Cody Rhodes Talks ‘Arrow’ Guest Appearance

Ahead of Rhodes’ debut on tonight’s episode Arrow, CBR spoke exclusively with the now former WWE superstar on how his exit from the world of wrestling lead to his opportunity to guest star on the show.

Just over a year ago, Stephen Amell entered the ring at WWE Summerslam with his tag team partner Neville as the two faced off against Stardust(Cody Rhodes) and Wade Barrett. After months of an on-going feud which included several appearances on Monday Night Raw by Amell as well as numerous trash talking videos via social media, things culminated in spectacular fashion when Amell jumped from the top rope taking out both Barrett and Stardust. Amell tossed Barrett back into the ring for Neville to hit his high-flying signature finisher and secure the win.

Ahead of Rhodes’ debut on tonight’s episode Arrow, CBR spoke exclusively with the now former WWE superstar on how his exit from the world of wrestling lead to his opportunity to guest star on the show.

Selfishly, in my mind, when we did the initial crossover, I always thought, “That would be cool if Stardust made his way to ‘Arrow.’” As time went by, Stephen and I became buds. I thought that ship had maybe sailed. Then, in a dramatic fashion, I left WWE. When that happened, I had more time on my hands. I decided, “Why not? Why not read for it? I’m not asking for anything.” I went through the proper channels. “Let’s go read. Let’s get in the room.”

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Rhodes knowing he didn’t exploit his position as a celebrity as well as the humility he brought when approaching his audition for the show.

Tonight’s rematch between Amell and Rhodes feels like a dream come true knowing Amell will be in full Arrow gear with Black Neely’s rousing score behind them as they duke it out.

To read the full interview head on over to CBR.

Arrow airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

WRESTLING STAR CODY RHODES BRINGS THE SMACK DOWN TO STAR CITY —Now that Oliver (Stephen Amell) has his new team, they are ready to hit the streets but Oliver doesn’t feel they are ready. Headstrong Wild Dog (guest star Rick Gonzalez) defies the Green Arrow’s orders and sets out on his own after a new drug dealer, Derek Sampson (guest star Cody Rhodes), who is terrorizing Star City. Sampson proves more powerful than Wild Dog and it is up to the Green Arrow to go head to head with Sampson to save his teammate.

SOURCE: CBR

‘Arrow’: “A Matter of Trust” Clip

Former WWE Superstar Cody Rhodes A.K.A. Stardust is set to make his debut on tonight’s episode of Arrow. Rhodes will play a new drug dealer pushing a drug called “Stardust” around Star City. The preview gives us a taste of the fight scenes to come and echo the style and tone of the earlier seasons. Clips like this showcase exactly why I love this show.

Former WWE Superstar Cody Rhodes A.K.A. Stardust is set to make his debut on tonight’s episode of Arrow. Rhodes will play a new drug dealer pushing a drug called “Stardust” around Star City. The preview gives us a taste of the fight scenes to come and echo the style and tone of the earlier seasons. Clips like this showcase exactly why I love this show.

Arrow airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

WRESTLING STAR CODY RHODES BRINGS THE SMACK DOWN TO STAR CITY —Now that Oliver (Stephen Amell) has his new team, they are ready to hit the streets but Oliver doesn’t feel they are ready. Headstrong Wild Dog (guest star Rick Gonzalez) defies the Green Arrow’s orders and sets out on his own after a new drug dealer, Derek Sampson (guest star Cody Rhodes), who is terrorizing Star City. Sampson proves more powerful than Wild Dog and it is up to the Green Arrow to go head to head with Sampson to save his teammate.

‘Arrow’: “The Recruits” Review

In the second episode of season five, Oliver begins to train his recruits for Team Arrow 2.0. The episode is a mixed bag but ultimately a step backwards for the series.

In the second episode of season five, Oliver begins to train the new recruits for Team Arrow 2.0. The episode is a mixed bag but ultimately a step backward for the series.

Things kick off with Rene Ramirez A.K.A. Wild Dog chasing down a clumsy goober of a criminal. Unfortunately, Rene proves himself to be just as clumsy as he trips over a ledge — falling off of a building himself and nearly dying. Lucky for him, Green Arrow was there to catch his fall. Maybe he should give his leg some more time to heal before he’s out traversing rooftops in Star City again.

He does deserve some credit though. He doesn’t give up and that’s exactly what gets him an invitation to train with the Green Arrow.

