“I Don’t Have the Same Warmth”: Cody Rhodes Tells Dale Earnhardt Jr About the Struggles of Filling His Father’s Shoes

Published 09/08/2023, 6:11 PM EDT

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Since its inception in 2013, the Dale Jr. Download podcast has had its fair share of celebrities take a seat in front of its mic. Hosted by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and JR Motorsports’ director of communications, Mike Davis, the podcast serves to cover all things NASCAR. But occasionally, it also stretches beyond the walls of the race track. In one such instance, professional wrestler and actor, Cody Rhodes, joined Dale Jr in his studio to share stories about life from the two different worlds.

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A big fan of Cody’s father (Dusty “The American Dream” Rhodes), Dale Jr. was excited to be sharing space with the wrestler. As the son of a sports legend himself, it didn’t take long for the racer to get curious about Cody’s familial life.

Dale Earnhardt Jr gets curious about the traditions of the Rhodes family

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The Rhodes family carries the pride of royalty inside the ring. A dynasty of wrestlers who helped make the industry into what it is now, they have got the admiration of fans worldwide. The late Dusty Rhodes and his two sons, Dustin and Cody, have all brought different perspectives to their sport and contributed to its growth in some way. What’s interesting is that the story of this infamous wrestling family draws a lot of parallels to that of the Earnhardt’s.

Curiosity leading the way, Dale Jr. asked, “You got a big family. How often do you guys get together? Is there family reunions? Christmas, Thanksgiving, what are the Rhodes doing?”

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Being a deeply invested family man himself, it can be understood where Dale Jr.’s question stems from. Responding to it, Cody Rhodes talked about not being able to be the person that his father was. He said, ” My dad was the master at keeping the family together. He was a mess in a lot of other areas, you know.

“But as… keeping the family together, he was the centerpiece. Everybody wanted to get towards him. So for me, I’m the colder, more logical distant. I don’t have the same warmth he had.”

Despite acknowledging his shortcomings, Cody’s revelations also showed that he did his best when it came to keeping his family close. This is again, something that Dale Jr. does with his own kith and kin.

Watch Story: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Sister Mourns Loss of Companion of Sixteen Years

For Cody Rhodes and Dale Earnhardt Jr, family comes first

Answering Dale Jr’s question further, Cody talked about his large family that was spread out in different cities. With the cold character that sets him apart from his father, what better reason than wrestling to bring them together?

Affirming that the sport is what binds his family, he said, “You know it’s funny. We’ve got family in Texas, family in Florida, family in Georgia, family all over the place. But when it’s wrestling… Like last year, WrestleMania, the main event.. (…) I know with those events, it’s important to me that they all come. And it was cool this year at WrestleMania. Although I lost.”

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Bringing up his loss at WrestleMania, he joked about how his family was disappointed at having to travel all the way down to watch him lose. Cody Rhodes’ devotion to his family despite being an icon of his sport reminds us of Dale Jr. a lot. The ‘Pied Piper of Daytona’ has always taken the time to gratify his family.

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Most recently, he’d even announced the reunion of the Earnhardt family after the 2023 regular season’s finale at Daytona. One other notable instance that shows us the extent of Dale Jr.’s passion is when he had his entire family unite at his 300-acre Old Western Town. Meeting together for pre-easter preparations, there’s little doubt that the Earnhardts had a jolly time.

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Both Cody Rhodes and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have stepped out from the shadows of their fathers and created individual identities in their respective fields. Regardless of that, the commitment that these icons show to carrying their family names forward is certainly commendable and inspirational for the rest of us.

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Written by:

Gowtham Ramalingam

365Articles

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Gowtham Ramalingam is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. His love for motorsports stems from his fascination with Formula 1. Possessing an obsession for anything with an engine, the roads eventually led him to the raw grounds of NASCAR and he has been an avid fan of the sport ever since.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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