There’s something about our part of the country that excites wrestling stars like Cody Rhodes.
“Southern crowds are the best,” said Rhodes, part of the lineup for the WWE Raw World Tour that comes to the Columbus Civic Center on Sunday. The event also includes stars like John Cena, “Celtic Warrior” Sheamus and Kofi Kingston.
Fans in the South love wrestling’s heroes and hate its villains, Rhodes said. “They don’t offer you any grey area,” he added.
Then again, when it comes to touting our region’s virtues, Rhodes isn’t exactly unbiased.
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He hails from Marietta, so WWE tours often take him to towns where he traveled while wrestling in high school.
He considered pursuing collegiate wrestling, but instead opted for the WWE.
“I wanted to do something in entertainment,” said Rhodes, who made his WWE debut in 2007.
It was a familiar universe.
Rhodes is the son of the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, a WWE Hall of Famer. As a second-generation WWE star, Cody Rhodes has won major titles with partners Hardcore Holly and Ted DiBiase.
He’s aware of the way his father’s success influenced his career.
“I think all men have some odd, bizarre quest to please their fathers or be like their fathers,” Rhodes said, adding that a family legacy in wrestling has fueled his passion for the activity.
Rhodes said the current crop of wrestlers face additional demands like live TV spots, along with a crowded travel schedule.
“Sometimes it’s like we’re throwing a dart at a map,” Rhodes said.
He compared his life to “Up in the Air,” the recent film in which George Clooney plays a frequent flyer leading an isolated lifestyle.
Since the WWE is driven largely by personality, it’s important to always be “on” — even amid marathon blocks of travel.
“You’ve got to stay on and you’ve got to come to work,” said Rhodes, an avid gamer who stands just over 6 feet tall and weighs 219 pounds.
He cites a wrestling outlook that grew to dominate his career: “Being good at this job is a full-time job.”
Fortunately, coming to work isn’t too hard when you’re returning to a region that’s familiar territory.
Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at email@example.com or 706-571-8516.