We get to see Oliver in action as the Mayor again. It’s good to see Oliver isn’t skipping out on important meetings like he did with Queen Consolidated, ultimately costing him the company. He still doesn’t like doing press but who can blame him? What matters here is that the writers aren’t breezing over this aspect of the show. The scene in which Oliver acquires the funding for his free medical event was thin but it still felt complete. Even if it did move at the break neck pace this show is notorious for.

The first training scene proved just how much Curtis, Rene, and Evelyn have to learn. None of them were taking it seriously. Oliver had to explain to them crime fighting isn’t a game and used Laurel as an example. It was a bit ironic as he expressed the same sentiment when Laurel hit the streets as the Black Canary in an attempt to honor the life of her sister, Sara.

Surprisingly, the flashbacks were actually decent this episode. Even though they didn’t cover much, they didn’t feel half baked like they normally do. Maybe it was because the point of them was actually relevant to the training taking place in the present day storyline. In the next step of his initiation into the Bratva, Oliver had to learn to work together with the rest of the Bratva’s tryouts in order to get past some baddies and ring a bell. Oliver used this same exercise with Curtis, Rene, and Evelyn in order to teach them the only way to win is through teamwork.

It was a good lesson to teach but Oliver didn’t go about it the right way. But the bigger issue was Felicity as she undermined his authority in front of the recruits rendering his leadership completely ineffective. Oliver needed her feedback but the way she approached the issue was inappropriate. Maybe Oliver should pull her aside and give her some feedback as well.

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The episode begins to lose itself once it gets to the free medical event. First Oliver enters dressed in a suit and tie and then moments later appears in full Green Arrow gear just as a Ragman crashes the event and goes WWE on the CEO of Amertek.

After Rene gets a piece of the cloth from Ragman’s costume, Felicity goes to the Star City police department where we discover her new boyfriend is actually working as a detective. Okay… no one cares. Moving on.

Ragman wants revenge for the nuclear missile that destroyed his city, killing his family on Genesis Day. While his motives were there, the problem was the exposition got muddled by the show’s breakneck pace along with the awful voice modulation used for Ragman. Oliver has a conversation with him about the choices he’s made. The writers tried to make it something meaningful as Oliver convinces Ragman to honor the legacy of his dead father just like Oliver wants to do for himself. He even extends his hand to Ragman, offering him a place on the new team. But god no, please no. I just couldn’t understand a damn thing he was saying and by the time it was over I didn’t care. For me, Ragman is nothing more than a throwaway villain I want to forget about by tomorrow.

Diggle’s storyline this week is a bit unremarkable. He is off on assignment to secure a nuclear weapon but instead he’s taken captive by his unit after he discovers they are corrupt when they try to steal the weapon for themselves. It’s understandable people would be afraid of metahumans or evil men with mystical powers but ultimately the storyline doesn’t deliver and is extraneous the to rest of the episode’s plot. Maybe next week Diggle will reach out to Oliver for help or the weapon they have will become part of the main plot.

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Overall, the episode was not satisfying. The villain was weak and his motives were unclear until it was too late and now we are supposed to accept him as a new member of Team Arrow? Last week things seemed like they were getting back on track but this episode indicates otherwise. If the writers want to make Arrow a hit show again they need to focus back on what made the show great to begin with. Long gone are the days of Arrow traversing the rooftops of Star City with his brother Diggle taking down drug dealers and crime bosses — and thwarting terrorist attacks. The show has unfortunately become a victim of its own success after it lost focus when it became a breeding ground for other superheroes. At this point I have little hope the Arrow we all came to know and love will ever return.

6.3 – OKAY

‘Arrow’: “The Recruits” Clip

The CW has released a clip showing Oliver put the hurt on the new recruits as they fail their first test.

Team Arrow 2.0  is beginning to assemble but it looks like they have a long way to go. Ahead of tonight’s episode of Arrow, The CW has released a clip showing Oliver put the hurt on the new recruits as they fail their first test.

Star City is too crime ridden for one man to take it all on himself so Oliver has recruited Curtis Holt, Rene Ramirez and Evelyn Sharp to join his crusade.

Arrow has gotten a lot of flack for the last two seasons as it strayed away from its roots and took on a lighter tone but things seem to be getting back to normal as the style of season one was back in the premiere and seems to be so in tonights episode as well.

