could tell she felt every bit of it. But flash paper is when you’re literally throwing a fireball at somebody. So, I might draw the line at flash paper. She likes that gritty element of what we do. It’s funny, because I don’t know if she watched any ECW or death-match stuff or any old Terry Funk stuff. Maybe she has been. She’s been really enjoying it. She has a lot of different things in the fire, kind of a very entrepreneurial spirit. Wrestling is something she does more for fun than money or vocation. I really enjoy watching her.
She’s doing this more for fun or as a hobby, but is she under contract anywhere exclusively? Obviously not if she’s working independents.
We Rhodes refuse to be exclusive anywhere. (laughs)
What are the odds we’ll see her in Ring of Honor?
She has a good relationship with Mandy (Leon). She’s been watching through the curtain at the last couple of Women of Honor shows. She got a chance to train with Delirious at the ROH Dojo for a day, and I could [see] her eyes get wide open. It’s highly likely that we could see her doing something with Women of Honor down the road. I also think that you could see her doing something with Impact down the road. She really enjoyed her time with Jeff and Karen Jarrett at Impact. That was always an experience that was more about her in the first place, because she was the one that wanted to go. I hope I get to be a “stage husband” and come to some of her Impact matches and see how she does.
You, Rhodes, aren’t exclusive, but you did an interview with Sports Illustrated not long ago where you said that it was almost time to make a decision on a permanent new home. What goes into the decision?
I guess I spoke too soon. It’s probably not time to make a decision. But if I did make a decision, it’s just a matter of trust. There’s so little trust in pro wrestling. So little. And there should be. We all love this thing and want to put on the best show and fill all of the seats in the house. But it’s trust and being around people in the office that I trust. I trust every guy in the locker room for the most part. But it’s finding that top brass in most companies that I know, if I put my name on the dotted line, that I’ll be taken care of. Honestly, any offer that came my way I haven’t really looked at. My date book is still pretty deep — all the way through September. It goes everywhere. We’ll probably revisit it then.
So end of September, but you don’t have a firm date?
No, and I keep adding independent dates. So who knows?
You’ve heard about the mega-deal [ROH parent company] Sinclair just made to acquire Tribune Broadcasting. That’s going to give Ring of Honor a whole lot more exposure. When that day comes when you need to “pick a home,” does the size and reach of the company at all factor into it?
It’s whatever is a better fit for me. It’s gotta be somewhere that allows me to roam. Even with exclusivity, I still like the concept of roaming. Like New Japan Pro Wrestling, I have a series of dates with them throughout the next year. I wouldn’t sacrifice that for anything. So if there’s a company willing to play ball with those, then that’s more the direction. It’s cool to be part of this with Ring of Honor, because they’re rolling right now. Like red-hot rolling. It’s very, very good. It’s a very good place to be.
News & Notes:
– Ring of Honor champion Christopher Daniels will throw out the first pitch before Sunday’s Chicago White Sox game. ROH is holding television tapings in the Windy City on June 3.
– The ongoing saga between The Hardys and Impact Wrestling continues. The two sides remain at odds over ownership of the “Broken” characters. Impact’s parent company, Anthem Media, released portions of Matt Hardy’s contract and text correspondence with a high-ranking company official to PWInsider.com. The company also included an email exchange between Anthem and WWE where WWE said they had no interest in utilizing the “Broken Matt Hardy” or any related gimmicks.
Hardy’s wife, Reby, fired back by claiming Anthem’s account was “innacurate” and proceeded to call the company “a joke.” She says Anthem was attempting to coerce WWE into buying the “Broken” gimmick, adding that it wasn’t legally theirs to sell. In a bit of a Twitter mic drop, she said “it’s ALLLLLL coming out in court, honey.”
Matt Hardy added this:
Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC.