Cody Rhodes: Link to the Past

How big of a gamer is WWE heel (and son of The American Dream) Cody Rhodes?

"All you need to do is look down at my boots," says Rhodes. "My pro wrestling boots that I've worn for the past year have the Triforce symbol from "Legend of Zelda" on them.

"Some kids like books, some kids like movies, but for me, every year I still go back and play "Legend of Zelda." So to me, when I got up to the big time, I thought that Zelda was my thing. CM Punk has a Pepsi tattoo, so why can't I have the Triforce? Gaming is huge to me, it's all I do."

Rhodes favorite Zelda game is "A Link to the Past," but says he graduates to the next game in the series every year. "Whenever they bring out a new Zelda game, I'm there," he says. "I don't know if it's Link or if it's Zelda with the pointy little ears. I remember thinking as a kid that she was pretty hot."

And while he hasn't found a WWE Diva with pointy ears to call his own (yet), it's Rhodes own link to the past that has him among the most hated heels in the business thanks to his association with The Legacy, a group of second and third generation wrestlers who terrorize Monday Night Raw and act like their blood lines make them superior to the other superstars on the brand.

But to Rhodes' father, the legendary Dusty Rhodes, it's Cody's own hard work and charisma that has put him over the top.

"Cody is young and ripped and Hollywood," says Dusty. "At 18, he went to acting school after becoming a national champion wrestler in high school, and he did this all on his own. So he prepared himself for the bigger venue.

"Being a state champion, he had a great drive. And people might look at him and say how he plays quarterback because he's the coach's son, but I've had nothing to do with this. Sometimes I wonder why Peyton Manning and Eli are so good if they're the coach's son. But I just think it's because these kids all have a drive."

And it's that drive that has led The Legacy to the top of the card, as watching their fathers' careers helped them cope with the realities of their own situations.

"One thing I learned from my old man is that people are going to be happy for you, but not too happy," says the young Rhodes. "When the tables are turned and you're hanging out on top with a guy like Randy Orton who is in the main event at Wrestlemania, not all the guys are going to like you.

"A lot of people will say, he's in it because his dad is such and such, but the truth is, no pun intended, it's how you play the game."

As Rhodes talks Legacy and what the group means to him, I can't help but notice the shiner underneath his left eye.

"This happened on Raw the other night," Rhodes laughs. "It was from the first punch [of Shane McMahon]. The McMahon's and The Legacy, it didn't go well for me."

But that one punch might be the only thing that hasn't gone Rhodes' way lately, as he continues to find himself in the spotlight thanks to one of the hottest feuds in the sport.

Rhodes is hoping that some of this exposure pays off into a better version of himself in the WWE video games.

Rhodes They made me way too small in the last 'Smackdown.' I actually just played the 'Legends of Wrestlemania' game and imported myself so I can play against my dad, and they made my dad huge. He's not that much bigger than me.

-- Cody Rhodes

"They made me way too small in the last 'Smackdown,'" he says. "I actually just played the 'Legends of Wrestlemania' game and imported myself so I can play against my dad, and they made my dad huge. He's not that much bigger than me. I've seen him every day for my entire life.

"I'll tell you, though, there are some creepy resemblances. There is a mole on my chest that made it in the game. They do a really top, first class job putting that together. They just need to add a few more muscles to my guy next time around."

Another thing Rhodes would like to see added to the game is more realistic reactions to the hard hitting moves.

"I think in the game, you can hit someone with a closed-handed fist 20-30 times, but in real life, if you get hit with a punch, you go down. Last night I played a game against Kofi Kingston and he was just wailing on me. In real life, I would've been knocked out and in the hospital."

If only THQ could add hospital visits and black eyes in career mode.

Until then, Rhodes will continue his yearly quest to rescue princess Zelda, not to mention play a few games of "Madden" and "FIFA" against his roommate.

"My buddy that I live with is a big 'Madden' guy," says Rhodes, "so we have a setup at home where he goes online and plays a lot of 'FIFA' and 'Madden.' I've become pretty good at those games just by association. He needs a punching bag.

"I've been a Cowboys fan all these years, but the thing is, I'm a huge T.O. guy, so with T.O. going to Buffalo, I'm switching teams. And the funny thing is, I actually got the chance to meet Trent Edwards last year at a party, so I'm strictly Buffalo from here on out in 'Madden.' I'll still root for the Cowboys in real life, but in 'Madden,' I gotta go where T.O. goes."

But does Rhodes like T.O. enough to put on his next pair of boots?

"I'll stick with the Triforce," Rhodes laughs.

Must be something about those pointy ears.