WWE Star Cody Rhodes' Theme Song, 'Kingdom': Everything You Need To Know - Wrestling Inc. (2024)

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WWE Star Cody Rhodes' Theme Song, 'Kingdom': Everything You Need To Know

ByMax Everett

WWE Star Cody Rhodes' Theme Song, 'Kingdom': Everything You Need To Know - Wrestling Inc. (4)

WWE

Cody Rhodes hopes to finally finish his story at WrestleMania 40, as he challenges Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns once again. The back-to-back Royal Rumble winner has accomplished once-thought-to-be impossible feats since returning to WWE in 2022, and that's a testament to the difference between this Rhodes and the one who walked out of WWE as Stardust.

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After leaving WWE, Rhodes was stripped bare and free to rebuild himself the way he saw fit. Thus, the "American Nightmare" was born, but he would need a new anthem. That's where an opportunity arose for Downstait, a band also known for creating entrance themes for The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, and Zack Ryder. Speaking with Chris Van Vliet, Downstait's lead singer Zack Call recalled pitching "Kingdom" — Rhodes' now-iconic entrance theme — to Rhodes not long after he had left WWE and put it to the fans to make suggestions. According to Call, Downstait had been just getting by on the notoriety they'd earned working with WWE. He said that working with Matt Cardona on the "Radio" entrance theme for his Zack Ryder character had given them a lifeline, but it wasn't like they were actively working on anything.

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"I'm an administrator at a school, Sean's a lawyer, and my brother runs a body shop. We got old and living in a van or a tour bus is kind of tough, especially on older guys or guys with family like my brother. Cody put out a tweet saying what entrance music should I use on the indies ... So we sent him a tweet and said, 'Hey man, can we give this song a shot?'... We went back and recorded it, sent it back to him, he took it to Wrestle Kingdom, Battleground, Slammiversary, he took it everywhere with him." (h/t Fightful for quotes)

How long has Cody Rhodes used 'Kingdom'?

WWE Star Cody Rhodes' Theme Song, 'Kingdom': Everything You Need To Know - Wrestling Inc. (5)

WWE

Given that the song was written specifically for him, it makes sense that Cody Rhodes has used "Kingdom" constantly since its 2016 debut. The song was synchronous with the "American Nightmare" as he blazed through TNA, NJPW, and ROH alongside Bullet Club and The Elite. When Rhodes left those companies behind to co-found AEW with Tony Khan and The Elite, "Kingdom" followed, and became a weekly feature on "AEW Dynamite" until his 2022 departure. But there was a question over whether he would continue to use the song that had become a defining feature of his entrance. Not only is WWE historically known for tweaking and adapting its imported talents' character and presentation, but Rhodes had spent a significant time as an active fixture of WWE with "Smoke and Mirrors" as his theme.

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By all accounts, Rhodes insisted "Kingdom" would remain his entrance theme upon his return to WWE. But Downstait's lead singer Zack Call previously revealed it wasn't a smooth transition by any means, a legal battle breaking out between WWE and Downstait after the band "just wanted its cut of the pie" for the song's usage. Back-and-forth proceeded before talks hit a standstill and it was suggested to Rhodes that he may have to use another song.

"We held our silence for a little bit and I said my piece and my heart is in my throat and I'm not ready to give up the song. Cody just basically breaks the silence and he goes, 'Well you don't get me without Kingdom on this conference call,' I was like, 'All right!'"

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What makes 'Kingdom' so important for Cody Rhodes?

WWE Star Cody Rhodes' Theme Song, 'Kingdom': Everything You Need To Know - Wrestling Inc. (6)

WWE

Part of what makes "Kingdom" so quintessential to Cody Rhodes' story is the fact it was tailor-made for him. Downstait's lead singer Zack Call described penning the song with a personal advantage, having known of Rhodes since he first emerged in WWE alongside Bob Holly and feeling he understood the very essence of his character. With that in mind, Call said he took lyrical inspiration from Dusty Rhodes' promos, weaving the song into the fabric of Cody Rhodes' canon.

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The song is now sung in chorus by fans as Rhodes emerges at WWE shows, and right on cue thousands can be heard screaming "WHOA!" at the top of their lungs. According to Downstait, that particular soundbite was a nod to Rhodes' previous "Smoke and Mirrors" theme which started with the same call. But even without being specifically described, there's much to the "Kingdom" theme that speaks to Rhodes' character.

It tells the story of a man leaving the kingdom which had taken everything but his name from him, and going on to change the game and build his own kingdom in spite of what he had lost. Merely exchange some of the words and those lyrics display a basic synopsis of Rhodes' journey in professional wrestling. After leaving WWE, Rhodes established himself as one of the top names outside WWE, giving rise to his co-founding of AEW, quite literally building a kingdom to rival the one he had left.But his return to WWE has brought to light a new meaning to the song, showing that Cody Rhodes has built himself a kingdom, but it's not a kingdom of three letters, Khans, or McMahons. Wrestling has more than one royal family, and "Kingdom" symbolizes the Rhodes coronation.

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WWE Star Cody Rhodes' Theme Song, 'Kingdom': Everything You Need To Know - Wrestling Inc. (2024)

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