At SummerSlam this Sunday, the powers of good will battle the forces of evil. But of course a confrontation like that has to start somewhere. Let's turn the pages of this colorful comic book story to see how we got to this pinnacle moment.
The Origin Story
Stardust wasn't always a super villain. But that can be said about most villains. Mr. Freeze wasn't born that way. Dr. Victor Fries was a brilliant doctor who suffered a mental breakdown after his beloved wife Nora was struck was a fatal illness. Magneto was not always evil, but years of first watching his people persecuted in the Holocaust and then his mutants persecuted by humans drove him made with rage. Same goes for Harvey Dent, who was a force of good as a District Attorney until a face full of acid broke his psyche.
The same can be said about Cody Rhodes. He donned the Stardust face pain as an act of kindness to bond with his brother, Goldust. Goldust and Cody were a tag teams and the pride of the Rhodes family, but they had hit a rough patch. They were defeated for their tag team titles and lost their winning ways. To build a new connection with his brother, Cody donned face paint similar to his brother's and he and his brother went on to reclaim the Rhodes glory and win the tag team titles again. But the paint proved to be too much for young Cody.
The new Stardust character started to take advantage of Cody. Cody has been prone to identity issues in the past when a broken nose pushed him to the edge of madness. But he recovered from that. However, the Stardust persona took advantage of Rhode's weakness and began to leach off of Cody, much like when an alien Symbiote took over Eddie Brock to become the evil Venom, foe of Spider-Man. And when the winning ways stopped for the brothers, Cody gave way completely to the vicious Stardust.
Despite a valiant effort, his family, especially his brother Goldust, could not wrestle Cody away from Stardust. And without his brother to keep him balanced, Cody fell further down the rabbit hole. Fully embracing his new found identity of a Super Villain, he knew that he needed a superhero to be complete. That's where Stephen Amell comes in.
Stephen Amell isn't a superhero. He's an actor, playing the superhero Arrow on the hit CW show, and a life long WWE fan. So when he and Stardust got into a Twitter feud, Amell likely though he was having some fun with wrestler Cody Rhodes. Even the first time he was at a WWE show and Stardust stared him down, he may have thought it was all in good fun.
But as Stardust became more and more insistent on finding his heroic counterpart, Amell started to realized that he wasn't dealing with a wrestler having some fun. He was dealing with a sick man.
Why are WWE wrestlers taking shots at me?Posted by Stephen Amell on Friday, July 24, 2015
Where does Neville come in?
Stardust's search for a hero didn't end with Stephen Amell. So it's little surprise the wrestler who looks and flies like a superhero, Neville, caught Stardust's eyes. These men have traded victories, but it didn't sink into Neville's head right away who he was dealing with. However after listening to Stardust for so long, he's starting to get how disturbed Stardust truly is.
This all came to a head two weeks ago on Raw as Amell once again watched from ringside, now more aware of the psychosis of Stardust. The actor watched Neville get a win over King Barrett with his beautiful Red Arrow finisher. But Neville had little time to celebrate. Stardust, angry that no one has responded to his demand for a hero, ran out to attack Neville alongside Barrett. But when he noticed his original target in the front row, he just could not resist. He walked over to Amell and shoved him right in the face.
Amell had had enough. He vaulted the barricade and attacked Stardust in the ring. Security soon intervened but events were already set in motion. Backstage, he and Nevill convinced Triple H to grant them a tag team match against King Barrett and Stardust.
How does Barrett fit in?
It may seem like Barrett is just there to be part of this tag team. But that is not the case. As seen in the video below from last Monday, King Barrett's throne is actually in Stardust's cosmic lair. Stardust has a lost of random things in his lair: Chalkboards, globes, plasma lamps. Why not the King of the Ring Throne? You may think Barrett would get a nicer place for his throne, but he'd need to win more for that.
After weeks of sitting on his throne in Stardust's lair, and looking for answers to his lengthy losing streak, Barrett finally started to buy into the lunacy. Stardust gifted him with new garb and the Cosmic King was born.
What's At Stake?
This is good vs. evil. Everything is at stake.
The question is will Amell and Neville need to reluctantly become the heroes Stardust has been clamoring for in order to defeat the villains across for them.
What to Expect
A showcase of what celebrity involvement in WWE should be. Sure you can lament that someone is going to have to job to a celebrity. Or that Wade Barrett is being shoe horned into this. Or that Amell will likely spend most of the time on the apron. But forget all that.
In the end, this is professional wrestling where sometimes we get the serious stories and sometimes we get the outrageously fun stories. This is the latter and the latter done right. Where else can you lose yourself in over the top pageantry?
Stardust and the Cosmic King will face Stephen Amell and Neville at SummerSlam which starts at 7 PM Eastern on the WWE network. Keep it here at Cageside Seats for all your SummerSlam coverage.