Cody Rhodes has been one of the most exciting figures in independent and international wrestling in the last couple of years. He’s currently the IWGP United States Champion over in New Japan, he only recently lost the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, and he won the latter at the huge independent All In event, which he and his friends organized themselves. Before all that, he was a weird face-painted space alien mid-carder in WWE, believe it or not.
Given his current career, he has no qualms about being honest regarding his experiences in WWE. In a live episode of Chris Jericho’s podcast, recorded on Jericho’s “Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager At Sea” cruise, Cody told the whole story about how he went from being regular Cody Rhodes in WWE to becoming Stardust, which happened while he was in a tag team with his older brother Dustin, aka Goldust. (Hat tip to WrestlingInc for the transcripts from Talk is Jericho.)
Oh man, [Stardust was pitched] just in the worst way ever. We had a fun little run. We never wanted to team together, but when we did, it was successful. And we did stuff with The Shield and have [Big] Show involved. We did dad’s last stand there in Buffalo [New York] and all that, so we found a lot of love and bond. When we’ve been together for a little while as a team, there is something cool about teaming with your brother. There’s a very real dynamic and a protective element to it, but I think they just thought it was getting a little stale, so God bless her, Stephanie McMahon, just randomly blurted out in gorilla [position], ‘why don’t you paint your face like your brother?’ And I’m looking, like, ‘ah…’ just trying to get out of the curtain, just trying to get out of the curtain, and then I saw the old man, I saw Vince just [imitating Vince], ‘yes!’ And he came out of gorilla, headset off, and he gave me the creative services guys’ info. Creative services is like a defunct brand.
In a week, they make me all these cool designs and none of them look like Goldust and I thought, “oh, this is great! I’m going to be a superhero! It was so cool. We paint your hair silver.” And as it got closer and closer and closer, Vince just kept picking the one that looked more and more like Goldust, more and more like Goldust, and I was just kind of like a Minidust by the end of it all.
Despite being made into “Minidust,” Cody made the most of it, creating his own weird character who was very different from what Goldust has been doing since the ’90s. In fact, it sounds like the praise he received for his performance caused some tension between the two brothers, who Cody makes clear love each other but already had some distance between them due to their two-decade age difference.
[Chris Jericho] paid me a compliment that my brother heard and ooh… I did these Stardust vignettes backstage, and they had made the star room for me, and they put a star filter on the camera, so there was a large investment in it and I really just wanted to go for it because it was essentially like wearing a mask. “Oh, when you wear a mask, you can do anything,” and Fit Finlay told me, “you can fall down; you can goof around; you’re no longer in any jeopardy of looking silly. This is silly enough.” So we did this one backstage [vignette], and it went really well, and Chris came up to us and he goes… and he was real excited because Chris is one of those who is really good about telling others in the locker room when they did good jobs, which is a thing that’s missing, by the way. Everyone just [says], “oh yeah…” But anyways, he came up and he said,”you’ve out Goldusted Goldust.” And I was like, “oh, thank you so much!”
I’m just standing there in this trash bag of a suit, and my face is all painted up, and I already feel like a d——d, and Dustin kind of like, all eight feet of him, shook his head and walked away, and I go, “oh no! That was it.” And every night after, it was “Stardust is over.” “No, no, no, Goldust is over.” “Oh, Goldust is taking the heat.” “No, my shoulder. Stardust will be taking the heat.” “Okay.”
Despite recent discussions, it sounds like Cody’s not in a hurry to return to WWE. On the other hand, he’s become such a big star as his human self since leaving, that WWE could decide they want him back no matter what he says, and let him do more of what he wants once he gets there. For Cody Rhodes, that might be the ultimate victory. On the other hand, he could just keep doing All In once a year, and that might be even better.