They always say never meet your hero, that you will be disappointed, that you will wish that you never had. I can say from the bottom of my heart that my experience with my hero was the complete opposite and will live with me forever.
On December 9th after nearly 10 years of waiting, I met my hero Cody Rhodes, a professional wrestler I had watched and supported from 2008. It still feels like it was a dream, a wonderful dream. I wasn’t originally going to go, but thanks to my best friends Stevie and Dave, both reminded me how long I had been waiting and that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I shouldn’t pass up and they wouldn’t let me pass it up.
So, our journey began on a Saturday morning from a snowy and icy Belfast down the motorway to the National Stadium in Dublin. After a few wrong turns and questioning Dublin Locals about where we could park without getting clamped we arrived to our very first OTT Dublin Show.
Standing in the queue and watching each and every fan experience the Bullet Club Meet & Greet not only was a wonderful sight but reminded me just how nervous I really was. I had tried and failed to meet Cody at multiple events beforehand including Wrestlemania 28 in Miami and 29 in New Jersey which literally broke my heart. I was feet away from ticking off that bucket list item, from finally meeting him and I was terrified. I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to tell him, that he wouldn’t live up to expectations, that I would be rushed and miss my opportunity completely.
Then suddenly it all faded away. We had already been given a pre-signed poster of the event so it was a simple group photo, all I had to do was step across.
I looked up at the man with shaking hands that I had admired, supported, cheered and waited to meet for 9 years and told him exactly that. I was immediately enveloped in the biggest hug and the biggest sigh of relief left me and a huge smile crossed my face. I explained how hard I had tried to meet him beforehand but due to him not being scheduled and unforeseen circumstances that it had never been able to happen, “This is your moment” he said.
Marty Scrull picked me up in a big hug as I could hear the Young Buck’s (Nick and Matt) laugh behind us. When I was sat back down laughing, I pointed at my shirt and exclaimed I just had to wear one of your old shirts (A legacy tag-team shirt I had bought at one of my very first house-shows). The conversation quickly turned to the story of the shirt with him gathering the rest of the bullet club to explain that the shirt had gone to print and was up on the store for sale, but the very next day the tag team broke up! We laughed and then time was up.
I am very thankful for OTT, Jim Morrissey the photographer, Stevie and Gunther Issack who had been manning the queue for allowing me just that little longer with my hero, to have that opportunity to tell him how much he meant to me as a wrestling fan. Stevie was willing to give up his photograph so that I could speak just a little longer and I can never thank him enough for even offering to do that (don’t worry he got his photo! ).
I moved into the middle, the flash went off and I thanked all of them for firstly coming over and for giving every single fan this opportunity with Marty Scrull jokingly asking how much I would sell my shirt for and offering me Cody, before making my way off to the side to collect my bags. Stevie giddily showed me some of the photos he had taken on his phone of me during the Meet and Greet and I felt like crying on the spot. I think it was more just the overwhelming feeling of meeting him and the adrenaline.
Of course, I couldn’t come the whole way to meet him without buying one of his new American Nightmare shirts. Scanning the Merchandise stand I picked out my t-shirt and Stevie kindly put some of his money towards it for me. Excitedly showing the boys, what I hadn’t realised as relayed later to me by Stevie that Cody had stopped the Meet and Greet and walked over behind me. Tapping me on the shoulder he asked whether I had just bought a shirt, as I held it up he shook his head saying that the Legacy one I was wearing was really vintage and not many had it. Cody Freaking Rhodes not only liked my shirt but then proceeded to tell me that I was to take another shirt free, that it was on him! He brought me back over to Merchandise and explained that I was allowed to pick any shirt and that I wasn’t to be charged…
Never meet your hero they say.
For once, and Stevie and Dave can witness this I was speechless. Never in a million years could I imagine this would be how it would go. I was able to meet him later before the show started and say thank you and talk to him for a little longer as well as getting one of his very first Mattel Action figures signed (Thanks again to Stevie who made me more confident and a lot less scared).
Not only was Cody Rhodes an absolute gentleman, entertainer and sweetheart, but he made my wrestling dream come true. I never thought I would get the chance to stand in front of my hero and tell him yet OTT Wrestling gave me that opportunity. He went above and beyond to make sure I had an amazing experience, not only by making me feel appreciated through his kind words and actions but by being one of the most genuine wrestlers I have met in a long time.
To Cody Rhodes, thank you for everything you have done and continue to do in your professional wrestling career. From FCW, to WWE to ROH. I will never forget what you did for me and that experience will live with me forever. Here’s to 2018 and to everything that comes with it.
December 9th 2017. The day I met Cody Rhodes. My wrestling hero