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Cody on Why Ring of Honor World Championship Makes Him Feel ‘Vindicated’

Also, he’s ”making way more money“ than those WWE Stardust days — and that don’t hurt

Free agent pro wrestler Cody (don’t call him “Cody Rhodes”) is feeling awfully “vindicated” these days. Though the WWE alum may not have a permanent place of employment, he has a belt — and it’s coming home with him this weekend.

Bringing the hardware he has back to Atlanta, Georgia “means a great deal,” Cody Runnels told TheWrap ahead of his big bout. After all, “The Ring of Honor World Title is a recognized world title.”

Ring of Honor is one of the two pro-wrestling promotions that Cody currently makes his bones in, with the other being New Japan Pro Wrestling. Those are also where Runnels makes bones, by which we mean street slang for money — TheWrap is quite the hip publication.

But just how well financially is the former WWE Superstar doing without billionaire Vince McMahon behind him anymore? Pretty friggin’ well, as it turns out.

“I try not to get too specific with it because I don’t want to be tacky, but I’m making way more money than I did when I was Stardust,” Runnels said, referring to his famous face-painted WWE character. “I’ve already reached my best year in WWE and we’re not done with the current year. It is a mind-blowing thing to me.”

“I did not do this for the money… this was for the soul,” he added.

Runnels’ soul will feel a little extra full this Saturday, when Cody defends his title against the winner of a 20-man honor rumble. Not only does he have champion’s advantage, the Marietta native and son of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes will have home-ring advantage on his side. Yeah, he’s been in the building a few times before during his dad’s storied career.

“Bringing a world title to a place that I used to go to as a little kid and sit backstage and watch them film WCW, to come in there as the World Champion, it’s one of those that it’ll be business as usual that day. But when I go out the curtain, I will make a point to make sure it’s not business as usual,” he said. “That I look around, that I take a beat, that I let it all sink in because wrestling is a fickle industry. It could be over like that. So, yeah, I want to enjoy it.”

For those who can’t make it to Center Stage on Saturday, Ring of Honor Wrestling is available in more than 500,000 Sinclair affiliate homes, plus NESN in New England, Cox Sports in the South, more 79 million homes via the Charge! TV Network. It can be streamed via the Fite app, and current and archived weekly shows are available online at ROHWrestling.com.