In a recent appearance on the "Dale Download with Dale Earnhardt Jr." podcast, Cody "The American Nightmare" Rhodes opened up about his past character, Stardust, and the regrets he has about not shedding the gimmick sooner. Cody has been candid about his dissatisfaction with the Stardust persona and shared advice he would offer to younger talents finding themselves in a similar predicament.
Cody stressed the importance of physical fitness in the wrestling business, stating, "The biggest way to turn your fortunes around is to get in the best shape of your career. It’s still a vanity business. You’re still out there, half-naked, oiled up, and the guys behind the operation still have a love for bodybuilding. They’re in great shape and in custom suits. That’s one of the first things I tell people, because it helps the mindset too, ‘get in the best possible shape.’ Had I gotten in the best possible shape in my career and been like, ‘I’m telling you I want to be Cody Rhodes and not Stardust, let me get new gear and present that to you. Let me have this all done up.’ Instead of doing that, I just bottled. I let it swell. I thought, ‘if I do that, I still won’t (be pushed).’ That’s not the case. You get in the best shape of your career, it turns heads. If Stardust had 8% body fat and a six-pack and shredded and was handsome, they might be like, ‘What are we doing in this outfit?’"
Additionally, Cody recounted a time when he had to advocate for himself in the development of the Stardust character. He revealed that one of the initial designs for the Stardust mask was far from ideal: "At one point, I had the paint, but there was an actual mask that was pitched. This was an area where I spoke up. I put it on and it’s like a classic condom blowing up. It looked so bad. I get there is an element of humor to what I’m going to do, but they have to be laughing with you, they can’t be laughing at you. It looked like a condom meets Electro from the Spider-Man comics. I told Vince [Vince McMahon], ‘I can’t do the mask it looks so bad.’ I went and shaved my head like Dustin. I’m glad the mask never saw the light of day. Stardust had some milestones, and I did go into it committed to try and change it, but it wasn’t going to get me anywhere."
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