cody rhodes
Photo Credit: WWE

Cody Rhodes Can’t Really Get Mad Over Tribalism Since He Added To It, Felt Weird Seeing AEW Fans Burn His Shirts

Cody Rhodes was in an odd spot with certain fans when coming back to WWE.

WWE star Cody Rhodes recently appeared on After The Bell with Corey Graves to discuss tribalism among professional wrestling fans. Rhodes recalled feeling ‘weird’ seeing AEW fans burn some of his AEW merchandise when he went back to WWE.

“It initially was unanimously positive but tribalism is how you pronounce it right? I don’t know what I was saying, I’m glad I never used it out loud [laughs]. But I feel like that fanbase, that divide that exists amongst all the different bubbles, I like to call them — if there was any negativity, well I can put some of the blame on my shoulders, because again, the last show or shows that I had done before making this WWE return,” Rhodes explained, “I’m taking little fun pop shots and taking smack which is what wrestlers do, I think the fans, they attach themselves to those statements and they forget that we’re in the realm of entertainment. But I added to the tribalism myself so I can’t necessarily get mad at my fans when I see it.

“I did see it, it was weird seeing fans like burn my old AEW shirts which was a trend for a few days on social. So, it kind of felt like you were leading a sports team, like I left this city [laughs]. It didn’t break my heart but I do remember thinking, I thought it was odd because the place doesn’t exist without me. There’s other people that needed to be there for sure,” Cody explained, “but I’m one of the people that that place exists because of, AEW exists, partially — partially — because of me. So, for them to have that strong of [a reaction]… like, damn, a few times, I saw the term ‘sold out’, and I thought like ‘you have this! It’s great!’ It’s the most [prideful feeling].”

Cody went on to explain how it’s an interesting position to be in seeing all of these people giving feedback and becoming so invested in what they do as pro wrestlers. Cody noted that it’s easy for the older generations of pundits to say critiques, but today’s generation has the receipts to back things up.

“The generation that preceded us is hell-bent on telling us how we’re not doing it right, how we don’t move needles,” Rhodes explained, “and that’s why I like Brandon Thurston and some of these guys who provide data, even though it’s good when it’s good and it’s bad when it’s bad, but that’s so helpful. I’ve said it in an interview, not too long ago, but our generation, we have receipts, we’re privy and we see the facts. You will see the views on this discussion that we’re having right now, you’ll see the metrics and the data. So, for these veteran figures to consistently say ‘oh no, that’s not a thing, or nobody bought a ticket to see you guys, whatever’, you wanna fight and scream but no, it’s all out there, man. We’re winning, sorry.

“That’s why I have no beef with two guys particular… I have no beef with Vince Russo and Jim Cornette, they’ve said some wild stuff, particularly about Brandi, which doesn’t sit well… but guys, if this is how you make money and part of me is providing that for you because you’re critiquing what I’m doing, to a degree, I saw that Cornette has this thing on me, like 10-hours omnibus, it’s something absurd with all of his opinions on me or whatever,” Cody pointed out, “hey, bud, I’m not mad at you, good for you, I was a fan of your work in the 80s, part of one of the hottest tag teams of all-time, an incredible manager, a lot of knowledge of the industry… well, sir, I have a lot of it as well and again, all the data is right there. If you don’t see it, that’s okay. None of them… poor Disco Inferno, I neutered him one time, I cut the guy’s balls right off, I don’t know if he’s still in his hole but I felt bad, what was the point of that? What was the point? Those guys had their run, it was great, it was awesome, but it’s our run now, enjoy it.”

Cody went on to explain that when he sees someone that has a really deep-rooted opinion of certain things, he will go out of his way to try and make their experience a great one. He closed by saying that at the end of the day, the ring is the same and they’re all out for the same goal and to try and get the fans to leave happy.

Related: Cody Rhodes Gifts Fan Tickets To AEW Dynamite Following Return To WWE

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