Though Cody Rhodes hasn’t been a member of the AEW universe in over a year, with his final match in the promotion coming in January of 2022 when he lost the TNT Championship to Sammy Guevara on Dynamite, “The American Nightmare’s” influence on the promotion he helped to start remains to this very day, with his likeness, name, and accomplishments mentioned across AEW’s media whenever it’s convenient.
And behind the scenes? Well, Rhodes has been even more impactful, as, according to Shawn Spears in an interview with Chris Van Vliet, the RAW Superstar has been incredibly impactful on the careers of some of his former young coworkers from Guevara to Darby Allin, MJF, and beyond.
“You can’t say do the work and not do the work,” Spears said via SE Scoops. “But (Cody Rhodes’) also a guy that, he strives to make everybody around him better. That is something as I’ve sat back and seen with a lot of talent he’s worked with in AEW. It’s also a challenge because if you do not keep up with him, he will leave you behind as a lesson and rightfully so. I believe that as well. Any show you’re on, bring your best because I’m gonna bring my best and if you can’t keep up, that is not my fault. I will leave you behind because we take professional wrestling very seriously.
“So, to see him instill that quality in young talent and to see them up their game, see where they are now, the young Sammy Guevaras and Darby Allins and Jungle Boys, MJFs like you can see now that, when they first started to where they are now, you can kind of see a lot of his teachings there. Even I, I helped him out a lot. He’ll tell you or he’ll tell people that I taught him how to wrestle. He’s taught me a h*ll of a lot in terms of how to be an absolute professionals’ professional in this industry.”
Now to be fair, Spears isn’t the only WWE personality who has put over Rhodes for his helpfulness or generosity of time, as MJF provided the rare vote of confidence to “The Grandson of a Plummer” for his efforts at WrestleMania 39, even if he ultimately came up short against “The Tribal Chief.” Then again, that shouldn’t be too surprising, as, according to Spears, if there’s one thing Rhodes is better at than being a wrestler, it’s being a welcoming person.
Shawn Spears believes Cody Rhodes was destined to be a singles superstar.
Elsewhere in his interview with Van Vliet, Shawn Spears again discussed Cody Rhodes and how, despite having obstacles set in his way, Dusty’s kid found a way to overcome them and become the star he was always destined to be.
“He is. I get kind of choked up, I get emotional when I think about it now,” Spears said. “I’m not gonna cry because I’m not gonna give him that. But to see where he started and I was there when he started to see now where he is. He’s a guy that always without fail bet on himself. It sounds cheesy, but he’s destined to be in the spot that he’s in right now. In the spot that he’s in on Sunday or by the time this airs, whatever the outcome is. His thing is finish the story. You can’t write a better story. I remember when we were in OVW. We were a tag team and Dusty [Rhodes], his dad came down, he was doing a little bit over ‘Hey, baby we’re gonna put you guys together. [He’s] young good looking. You got a little bit of experience.’ Cody was very popular. He didn’t have much experience but he was very popular with the fan base. Obviously, he’s a pretty guy. So putting us together was a really good idea at the time and it really helped.”
“But Dusty said, ‘Nice baby-face tag team, give you a good little bit of run, but I just need you to know that Cody is destined to be a singles star.’ Told me that way back when. I don’t think Cody was in a year. But he knew it, he felt it. Of course we’re talking about arguably one of the greatest of all time. People might say ‘Well, that’s just the father speaking very highly of the son.’ Okay. I consider it a prediction because look where his son is now. He was always destined to be a singles star and he knows it. There’s no one in my mind that is more deserving than that guy.”
Did Dusty speak Cody’s eventual stardom into existence even if he didn’t live long enough to see it? It’s impossible to know, but as Spears put it, you have to give it up to “The American Nightmare,” he had a goal, spent years pushing to achieve it, and ultimately came out on top; we should all be so lucky.
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