WWE Superstar — and recent ESPY winner — Cody Rhodes was on a historic run after making a jaw-dropping return to the company a few months ago at WrestleMania. Now unfortunately temporarily sidelined after surgery for a torn pectoral muscle, the “American Nightmare” looks to get back into the ring as soon as possible and get back on track to win, for the first time ever, the WWE Championship.
Fandom spoke to Cody at San Diego Comic-Con to get answers about the second generation star’s return estimates, his shocking Hell in a Cell match (which he went into with the aforementioned torn pec), and his very passionate thoughts on the Legend of Zelda game franchise.
The Injury from/in Hell
First things first: What did Cody have to say about his possible return date? “I’d say I’ll be back ahead of schedule.”
“But I’m not going to push it,” Cody added. “Because I really want this run to count and matter.”
Cody received praise for his herculean efforts at Hell in a Cell but also some criticism for wrestling with, in the very least, one of the worst looking injuries in recent memory. But Cody felt confident that he had it all under control, despite, admittedly, not taking his own advice. As Cody put it, “I encourage our kids at the Nightmare Factory, at our [wrestling] school, I always tell them. ‘Hey, you’ll wrestle hurt but don’t ever wrestle injured. And then I went out very injured and wrestled, so very hypocritical [of me].”
“The first few minutes of it are the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he shared. “Honestly, I don’t even like thinking about it. There’s a spot where I sit up and bang the mat and I was either gonna puke or pass out because it was so ridiculously [painful]. I saw somebody online say, ‘They must have pumped him full of painkillers!’ Three Tylenol was what I had that day. I just hid on the bus and didn’t do anything.”
Cody not only performed with an astoundingly painful injury, but he also put in the full work, going the distance and not delivering a short main event. “I’m very proud of that situation,” he continued. “I think we went 27 minutes with half a body part and to be able for that match to be seen with such reverence and love, you know, again, 10 times out of 10 I would have made the same choice. Sold out Allstate Arena, Chicago, I’m on the chair? Yeah, we’re doing it.”
Seth Rollins, Cody’s opponent in the Hell in a Cell match, has gone on record about how he hadn’t seen how gruesome Cody ’s injury looked until squaring off in the ring. “Very few people had actually seen how bad the bruising was,” Cody said. “It’s incredibly toyetic so hopefully somebody jumps on that; the whole, like, Dumbledore arm that I had.”
The Ultimate Cody
Speaking of toys, Mattel revealed the Ultimate Edition Cody Rhodes figure during its Comic-Con panel and Cody himself was over the moon about it. In fact, he’s loved all of his action figures. “The first time you get it, it’s the most humbling, ‘Oh my gosh!’ moment,” he said. “And then you start to believe your own hype and just go ‘Oh, I’m so famous that it’s expected that I have these figures of me.’ And then you go away. I stepped away for a while and I was working with Jazwares and now back to working with Mattel.”
This [figure reveal] is probably the one I’ve been most excited about ever,” Cody beamed. “I am a Mattel Creations shopper because I wanted to get a Sun-Man and Scare Glow from San Diego Comic-Con last time and I’m part of it so now is really cool. Plus they made my chest hairy, which is different. The box art, to have the tattoo… I know that tattoo’s very polarizing, but it’s everywhere in the stuff they’ve used and branded. They did a really great job. I will never take it for granted.”
He added, “I have a buddy, Matt Cardona [former WWE Superstar Zack Ryder]. He’s cataloging all of them because I just don’t keep anything. I don’t collect anything. He’s cataloging all the Rhodes’ ever so I have them all. It’s really cool. To hear Undertaker say he’s kept every figure of himself for 20 years and I don’t have one felt like, ‘Oh, I should catch up.’
Breath of the Wild
is Incredible, But…
Shifting gears in the realm of nerd-dom, Cody is a proud and passionate Zelda fan — his wedding band is a tattoo on his finger of the Triforce — and was overjoyed to be asked about his thoughts on the franchise, particularly what he’d love from the next installment.
“Breath of the Wild is the best gameplay Zelda,” he stated. “Gameplay-wise, it’s the best and to some people, it’s the best Zelda there was. I’m an Ocarina of Time Zelda [fan], that’s my favorite. However, Breath of the Wild has the more replay value. In terms of if they pick right up where they left off, essentially, all I would like is a bit more story. I love Breath of the Wild and it was cinematic and it was epic and it was all these things I never expected we’d get. I just need a little bit more story.”
“Also, I’m the terrible type of consumer and fan that people keep rehashing properties for,” Cody said. “My Zelda game has to have a Ganondorf in it. It can be Calamity Ganon, which is fine, because I know it’s him. But I need Ganondorf in it. I’m a big fan of what they’ve done with Princess Zelda herself. They gave her a whole new empowerment and also a little haircut going on. I’m a big fan of this stuff.”
Cody was also intrigued at the idea of playing from Zelda or Sheik’s standpoint, as opposed to just Link, when we suggested the possibility to him. “I think a game where you split your characters like that would be amazing. I really do. It’d be great to play. I mean Hyrule Warriors has shown you can play with all these different characters. But one of the better reveals even — and actually, it wasn’t obvious to me at the time I was playing — one of the better reveals of all time is Sheik being Zelda in the Temple of Time and this whole moment. It’s, like, money-making… It was better than any movie that was out at the time.”
Additional reporting by Eric Goldman.