It is a Monday night in London. For most wrestling companies this wouldn't be a show night but WCPW isn't just any wrestling company. The promotion has been making a name for itself, putting on some of the best British talent in the country alongside international superstars fans can't wait to see. London's Coronet Theatre was packed to the rafters with a crowd in full voice and a card many would envy. WCPW, soon to embark upon its most exciting project - a world cup of wrestling (details here) is relentlessly touring the UK, extending its YouTube reach (already at over a million subscribers) and building content for its On-Demand service. The show - soon to be exclusively on said service - was headlined by none other than the iconic, newly dubbed "American Nightmare" Cody Rhodes. From Rhodes Scholar to paper bag enforcer, Legacy partner to Stardust, Cody has already had an illustrious career. Now working across Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor and New Japan, Rhodes continues to be one of wrestling's MVPs. We were able to speak to him in advance of the WCPW show and get his thoughts on wrestling, acting and more. Read on and make sure to continue to follow his WCPW exploits - details of which follow the interview.
What are your thoughts on the UK independent wrestling scene? Is there anyone you've found that you rate particularly highly?
Great question, the UK indy scene isn't particularly like an indy scene. I guess its independent because it's not WWE but if you look at RevPro, if you look at What Culture, if you look at Progress these are individual brands that have their own fans - fans with What Culture merchandise on tonight. And the amount of talent out there, it's almost like a list of when you go to a show, who shouldn't you look for! Particularly one that really stands out for me is Jimmy Havoc. There's guys who have all the tools and then guys who just have some-thing. Some element, some.. swagger I guess is the term. Jimmy Havoc has just something very special. I think he has a significant future and of course a great current thing going on - but I really like Jimmy Havoc and I think American fans, if you ask them who do you look over for in the UK, I think he's one of them.
You've got an amateur wrestling background, how important do you think such experience is in preparing for professional wrestling?
It varies. I just did wXw's 16 Carat Gold tournament in Germany and they also hosted a tournament called "Ambition" which was melding the styles a little bit. It really is case by case. I don't think its required any more. At one point it was a required thing or at least you had to act like you knew how to defend yourself. I think it's good to be familiar with all styles though. WWE/NXT has a legitimate striking class now. That only helps our industry. Our industry changes on a daily basis with what people connect to versus what they don't. We all know what its like to get smashed in the face and that's something that it's easy to associate with!
You famously had a list for your post-WWE career. How's that going? Roddy isn't viable anymore...
I think I'm going to do a second list on the anniversary of the list! I originally thought "another list? Oh get over it" but it was such a cool thing and it was a nice guide, almost like an objectives list because nearly everything on there has happened in some capacity with the exception of Roddy which - we'll leave unchecked for now. I've had a bunch of people be my personal ring announcer, non-televised events I've had some wild ones. I'm glad it gave me and fans something. Fans could look forward to something and I could look forward to doing something.
You're going to be on Arrow again. Will we see more acting - Star Trek, the inhumans...?
I just found out about Arrow too. I don't think the Inhumans thing will ever happen but I've got my crosshairs on something. They're getting ready to leave the pre-production stage for Metal Gear Solid and I'd like to be part of that Franchise. I know the game backwards and forwards. Even if I'm just a genome soldier I'm OK. I moved to LA to give that my undivided attention. I do too much wrestling it seems though to ever walk into a rehearsal or audition anywhere but I'm really, really humbled that Arrow's having me back and curious to see where it goes. The character Derek Sampson they built on their show so it's great that they can re-introduce him again.
Looking five years down the line, where do you see yourself?
Where will I be, 36? I'm going to retire from wrestling at 40, so I'll still be wrestling. I'd like to see I'd picked up a few more acting gigs as they are definitely easier on the body but it's very likely that we could be standing here all three of us in this exact same spot! 40 is the cut off. I grew up with my dad wrestling into his 60s and I couldn't handle that. It's funny because he wanted to do it and they all want to do it - look at Terry Funk... That's just the number I have in my mind. It's a young man's game, I like keeping it that way (watch me go beyond, ha!). One of my frustrations with wrestling in general today is that we can't decide whether we're moving forward or if we're going to keep going backwards. Maybe somewhere in the middle is where we really should be. There's so much going backwards when you can really go forwards, there's so many really great wrestlers out there.
You gave an interview and later clarified your reservations about people using industry terms - "babyface" or "heat", for example. Do people have too much insight into the business or do they think they do?
It's kind of the latter but it's actually advantageous to what we do. It presents a new challenge. Al Snow put it best. Everyone who comes thinks they know but the only people who actually know are the people in the ring. The language is just funny because it's now become the fans language. If you walk into a locker room, the only person who uses any of those terms is the trainee. The guy who has been there 6 months and it's almost like he got the right to use it. Whereas if you talk to somebody on a higher plane, like a Shawn Michaels, you never hear those terms. You almost feel weird for using them. I love it because it's the vernacular for the fan base and its how they communicate to each other.
What's your best rib story?
On me? There's been a lot! I was pretty susceptible. This is just a simple one but Yoshi Tatsu decided that he would drink red wine heavily for a whole European tour - he wasn't a big red wine drinker but after each show he'd keep drinking these bottles and we started calling him "Red Wine Yoshi". It didn't affect his work or anything but we did the last show and Fit Finlay decided to put him out to the UB40 song "Red, Red Wine". He didn't notice that his music wasn't playing. It's a completely different cadence and rhythm but he was doing his whole running around the ring, pumping his fist piece but the music was slow. To see it be a rib but not a rib at all because he didn't notice on the way in or way out - that always pops me.
That may have popped Cody but what has us popping is the news that he will be back to entertain the UK crowds all over again. He is currently listed for WCPW's March 21st World Cup: England tournament in Nottingham alongside his Bullet Club pals the Young Bucks and Adam Cole (tickets here) and the Mexico tournament on April 30 at the Coventry Skydome (tickets here). The WCPW World Cup is something we've covered here and also calls at Motherwell's Civic Centre for its Scottish leg on March 23rd. WCPW will be in Newcastle on April 29 with Rey Mysterio and in Orlando on April 1st. Tickets for all their shows are available here.