Cody Rhodes is the son of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes and the half-brother of former WWE wrestler Goldust. After an amateur wrestling career that resulted in him becoming a two-time Georgia state champion, he followed his father and older brother's footsteps into the professional ranks and joined WWE in 2006, initially being assigned to the company's developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).
After becoming a Triple Crown Champion in OVW, he was promoted to WWE's main roster in 2007 and remained there for 9 years, performing under his real name and later as Stardust. During his time with WWE, Rhodes became a two-time Intercontinental Champion and was a prolific tag team wrestler, winning six tag team championships (three World Tag Team Championships and three WWE Tag Team Championships) with four separate tag team partners.
Rhodes left WWE after requesting his release in May 2016. During a long interview with IGN, the former WWE superstar commented on going head to head with NXT: “We can’t pretend that we don’t know that’s happening, but we were always planning our show.
And have been for a long while. This isn’t a reactionary move on our part. This is what our intentions were. To be on Wednesday nights and to be on a major network with such a great partner like Warner Media and TNT. Our focus is still on providing the best AEW, providing the best alternative.
We haven’t switched over to ‘Well how can we compete?’ because we already felt like we had a product that people wanted to see. We want to provide bell-to-bell sports-centric pro-wrestling. That’s going to mean longer matches.
That’s going to mean stories being told between the ropes. That means no invisible camera backstage. That’s gonna mean more of a live-sports approach to our product. That’s 100% what we’re doing, so I want to avoid any reactionary elements."