Cody Rhodes has shared a story about how Vince McMahon perceived Dusty Rhodes in a very positive light.
When Cody Rhodes returned to WWE at WrestleMania 38 in 2022, he appeared on Raw the next night to tell a story about his father. Cody’s dad is the legendary WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, who is regarded by many to be one of the greatest wrestlers ever and a man that had an incredible mind for the entire pro wrestling business.
While Dusty was mostly associated with the NWA during his prime, he also competed against “Superstar” Billy Graham for the WWWF Heavyweight Championship at WWWF shows that took place at Madison Square Garden and other places.
Dusty Rhodes never became WWWF (now WWE) World Champion, but he certainly came close since he defeated Graham by countout, but wrestling fans know a title doesn’t change hands on a countout.
During a lengthy interview with Peter Rosenberg of Hot 97, Cody Rhodes revealed that WWE’s Executive Chairman Vince McMahon thought of Dusty as a guy he could build a company around.
“One of the things that I was told as a kid was that right after these Garden Shows with ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham, is that Vince McMahon wanted to use Dusty and ‘Superstar’ for his expansion, the expansion that would become what we know and where we work and the biggest global sports entertainment wrestling entity on the planet, by far. They booked recording studio time, they were going to make albums, this was before Rock N Wrestling where Vince had these ideas of reaching out beyond pro wrestling.”
“As a kid, hearing that story from Dusty, I didn’t believe it. I’m watching VHS videos of Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior and I thought it was his way of catching up, ‘I was really special too,’ he didn’t need to do that, but everyone has an ego.”
As he continued, Cody Rhodes explained that Vince McMahon himself told the same story.
“Come to find out, one day I’m sitting by the ring, this is before I left, I’m still doing Stardust, Vince told me the exact story. How mad he was that Dad left and he was going to give him the whole world and he wanted him to be the Hogan and all this. I remember my dad telling me how Hogan used to come to Champion Wrestling from Florida and watched him and revered him. It just sounded like, ‘you’re just trying to chase that clout.’ Then I heard it from Vince and then I heard it from Hogan and Bruce Prichard.”
Cody Rhodes went on to say he hopes this is covered on the A&E Biography documentary about Dusty where Cody is an Executive Producer.
“I hope we cover this on the documentary. I consider Dusty Rhodes a Mount Rushmore guy, and not just because he’s my dad. If it’s a son Mount Rushmore, I’m putting four Dustys. I consider him from an industry perspective, closed circuit becoming pay-per-view, The Big Event, the idea of sizzle and matching substance, especially what him and ‘Superstar’ did in the Garden, that’s why the Garden is so dang special to me. It was great to get this part of the story out there and hear it from Bruce as well.”
When Dusty fully committed to WWE in 1989, he was past his prime a bit and famously wore polka dots during his matches, which wasn’t considered a flattering look.
“Then, he comes in, he’s past his prime. I don’t believe [Vince] took it out on [Dusty]. If you hear it from himself, he just thought he was past his prime, ‘let’s do some fun stuff.’ When I try to tell fans that the polka dots weren’t a rib, it’s one of those things where they will argue with me on it. I don’t want to argue about this. In the past, I tried to argue it.”
“The only thing I could offer of substance that it wasn’t a rib is that he was in major rivalries. Ted DiBiase, Macho King [Randy Savage] as WrestleMania bringing Liz [Miss Elizabeth] back to the ring, Big Bossman.”
“He was in major rivalries for the tiny amount of time he was there. He was prominent the whole time he was there. He was on before intermission or on last depending on where Hogan wanted to go on the card. It’s also where he made the most money he ever made in his career, and prior to that he had been an executive producer and or top talent at NWA.
“I don’t mind when people are like, ‘they don’t love the Rhodes.’ I like the narrative of the McMahons pushing the Rhodes a bit. It’s a fun narrative. There might be some truth in it.”
“Vince is this Adonis and it turned into the physique and what he wanted, maybe we don’t check his box. However, we still come together with these random royal families in wrestling and we offer what we offer, and I want to make it clear how high up we are on the list.”
Cody Rhodes will try to do something that Dusty never did when he competes for the Undisputed WWE World Championship at WrestleMania 39 against champion Roman Reigns or his Elimination Chamber challenger, Sami Zayn.