Arrow airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

‘Arrow’: Wild Dog to Join Crossover

Yesterday, actor Rick Gonzales tweeted out a photo of Wild Dog’s hockey mask set next to Flash’s mask. In an interview with comicbook.com, Rick confirmed Wild Dog’s involvement in the upcoming three part crossover event. I can’t say I’m a fan of the character or that I’m excited about him joining Team Arrow but what Rick had to say definitely piqued my interest. He wasn’t able to comment on his involvement in the crossover but he did comment on the dynamic he will have with Team Arrow and the metahumans from the other DC shows.

I can’t speak on that, but what I can say is that Wild Dog will be in the crossover, and he has a huge dislike for metahumans. So we’ll definitely see him not exactly rub well with The Flash and Supergirl and that’s just another glimpse into his psyche and his ideas and thinking about the world and the idea that there are people out there who have these sort of powers and who they are. Instead of saying ’Wow, these people can do these things,’ he says, ‘no, I don’t like you because this is what you bring to the table. This is what you represent to me.’

In the comics, ‘Wild Dog’ was a star athlete named Jack Wheeler who joined the marines after he sustained a sports injury forcing him off the team—losing his football scholarship—leaving him unable to pay his tuition. His tour with the U.S. Marines was cut short after his comrades were killed by a terrorist bomb. He returned home and ended up falling in love with the daughter of a mob boss who was later on killed.

While Arrow has changed the name of the character from Jack Wheeler to Rene Ramirez, it seems his origin is still grounded in the roots of the source material. Gonzales spoke to TV Guide about Rene’s background, which character he might be closest to because of his past, and the inspiration for his costume.

Wild Dog is ex-military and we’ll soon find out why he’s no longer military and some of the issues he’s had to deal with personally. … Being ex-military, we see he is someone who knows how to handle himself, but has caused a lot of problems in his life, so he’s made things a little bit more difficult in terms of trying to help people and do the right thing. We’ll also find out about his family life and what kind of caused him to have this energy, this darkness, that doesn’t create the best teammate.

On which member he will be closest to:

I think Wendy Mericle mentioned not too long ago that Diggle (David Ramsey) was going to have a connection to Wild Dog. I thought it was really great and interesting that she brought it up, because I think if there would be anyone that Wild Dog would maybe even want to let his guard down or try to connect with, it would be John Diggle. Because throughout the entire show, he’s been the person who has the most reason and always spoke from his heart and who’s always been able to get his point across to every single character on the show. That type of energy, I think Wild Dog would respond well to.

And the inspiration for his costume:

I don’t know much except that it mirrors exactly what we see in the comics, which I thought was really cool. We do know in the comic book that Jack Wheeler is Wild Dog and he’s ex-military and also an ex-football player. But I don’t know if [Rene Ramirez’s] jersey has anything to do with him being an ex-football player or anything of that nature. But I think it’s really cool that Marc Guggenheim and everyone else decided to stay close to what he looks like in the comic book and bring that to the screen. I think the fans are going to get a kick out of that.

To read the full interview head on over to TVGuide.com

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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‘Arrow’: Season 5 Premiere “Legacy” Spoiler Review

Five months after the death of Laurel Lance—A.K.A. Black Canary—Oliver, Felicity, and the former members of Team Arrow are still mourning the loss of their friend. The theme of the episode is moving forward as it deals mostly with the team coming to terms with how things have changed and the fact that they will never go back to the way they were.

The premiere kicks off with Oliver disarming four bombs rigged together by Anarchy. It’s a great scene that has the flavor of season one and two flowing through it. The action, tone, and music is all there. Complete with Blake Neely’s rhythmically building strings and that awesome synth as the music ramps up to the series’ main title card.

Cuddy is back on the streets. Chadwick Boseman (The Walking Dead, The Wire) makes his debut as the villainous Tobias Church. Boseman is an incredibly talented actor and he should make an excellent addition to the series, however. His performance in the episode is unremarkable. He wasn’t bad, he just wasn’t that good…

As far as we know, his goal is a bit generic. He wants to kill the Green Arrow and he’s putting together all of Star City’s major criminal organizations to do so.

Little does he know the Green Arrow is about to give them a run for their money as he puts together not only an anti-crime unit, but Team Arrow 2.0 as well. It’s kind of weird that the anti-crime unit is only comprised of four officers though. I mean what is this, Baltimore?

The promise Laurel asked Oliver to make just before she died was revealed in this episode and it didn’t disappoint. It actually got me on board with Evelyn Sharp when she was sprinting the streets of Star City last season, calling herself Black Canary. The Black Canary is a symbol of hope that drives fear into the criminals of Star City and it needs to live on. I would imagine Oliver will say something similar later on to the son of John Diggle, Connor Hawke, who will become the next Green Arrow.

