Booker T Recalls Working With Current WWE Champion Cody Rhodes

It's been a month since WrestleMania 40, but the industry is still talking about new Undisputed WWE Champion, Cody Rhodes. Ahead of Rhodes' first title defense at WWE Backlash, WWE Hall of Famer Booker T sat down with "SHAK Wrestling" to talk about his own experiences with Rhodes, who he worked with at the tail end of his WWE in-ring career.

"I was so pleased to work with Cody Rhodes," Booker said. He had returned to WWE in 2011 as a part-time performer, but began a storyline with a heel Rhodes at the end of that year. Their feud-settling match, contested for Rhodes' Intercontinental Championship in January 2012, was Booker's last match on "WWE SmackDown" and one of his last WWE matches ever.

"That was my swan song. That was the match that I wanted to leave in people's minds the way I left the business — putting Cody Rhodes over. Me, looking up at the lights," Booker T reminisced. "It's awesome to see Cody where he is now,"

Booker T praises Rhodes' grind post-WWE departure.

"Cody, he carved his own path to where he is right now," Booker continued. "Cody could've easily, you know, walked away with his tail between his legs, and said 'screw all of this,' but Cody said, 'I'm going to get out here and grind.'"

Rhodes left WWE in May 2016, spending the majority of his time with Ring of Honor (ROH), Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) before helping found All Elite Wrestling (AEW) in 2019. Rhodes' time on the independent scene saw him claim the ROH World Championship in 2016 — his first world title — and headline the first NJPW event on American soil in 2017.

"This a kid that was born into this business. This a kid who was pretty much born into the WWE," Booker said. "He didn't have to go there on the indie scene and grind and do all of that, but he did! And for me, personally, I respect him so much for it.

"He's taking the right approach. He's not just looking at this as a game — this is a business! This is a job, and he is creating something. And what he did out there propelled him to do the thing in AEW, [it] propelled him to walk away from that, to come back to WWE and finish his story. Can't have nothing but respect for a guy like that."

Rhodes successfully defended the Undisputed WWE Championship against former-and-fellow Bullet Club member AJ Styles at WWE Backlash in Lyon, France on Saturday.