The Wednesday Night Wars between WWE NXT and AEW Dynamite are in full swing.
Staring at one another across the battlefield of each brand is their general: Triple H commanding the entrenched men and women of NXT and Cody Rhodes inspiring the many stars of Dynamite that look to flip the wrestling industry on its head.
It was back in May of this year at AEW’s Double or Nothing show that Cody launched the first shot at WWE, by using a sledgehammer to smash a throne designed to mimic that of Triple H. Since then the competition and tension between the two companies and their stars have only increased.
So it was a bit of a surprise to hear Cody tell Peter Rosenberg during an interview on Rosenberg’s podcast, Cheap Heat, how grateful he was to the McMahon family and that if they ever asked him to repay his debt, he would.
Read the full exchange below.
Rosenberg: I’ve always been puzzled about the WWE’s relationship with your dad. It’s always been just a point of confusion for me as a fan. Since you have him as the most beloved, maybe the most beloved former great ever in terms of actual performers and the people in the company, and how they felt about him. And that’s propped up quite a bit. They also use that. They’ve named tournaments after him. He is a fixture.
Then at the same time, if you’re as big a wrestling nerd as you are, or I am, or everyone listening is, you also know that there have been these moments when they have clearly, at least it appears, dug at him. From the polka dots, to Virgil, all these things. How do you at this point view the way Vince McMahon and the WWE felt about your father?
Cody: It’s very simple. I could smash a thousand thrones and I could make a thousand pot shots and little fourth wall breaking comments about my experience because it is vastly different from Dusty’s.
But as his son, I know that in 2005 when he got his first royalty check for the Dusty Rhodes DVD, which they did a marvelous job on, my mother literally hit her knees in the kitchen and thank god for them having brought him back to financial security. For them having given him a home in the winter of his life in a functional thing to chew on with NXT and to maybe help and guide a few young stars. So with that in mind and what they did for him at the end, I will never be ungrateful to them.
Now I have my own opinions about my own career that are mine, and people think that because of what they did for my dad I should ya know be voiceless on occasion and that’s just never going to be the case. But, I will always say that I owe them a great debt. Maybe I paid it personally with the way things ended. Who knows. But I’ll never forget that. Both Hunter and Vince and Stephanie McMahon were very good to my father when he needed it, and as his son that’s something that if they ever ask me to ya know, to repay that debt, I’ll go repay it. Because it was important.
Now I know that the narrative is the McMahons hate the Rhodes and maybe in there there’s some true to that. But ya know. If I have a few drinks ask me the same question and the answer might be completely different. But in this moment, in this moment, I still remain very grateful for what they did for my dad. What they did for me, different story. What they did for him, very grateful.
AEW Dynamite and WWE NXT air Wednesdays at 8pm ET, on TNT and USA respectively.
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