Reassessing Cody Rhodes' bid to become champion at WrestleMania 39


FanPost promoted to the front page.

Let's have an honest discussion, dear readers.

When I express my opinions, I do so wearing one of two hats. The first is my fan cap. It's what I put on when I talk about the characters on a wrestling show and why I root for or against them.

My second lid is that of an informed observer, someone with forty years of study and dedication to pro wrestling, who reacts and reviews moments as an impartial critic. Sometimes, I wear both hats simultaneously, and that sends mixed messages.

So today, I'll be as fair and frank as possible in reassessing Cody Rhodes and his title chances at WrestleMania. But first, I want to offer my sincere view of "The American Nightmare."

Long before Rhodes was born, I was a fan of his father, Dusty Rhodes, during the heyday of Jim Crockett Promotions in the mid-to-late '80s. I've rooted for and followed the career of his brother Dustin since his debut in 1988, through his time as Goldust, and into today as a member of All Elite Wrestling.

As for Cody, I believe he's a phenomenal performer. I admire his work ethic and the bravery it took to walk away from a guaranteed contract from WWE in 2016, opting to enter the unknown world of the indie scene to find himself as a man and performer.

Before his departure, I enjoyed his work as Stardust during his initial WWE tenure. Later, I was impressed with his heel phase in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where I witnessed firsthand what a heat magnet he could be when I attended Strong Style Evolved in 2018. And before I soured on the experience, I was excited to see him lead the charge that led to the creation of AEW.

Today, Rhodes stands on the cusp of realizing his dreams and those of his late father on the Grandest Stage of All. The ill will most fans had towards him during the end of his AEW career has all but washed away, as Rhodes is arguably WWE's number one good guy.

Yet, despite his professional growth over the last seven years, as an unbiased spectator, I stand by my initial assessment that Rhodes isn't ready to be The Guy, nor is it his time. As strong arguments support Rhodes' championship campaign, I submit additional evidence to further my claim.

Though his promo stylings grate on me, I admit that he impressed me in his latest war of words with his WrestleMania opponent, Roman Reigns. I'm still waiting for Rhodes to let Reigns know that he will aggressively take matters into his hands should the Undisputed Universal Champion verbally disrespect him again. But for the first time since this bout became official, I have doubts about who will prevail on April 2.

Outside of the confines of his scripted environment, I find Rhodes charming and likable. Still, he sometimes misses the mark during media appearances and interviews.

For example, after stating how this year's WrestleMania would be fine without The Rock, Rhodes would ultimately walk his comments back to make them more Dwayne-friendly. Recently, he talked about his goal to excel and deliver on a level no champion has done in years. To some, his words sound like those of an ambitious challenger looking to raise the bar set by his predecessors.

But saying he wants to do what no champion has done in years, whether he intended to or not, suggests that something is lacking with the current champion, Roman Reigns, who has sat atop WWE, on and off, for the last eight years. Such statements make Rhodes sound critical of his colleague, which could lead to negative press and stifle Rhodes' career advancement.

But the main reason it's not Cody's time to be The Guy has more to do with the man currently occupying that spot.


With or without a title, Roman Reigns will continue as the centerpiece of WWE television. (credit WWE)

Despite dialing back his schedule and becoming a part-timer, there's nothing beyond speculation to suggest that Roman Reigns is transitioning into a life beyond wrestling, as a new report states that Reigns might be taking a break until SummerSlam. So beyond being excluded from a few chapters, Reigns will remain the central protagonist in what is considered WWE's most epic novel.

Going back to their recent showdown on Raw, Rhodes pointed out that Reigns stands to lose his family, the Bloodline, should he lose his titles at the Showcase of the Immortals. That, more than a Rhodes sovereignty, makes a more compelling story and stands to keep Reigns at the top of the card, even if he's on sabbatical.

In many ways, Rhodes faces the same predicament that the Ultimate Warrior did in 1990.

After losing to the Warrior at WrestleMania VI, Hulk Hogan was written off TV with an injury angle that dominated the spring and early summer months. Despite not appearing on programming during that time, the future of Hulkamania was WWE's lead story, which in part hindered Warrior's run as the company's new flagbearer.

Thus, a victory by Rhodes doesn't automatically usher in a new era in sports entertainment; it makes him a temporary placeholder for Reigns and whoever's next in line to assume the throne once Reigns finally moves on.

And should the Usos and Solo Sikoa, along with Paul Heyman, abandon Reigns and force him into a storyline exile as recent developments indicate, the big question hanging over WWE programming will be, "What's going to happen when Roman Reigns returns?"

At that point, instead of having gone from undesirable to undeniable, Cody Rhodes will become unremarkable as WWE Undisputed Universal Champion.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.