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Cody Rhodes has become a great heel

Dusty Rhodes’ youngest son is pretty much a case study for internet fandoms weird relationship with pro wrestlers.

Cody was championed as unappreciated during his days with WWE. His reputation was that of a hard worker who made the best of whatever gimmick the bosses gave him, but it was believed he was “held down” because he wasn’t big enough, or because of his speech impediment, or because the McMahons have always hated the Rhodes, or...

There was a short period of excitement when he left the only company he’d ever worked for in 2016, but it didn’t take long for popular opinion to turn. The narrative changed. Now Cody was just living off his father’s name, getting opportunities he “didn’t deserve” and “embarrassing himself” trying to keep up with Japanese and indie workrate heroes.

Fitting, then, that Rhodes is now being appreciated for playing a guy stealing the spotlight from an internet legend.

As the above video hyping his showdown with Kenny Omega for leadership of Bullet Club at Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor XII show in New Orleans on April 7 demonstrates, Cody’s slid comfortably into his role as one of the most despicable wrestlers in the world. He’s used the resentment that was already there, changed up his delivery to be extra-grating, died his hair blonde to look extra-punchable, and revels in twisting the knife and mocking the relationship of fan favorites Omega and Kota Ibushi.

All the while, he’s delivering the kind of half-truths all great heels spit - Bullet Club is more popular than ever since he’s entered the picture (whether that’s attributable to him or not is debateable), Omega is the member of the NATO wing of the Club who’s around the least (probably because the kind of matches he works require downtime, and his position in New Japan is such that sometimes they don’t use him to protect that status) and he has been encouraging The Young Bucks and Marty Scurll to climb out of Kenny’s shadow (and stay in his, but whatevs).

Whether you hate him, really hate him or love to hate him, after growing up in the business and running the gamut of fan reactions - Cody Rhodes has arrived.

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