Cody Rhodes will main event WrestleMania on Sunday in a match against Roman Reigns that will see him challenge for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.
Since returning to WWE, the American Nightmare has been treated as a top star by fans and management alike, a stark contrast to his time in AEW. Something never quite clicked for him in the company he helped found and, near the end of his run, even the fans started turning on him.
An argument could be made that Rhodes was trying to be a professional wrestler in a company that's anything but professional, but he's now weighed in with what he thinks went wrong.
"I was letting some of them beat me long before they should ever beat me," he tells Bleacher Report. "I wanted them to succeed, and I still do, but it wasn't time for me to be a coach. It was time for me to be a player."
Rhodes may have only lost 17 of his 73 AEW matches, but those stuck with him, particularly a loss against Chris Jericho that resulted in him being unable to challenge for the company's World Championship.
Elsewhere in the conversation, he also talked about his match against Reigns. "For me to be able to finish the story right at the biggest event in the history of wrestling absolutely means the next story is about just me. It isn't tied to anything else. I feel the stakes going into WrestleMania this year. I'm not buckling beneath them."
"I'm trying to use them to embolden me and strengthen me. I feel like I've settled into The American Nightmare in a way that is so genuine that the name almost sounds ridiculous when I hear it. But I mean, it's on my skin."
Do you think Rhodes can finally dethrone the Head of the Table at WrestleMania this Sunday?