Cody Rhodes: Growing up WCW

Page 2 of 11
August 08, 2013

A firm handshake

Meng came to WCW and he was one of the rogues with Col. Robert Parker against my dad. He broke a wooden chair off and slammed it over my dad’s head. I was at the age where I was really worried. When I realized he was okay, I was sitting next to him backstage in a room all by ourselves. Meng came in and I thought, “I’m gonna have to defend my dad. Even at this young age, I have to do something.” I was like nine. He came in and stuck his hand out. My dad shook his hand and said nothing to him. It looked really tense. Meng just nodded and he left. I asked my dad and he said, “Out there is different. Back here, we respect each other.” I had no clue what that was supposed to mean, but I bought that. Out there was a competitive world, but back here it’s not allowed.

We do a thing in WWE, and sports-entertainment in general, where we all shake hands. People who are new or are from the business world think it’s almost obsessive how much handshaking is going on. The true meaning of that is we need one another to succeed. As a young kid, I just wanted to shake everyone’s hand, shake it in a certain way and to look people in the eyes when you speak to them. With those two things, I was way ahead of the curve. Especially when I was like 7 or 8, I had a firm handshake and knew how to talk to somebody. My dad taught me that. He always does this thing, he does it to this day, where he’ll walk into a room and somebody wants to shake his hand and they don’t get up. My dad always says, “Is something wrong with your legs?” It’s horrible, because it’s ego-based. But it’s been instilled in me that I never shake anyone’s hand without standing up.

I was an old soul. The reason I was an old soul is because of sports-entertainment. I was in a world, at such a young age, with these 300-pound men with spiked shoulder pads, facepaint who were telling stories for fans. I had a childhood like no other, so I acted like no other. I was too old for my age.

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