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COMMENT





Rhodes bringing real Legacy to Calgary
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun


Watch out, it's Cody Rhodes, and he's looking for trouble. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

When Cody Rhodes steps into the Pengrowth Saddledome for the live RAW TV show on Monday, he's well aware of the Hart family legacy that's entrenched into Calgary.

He's got strong bloodlines of his own -- with famous father Dusty and brother Dustin (Goldust). And as heelish as he's been with his current stable (also including Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase Jr.), maybe, just maybe, this is the night Legacy gets a bit of love.

"Calgary is rich with its wrestling heritage," says Rhodes. "We get booed out of a lot of buildings, but maybe this is one of those places that has a soft spot for us. We were doing a show in Bethlehem, Pa., and we looked out into the crowd. All these young kids had on their John Cena shirts, but all their mothers were wearing Legacy or shirts.

"Personally, I think that it's much more fun being disliked. The crowd wants to see us get the five-knuckle shuffle or the world's strongest slam. The bad guys are actually the nicest guys in the world because we're always going to give you what you want."

So inside Rhodes, there must be the nice guy wanting to come out, the softy who wants to hear the cheers night after night?

"No. There's no front I can put on it. I'm a jerk," insists Rhodes. "I'm rough around the edges. If a kid comes up to you and asks you to sign something, you can never say no."

But older fans who get in the wrestlers' faces, well ... that's another story.

"The truth is, in the position we are as bad guys, it's easier to deal with those fans."

Rhodes says it's been a great ride already, even though he's only 24.

"Once the curtains open, the spotlight is on and the music hits ... that just feeds you. It would be horrible if you walked through that curtain and heard nothing. We get booed out of every building."

Rhodes says his father initially pushed him away from the business.

"He didn't want me anywhere near wrestling. But then he'd wake me up at 6 a.m. and take me along to a show in Macon, Ga. It's been a real odd progression. I was 15 years old and he had a school, Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling. He'd let me ref, but he didn't want me wrestling. Even today, he tells me I should be a writer or an actor.

"Once he decided to be supportive of my choice, he's been an invaluable resource. It's like having a dad as a coach. I played a lot of sports when I was younger. One of my favourites was amateur wrestling. In the south, they're very passionate fans. If I lost, the parents would be saying to their kid, 'You just beat Dusty Rhodes.'

"I think that's where some second- and third-generation wrestlers go wrong. It's more responsibility than a burden.


Two-thirds of Legacy, Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
"I can't go out there and be Dusty Rhodes or a mini Goldust. I'll be whatever Cody Rhodes turns out to be. Dean Malenko told me, 'You'll do well as long as you do nothing your dad ever did.'"

Rhodes says he's enjoyed the recent trend of celebrity guest hosts for RAW. "It's been interesting. WWE and sports entertainment has its fan base and the film industry and television have a fan base. Seth Green, Jeremy Piven and Shaquille O'Neal -- these guys are all big fans and they've been real professional."

Rhodes, a comic book fan, says he sees parallels between that and wrestling. "I think I'm a superhero. Look at the wrestling boots. Wolverine, Magneto, even Superman, look at their boots."

At the end of the day, for better or for worse, Calgary will likely have lasting memories of Rhodes and his friends.

"As much as we can, we want to be guys who go in and mess it up for others," says Rhodes. "We try to top ourselves each week. And Calgary will be no different."

RELATED LINKS

  • Cody Rhodes bio and story archive

    EDITOR'S NOTE: SLAM! Wrestling will have a live report from Raw in Calgary. As well, Tim Baines has an interview with Ted DiBiase Jr. banked for next week.

    Tim Baines is the Sports Editor for the Ottawa Sun and can be emailed at Tim.baines@sunmedia.ca.