At WrestleMania XXVII, Cody Rhodes had one of the best matches of his career in front of his home-state audience against one of WWE‘s smallest competitors, Rey Mysterio. This year, Rhodes goes into WrestleMania XXVIII in Miami as the Intercontinental Champion to face a man billed as “The World’s Largest Athlete,” the Big Show. Friction has been building between Rhodes and the Big Show since Show eliminated Rhodes from the Royal Rumble in January. But over the past few weeks, Rhodes has been determined to embarrass Show by pointing out his lackluster showings in previous WrestleManias, while continuing his campaign to restore the Intercontinental title to the prestige it once held. Before he takes on the biggest challenge of his career, Rhodes talks to Wrestling with Pop Culture about the Big Show, Goldust and returning to Atlanta for the final Raw before WrestleMania. You can also hear the full interview on the March 19 edition of Georgia Wrestling Now.
Last year WrestleMania was in Atlanta, your proverbial back yard. This year it’s in Miami, but the last Raw before WrestleMania will be in Atlanta. What do you have planned for that show?
With WrestleMania on the horizon and a one-on-one contest with the Big Show – last year it was with the smallest guy, this time it’s with the biggest guy – I’m sure I’ll be doing my damnedest to get under the Big Show’s skin. I’m a firm believer in what I’ve said about him. The Big Show is one of WWE’s top performers, but his WrestleMania moments haven’t exactly been immortal moments.
I definitely think you’ve gotten the best of him so far by showing him at the WWE restaurant and all that kind of stuff.
That’s the best one. Yeah.
I guess a big question for me is, why did you choose the Big Show? Your brother Goldust was doing a Twitter campaign to face you at WrestleMania for the Intercontinental title, so why did you choose to go after the Big Show?
I’d love to work with Goldust. I’d love to stand across the ring from him and find out more about my brother. But it just happened to be that the Intercontinental title is very much in need of its moment at WrestleMania. I set out to bring it back to where it was, and I don’t actually know if I’ve done that. But I know going against one of WWE’s top names perhaps of all time, the Big Show, puts it in a position for me to maybe do that. That’s why I shifted to myself and the Big Show. If I knock off one top guy after another, the Big Show is on that list.
I don’t recall the Big Show having ever held that title before, but I know Goldust has held it and is considered by some to be one of the best Intercontinental Champions of the past few decades.
That’s actually the one title Show has not held. When I heard that I was a bit in disbelief. As far as things are concerned with Goldust, I wouldn’t count out me and him ever competing against one another. Certainly I can see that down the road. He’s had some shoulder problems and safety is a number one concern. I’d love to remain the Intercontinental Champion after WrestleMania and I’d love to follow up on all these things he’s brought down on me on Twitter and get in the ring with him, certainly.
Like you said earlier, last year your WrestleMania opponent was one of the smallest guys (Mysterio) and this year it’s the biggest guy. You’re not necessarily one of the bigger guys on the roster, so what are you doing to prepare for a match with somebody the size of the Big Show?
Well honestly, I’m not one of the bigger guys on the roster, but if you really take a look at the roster, I’m actually pretty close to one of the bigger guys on the roster. I’m not as tall as Randy [Orton], but I weigh about the same. I actually will say that I was concerned with the Big Show. I’m looking at him and I think he’s 400 pounds. If I’m going to be in the ring with him, I want to be as big as I can be. One of the things I’ve started implementing is high volume workouts, which is lots of sets, lots of reps, high carb, high fat, high protein, low sugar. So I’ve actually got a nice little diet written out for this thing. I didn’t want to show up too small.
I’m trying to remember now, have you ever faced the Big Show one-on-one?
No. I have yet to compete one-on-one against the Big Show. I’ve had tag matches and fatal four-ways, and there was an incident where there was an Armani three-piece suit I had worn for a long time and he ripped it to shreds on one of the pay-per-views in 2011. So we’ve had a brief, brief history, but we’ve never actually mixed it up on a fair one-on-one scale.
Last time I talked to you, you pointed out that WrestleMania XXVII was a changing of the guard of sorts with a lot of the more established guys facing a lot of the younger guys. This year’s card seems to be relying heavily on the more established guys, and in your match in particular the Big Show has a lot more experience than you do. How do you think your match stacks up against the rest of the card?
I think you don’t really know until WrestleMania is said and done and in the books what matches really captivated you. There are matches that are positioned to really captivate you: The Rock/Cena, Triple H/the Undertaker. Those guys, a hundred percent of the time, deliver. But that’s the beauty of WrestleMania. I feel it stacks up very well and I feel that there’s a lot of people that for a long time wanted to see the Intercontinental title genuinely defended on WrestleMania. Prior to the WrestleMania in Orlando, which was, I think, a three-minute match with Rey Mysterio and JBL, the title had not been defended on a WrestleMania since X8. For me that’s one of the more important things, so I think it stacks up well.
Another thing we talked about a lot last year was your history in Georgia with your father, Dusty Rhodes. With the Four Horsemen and Ron Simmons being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year – especially the Four Horsemen with your father’s history with them – what is it like to be part of the WrestleMania where those guys are also being inducted into the Hall of Fame?
Every WWE superstar and diva has so many appearances, then WrestleMania is Sunday and the Hall of Fame runs deep into the night usually. Sometimes you look at it and say, “If they could do it on Friday…” But once you’re there, once you’re in the seats and watching the Four Horsemen being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Ron Simmons being inducted, Mil Mascaras being inducted into the Hall of Fame, that’s motivating, I don’t care how late it goes into the night, just to see those little clips that our team put together of the Four Horsemen. That’s the best thing that can happen at WrestleMania, and it’s extremely motivating.
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