Cody Rhodes Opens Up About WWE Hall Of Fame, 2024 Class

Given the vitriol that existed between now-Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes and then-champ Roman Reigns ahead of their clash(es) at WrestleMania 40, some may have thought that Rhodes, in or out of storyline, might not have been in the mood to hear praise for his father from Reigns' special counsel, Paul Heyman, during his Hall of Fame speech. But, given the connection the two share in the legendary Dusty Rhodes, Cody was more than happy to see Heyman recognize Dusty, and genuinely appreciative of his inclusion.

Speaking with "Sports Illustrated", Rhodes was asked what was going through his head when "The Wiseman" turned the podium around to face him before making mention of his father and how important he was to Heyman. "I was amped watching everybody," Rhodes said. "Particularly, Mr. Heyman." Interestingly, "The American Nightmare" spoke of an alternate reality where he and Heyman, perhaps, could have been aligned if a few things had shaken out differently for one or both of them. "I think, in another lifetime, I probably would have made the best 'Paul Heyman Guy,'" Rhodes envisioned. "I probably could have been his absolute ace, but it just didn't work out that way. It worked out that I was the adversary for his number one guy of all time, and that being Roman Reigns."

Rhodes went on to compare the hypothetical alliance with Heyman to another connection he had previously in AEW, alongside another legendary figure in the industry. "Even with the questionable decisions that Mr. Heyman makes," he explained, "there's part of me that says, 'That might have been fun,'" later adding, "You know, I had that same enjoyment when I had Arn Anderson with me. Just to have someone [who has been] here before."

Dusty's inclusion was part of a celebration

Beyond the multiverse vision of a Rhodes-Heyman partnership, Rhodes expressed appreciation for Heyman's authentic adoration of his father. Though so many in wrestling looked up to Dusty, who to this day, has the respect of the industry across the board, there are only a few who truly knew him, according to Rhodes, and in that group stands Heyman, front and center.

"All of this was a conscious decision," he said of Heyman's mentioning Dusty, "because of what we were celebrating and how he looked [at] and revered my father. And he's one of the very few guys that when they talk about Dusty, I don't roll my eyes. I don't bang my head against the table because he did know him. He knows some things about him that I don't even know. And I was glad he was present in Mr. Heyman's speech, as wild a speech as it was." Other than Heyman, Rhodes singled out Bull Nakano from this year's Hall of Fame class as one of his favorite speeches, offering up that he knew "she worked on it for a great time."

And regarding the ceremony as a whole, he recognized its importance to many wrestlers and fans alike, who put it near the top of their list of WrestleMania weekend events in terms of things to get excited about. Rhodes also spoke of the presentation of the annual gathering, expressing a wish for it to somehow get back to being a standalone event. "Here I am trying to will something into existence," he joked. "I do wish we could move it back into the theaters and maybe not after 'SmackDown,'" Rhodes added, before being sure to note that he is not "in charge of anything."

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Sports Illustrated and provide a h/t to Rllegends for the transcription.