All elite wrestling star Cody Rhodes makes it happen.
As a performer, promoter and father-to-be, Rhodes makes the most of every minute. With a new reality show on the way and a live audience returning to AEW, the Marietta, GA man sat down for an exclusive chat with M&F to find out how he managed to create his own identity carve while part of such a highly respected professional wrestling family.
If you have a basic understanding of the legendary Rhodes family of pro wrestling, you might get the impression that Cody was always destined to follow in the footsteps of his heralded father Dusty and legendary older brother Dustin. But what you may not know is that unlike his relatives, Cody fell in love with amateur wrestling before venturing into the pro side, and all of this happened in a completely indirect way.
“I was 7 or 8 years old and had nothing to do with my father,” says Rhodes. “He didn't know anything about folk style, freestyle or basically wrestling at an Olympic level. He only knew about other professional wrestlers who had this discipline. When I was playing soccer, another dad suggested that I wrestle to keep in shape for the soccer season. I tried it and found that it was very different from the pro wrestling I saw on TV, but I was hooked from the start. "
Freestyle it first
Far from being a natural, Rhodes admits he “wasn't good” at freestyle wrestling at first, but everything started to click by the age of 14. “I had good technique, but I didn't have upper body strength,” he says. After Rhodes persisted with weight training, including practicing his chin-ups, Rhodes eventually evolved into the full package. "When I was able to bring the two things, strength and technique, together, I really started," says Rhodes.
Rhodes' memories of amateur wrestling are mostly popular, and it was a time that instilled great confidence in the young man as it helped him develop his own identity, separate from the revered pro-wrestling legends in his own Bloodline. “It's fun to be the son of a professional wrestler,” he says. "Although my dad never looked down on amateur wrestling, I often went to these camps like the Ken Chertow Gold Medal Camp or I went out of state for Team Georgia, and some of the parents raised their eyebrows on Dusty."
In his sophomore year, Rhodes finished second in the Cobb County Tournament and Region 6AAAAA Tournament. Then the "plumber's grandson" stepped down from football to focus on wrestling and hit an unbeaten 18-0 streak at £ 189. He also won the Cobb Country title at that weight, improving his record to 42-0 before winning the Georgia State title.
While Rhodes was passionate about amateur wrestling, he was also aware of how difficult it would be to make a secure financial living in the sport. “Apart from the World Championships and the Olympic Games, there was really no profitable calling in folk style or freestyle wrestling,” he says. After his final senior year game, Rhodes bowed fully. At that time he was attending more and more pro wrestling shows and felt ready to make the transition.
Cody says that having a background in another discipline can be beneficial when entering the world of pro wrestling. "It's very helpful to have wrestling as a background, or Jiujitsu," he says. “Because a lot of pro wrestling is rooted in the idea of leveraging and chain wrestling. When you see guys like Verne Gagne and Billy Robinson, you see. "
Next Generation Rhodes Scholars
Today Rhodes runs his own pro wrestling school known as the Nightmare Factory and strives to pass the skills of some of the most respected technicians in pro wrestling. “When you watch a guy like Fit Finlay or Steven Regal or Kurt Angle or even Larry Zbyszko, they're always on the move,” says Rhodes. "Whether they are trying to get a leg or an arm, as opposed to what we would simply call 'a climax' in professional wrestling." The American Nightmare understands that hooking a leg is to showcase pro wrestling -Matches only matters, or maybe even more important, than a noticeable jump off the top rope. “Kurt Angle is the best example of all,” he says. "Dolph Ziggler is different when it comes to applying his amateur skills."
At AEW Double or thing, Rhodes defeated his student, former professional boxer Anthony Ogogo, in a match that was promising for the newcomer. It was an evening that touched the hearts of everyone in the squad. “I think 'Double or thing' is solidifying as our biggest event,” says Rhodes. “Everyone in the locker room really wants to be on Double or thing, and having the crowd back and having them so close has touched the show. It's such a blessing to have people back. ”As AEW keeps getting stronger (watch AEW Dynamite on TNT), Cody's time is already limited, but with his new, unwritten series," Rhodes to the Top, "the is currently in production, he and his wife-to-be, Brandi, have to take more time to spend on health and fitness.
Stay in shape
Cody is now 35 years old and has extensive knowledge and experience when it comes to keeping in shape. “The maintenance effort is enormous,” he says. "I feel like I've been doing maintenance training since I was 14, ever since someone first taught me to talk around and use the gym."
“In amateur wrestling, you need that leg strength, that core, and that upper body strength,” says Rhodes. “And today you can no longer just show muscles in professional wrestling like in the late 80s and 9s. wadays there are guys like Hangman Page who can put an opponent in a fallaway position and do a full flip (hold). That requires real functional strength. When people get snappy with Brandi (also a wrestler) or me and they say we're always in the gym, Brandi is always quick to remind them that it's part of our job. "
With Rhodes ‘epic schedule, he draws on the experts at the Chip Smith Performance Center in Georgia for his workouts. “We use a lot of the same workouts as guys do
training for the combine, ”says Rhodes. “The biggest thing we've implemented lately is the VertiMax for jump work. It helped me alot."
Keep it old school
"If I feel like I can get in there and really embody a professional wrestler, and the spirit of it all, I have to rock hard," he says. “I enjoy training with Preston Vance (known as '10', in the Dark Order faction of AEW). He's a great strength athlete and it's going to be a classic competition between us guys. John Cena was one of my inspirations watching him do those frequent gym workouts, and he's always been a heavyweight at everything, so I try to bring that with me. "
Rhodes in the future
With a camera crew preparing to shoot at Codys and Brandi's house and a baby on the way, keeping track of your future success is essential. AEW is back on the road and even has an eye on international tours, so how does our man keep his mind? Does it thrive under pressure? “I don't know if I'll thrive on it, but it only helps if you don't really take a day off,” he laughs. “I actually like that. It keeps me going and it keeps me going. It's easier if the train continues! "