Cody Rhodes has perhaps the three biggest non-WWE matches of the summer, against Dalton Castle and Marty Scurll, Kenny Omega, and Nick Aldis.
Cody Rhodes has three pivotal matches this summer.
His first is June 29 in a three-way against Dalton Castle and Marty Scurll for the Ring of Honor title, followed by a singles bout with IWGP heavyweight champion Kenny Omega on July 7 in San Francisco that will air live on AXS TV, and finally a date with NWA world’s heavyweight champion Nick Aldis at All In on September 1.
Even without a world title currently around his waist, Rhodes is one of the most compelling figures in wrestling. Despite dropping the ROH world title to Castle in December, victories over Omega and Kota Ibushi have helped solidify the “American Nightmare” as one of the most captivating characters in wrestling. He also delivers consistently entertaining content on the “Being The Elite” series, providing an endlessly fascinating storyline.
Rhodes’ first objective is to reclaim the top spot in ROH, which he has the chance to accomplish, fittingly, at the June 29 Best in the World pay per view.
“In the modern era of reality is reality versus perception is reality, it’s simple,” said Rhodes. “I am the best in the world. It’s 1: Cody; 2: Kenny; 3: Okada; 4: Charlotte; 5: Cena, with Ospreay creeping up on the list. It’s my responsibility with the event to live up to that ranking. I am unbelievably good at this, because of hard work and dedication.”
Castle has struggled to put together any momentum in his reign as champ, largely due to an array of injuries to his back, hips, and right hand. Even in an injured state, Castle remains a difficult opponent. He is incredibly strong and, regardless of all his flair outside the ring, is a student of the craft inside of it.
“I overtrained for Final Battle and Dalton Castle,” said Rhodes. “Not unlike George Foreman [against Muhammed Ali] in Zaire. I’ve learned to balance more. There’s something to learn from Kenny’s one match a month schedule. Like him or not, he’s able to properly prepare mentally and physically. And to maintain his body.”
As a former world champion, Rhodes understands the plethora of responsibilities that a first-time champion cannot prepare for, both in and out of the ring, though he was unwilling to state that the weight of wearing the title has worn Castle down.
“I could lie to you about Dalton Castle or I could play coy,” said Rhodes. “Dalton is competing with a very serious injury. Critics writing off his title run as a flop don’t understand the grit he’s displayed in that role. But, compliments aside, that’s the difference between me and everybody else: I can’t be hurt. I can’t be injured. I’m bulletproof. I’m championship material.”
“The Villain” Marty Scurll, who is Rhodes’ brethren in the Bullet Club, was also added to the Best in the World title match. In Rhodes’ estimation, a third member does not muddy the landscape; instead, he shared amusement that Scurll, who just returned from a phenomenal showing in New Japan’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament, was even included.
“I think Marty being included in this match is wonderful,” said Rhodes. “He supersedes the ‘junior’ qualification. He has a great fan base. But Marty is Prince Lotor. He sits at my table, but doesn’t eat first. I do. Daddy eats first.”
As self-proclaimed leader of the Bullet Club, Rhodes noted he feels an extra responsibility to win this match.
“As the leader of the Bullet Club, I can’t slow down now,” said Rhodes. “I am an example for everybody who thought just slapping the Bullet Club logo on you would define your career. The Bullet Club keeps New Japan Pro Wrestling in the black. Far in the black. Because of me. I’m a part-timer in that company and I hold the Tokyo Dome merchandising record and Osaka’s. Funkos. Bucks on a career run. This Bullet Club may never be topped.
“I live for this. I continue to study. To bump and learn. In 10 years I think there’ll be no doubt who really was the best in the world. Maybe ever.”