It’s nice to see Oliver actually being the Mayor. The show has tended to breeze over the politics in past seasons with Oliver and his mother, Moira, in their political campaigns. At least they are dealing with it now even if the the plots main source of conflict is being the Mayor itself.

But then comes Oliver using Laurel’s death to rationalize killing. Thea was right. Putting killing back on the table is a huge step backwards and it dishonors Laurels memory. Team Arrow stood for something better than that. Hopefully Oliver will stop guilt tripping himself and move on. Not everything is his fault. Laurel knew what the consequences of being a vigilante were when she joined the team back in season three.

The flashbacks were… the flashbacks. We finally get to see Anatoli again and even Oliver’s book which contains the infamous list from season one but other than that, there really wasn’t much to it. All we know is that Oliver is beginning his initiation into the Bratva and he wants to kill Kovler. Okay, cool…

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The season five premiere is the third episode directed by series stunt choreographer James Bamford. Arrow has always had fantastic fight choreography so you expect an episode directed by Bamford to push the envelope and it did. This show is produced very fast so they try to move the camera a lot to limit the amount of setups they have to edit together. The episode featured some impressive camera operation but what was most impressive was—you guessed it—the action. The stunt choreography was great and we even got some zip line arrow action, however. It was visual effects supervisor Armen Kevorkian who took things to the next level when Oliver jumped out of a window and fired a cable arrow, attaching himself to Church’s helicopter and going along for the ride. The parachute arrow was a nice trick as well.

Overall, the episode did an okay job laying the ground work for the season. It featured a powerful exchange between Oliver and Lance at Laurel’s statue—even if the Russian proverb was just another excuse to rationalize killing— it was well written and well performed and would have gotten me to buy in to Oliver being a killer again if it wasn’t for the fact he was still being a baby, making it about himself. While Thea stepped up to the plate as she donned the Speedy suit again, it was only temporary. She won’t be returning to Team Arrow… yet. Diggle—who is off on assignment in eastern Europe—had a small but impactful scene as he skyped with Oliver helping convince him to form a new team. Unfortunately Wild Dog only made a brief appearance and Evelyn Sharp was completely absent. If Team Arrow 2.0 is going to be such an important component for the season, the beginning of its formation should have closed out this episode.  Instead we got to learn that Felicity already has a new man in her life (Seriously, who cares?) as we went into the ominous closing tease for Prometheus, the main antagonist for the season but like Team Arrow 2.0, we’ll have to wait until the next episode to learn more about him.

7.5 – GOOD

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‘Arrow’ is Back in New Season 5 Clip

Ahead of tonights premiere of season five of Arrow, The CW has released a clip from the episode which has the Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) kicking the shit out of Anarchy (Alexander Calvert) and stopping him from detonating four bombs in Star City.

We also get to see his first encounter with Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), who is seen attempting to disarm the bombs that Anarchy has rigged together.

What stands out about this clip is that the flavor of season one and two seems to be back. Arrow has been widely criticized for the lighter tone it took on in season four when it introduced mystical elements into the shows plot with the underwhelming villain Damien Darhk (Neal Mcdonough). The show lost focus as it began to shift Oliver from a main to a supporting character, bringing Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) to the forefront. Felicity would have been a more appropriate title for the back half of season four. But with the violence and brutality seen in this clip, complemented by the fantastic swelling synth by Blake Neely—maybe, just maybe—Arrow is back. I wouldn’t get your hopes up though as the show is set to introduce Wild Dog and Artemis (Madison McLaughlin) to Team Arrow. As if the Arrow cave wasn’t already crowded enough.

Arrow season five premieres tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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NEW BEGINNINGS — After Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy) death and the departures of both Diggle (David Ramsey) and Thea (Willa Holland) from Team Arrow, Oliver (Stephen Amell) takes to the streets solo to protect Star City’s citizens as the Green Arrow. With Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) guiding him from the bunker, Oliver is forced to deal with a city that has become overrun with both criminals and a slew of new (and painfully inexperienced) vigilantes. Watching Oliver try to balance his jobs as both the mayor and also the protector of Star City, Felicity suggests he form a new team, but Oliver resists. However, when a deadly new criminal, Tobias Church (guest star Chad L. Coleman), enters the picture, Oliver realizes the best thing for the city might be a new team of superheroes. Meanwhile, the flashbacks take us to Russia where Oliver faces off against the Bratva.

James Bamford directed the episode with story by Greg Berlanti and teleplay by Marc Guggenheim & Wendy Mericle.