Cody Rhodes On His Worst Experience Working in the Independent Wrestling Scene, Leaving the Set of ‘Arrow’ Early to Make the Show, Not Being Paid

Photo Credit: NJPW/TV Asahi

Photo Credit: NJPW/TV Asahi

The ‘American Nightmare,’ Cody Rhodes was the most recent guest on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, which you can listen to the entire interview at this link. Below is a transcript of Cody detailing his worst experience on the Independent Wrestling Circuit thus far:

 I had one very bad experience in the Independent scene. The crowd was an amazing crowd; I got to wrestle Donovan Dijak, and if you’ve seen Donovan Dijak, he is extremely good, so I was really happy with the match. I’ll tell the story without naming the promotion, but long story short, there was a promotion out in Connecticut that they had scheduled me to wrestle against Dijak. They had it on the books for months and I never heard of them, even doing my homework, they hadn’t done a lot of events. It was a younger individual who was running this company. It’s less about the money and more about the opponent, that is why there isn’t a true rate in this. Like, for example, I’ve always wanted to wrestle Matt Cross so I think I wrestled him for free, I don’t know, I probably didn’t. Anyway, this guy got me to wrestle against Dijak; we ended up working in Ring of Honor and had a couple of matches prior to this. This was months out, I got contacted to go back on the set of Arrow to film an episode that just aired a few weeks ago. So, this was months out and I wanted to give him a heads up. I am looking at the schedule thinking there is almost no way I am going to make this guy’s show.

Let’s just contact him and find a suitable replacement and all that. The next bit of correspondence, this gentleman asking me about a sponsor dinner, meaning he had booked a bar & grill saying that I was going to be there and it was going to be a post-show party; like saying, all of us who had gone to a Wrestle-Pro event then afterwards we would all meet up at this spot. He told me that the event kind of hinges me to be there, and I was very forthcoming, like, hey, it’s unlikely that I am going to be at the show in the first place but we are doing everything we can to get there, but I don’t know if I can be able to make it to the post-show dinner. That was the last bit of correspondence that I had with him; the rest of the correspondence had dealt with him and my Manager, which sounds kind of snooty, but that was how it was. It got to the point where I had to take a flight from Vancouver in the morning to Hartford, and I was going to be there 30 minutes before the show actually started. It wasn’t the end of the world, we were going at the end of the night, so it’s not the end of the world, it was happening later in the night so we could make it happen. Had there been a single travel woe, I wouldn’t have made it. I am still on the set of Arrow at 4 in the morning the night before, laying on the rooftop in a cold pool of rain water with the character Diggle pointing a fake gun at me, doing the same scene over and over again, and I’m not saying anything or really needed, but I’m there. As the time is going by, I’m thinking to myself that it is 4 in the morning, there is just no way I can make it. I should be at the airport already because it takes 2 hours in customs. I’m in Canada, so the Arrow people are super accommodating; they put me in a van, changed my clothes, just brilliant. I mean, I’m a glorified extra on the show, asking for my own ride, but they took care of me great.

I made my first flight, I missed the first flight after going through customs and barely made the second flight. I’m so nervous because I don’t know when I am on because I had a suit on and my wrestling gear underneath it because I was convinced that this guy is not going to communicate with me I’m not going to make the show. Long story short, I decided that I made it, I had time to talk with Dijak, and let’s go balls to the wall. I am going to no sleep, but who cares, I can get through this and sleep all night, no big deal. We get through the match, we finish, everyone seemed really excited for the match. He told me that it was a record crowd. I felt a super sense of accomplishment, until afterward when he asks me if I am still up for that dinner? I said that I honestly don’t think I will be able to make it because I haven’t slept, and I think I’m just going to hit the hay. This is my first bad experience was in this one phrase, well, do you want to get paid? I didn’t know what to do; like, part of me wanted to move my hand, and everyone is looking. I looked at him and walked into the other room and literally just texted my wife asking what I should do. Brandi Rhodes is super, circle the wagon, let’s beat him—she’s not helpful in this regard, and then I came back in and I told him that I didn’t want his money. I am going to sign these 8×10’s for the gentlemen in the restaurant and I’m going to go. My driver took me halfway to the hotel, and on the way to the hotel I said, you know what, let’s go to that dinner. We turn around, go to the dinner, nobody has any interest that I am at the dinner. The guy cards me when I come in, marks my hand and everything, okay cool, I start to eat and the guy who threatened to not pay me, and a standing ovation from his minions. At that point I just got up and left; I just didn’t want to be attached to the event any longer. Sorry for such a long journey I took you on, but there is a second part when a Referee said to me after he heard the initial phrase, do you want to get paid, this random Referee seemed really nice up to that point, he said, hey man, you can’t blow him off like that, the last guy that did that was Kevin Nash. I’m thinking, I didn’t blow him off; I didn’t know. His whole crew is just staring at me, just a terrible experience. That was the one bad experience I had after the entire year.