Finish the story: Why Cody Rhodes should win at WrestleMania


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You all know the deal. Cody Rhodes, big return at WrestleMania against Seth Rollins. Tears his pec during training, out for months, comes back and wins the Royal Rumble to set up the biggest match of his (WWE) career at WrestleMania facing the self-proclaimed GOAT, the Tribal Chief Roman Reigns.

There's been a lotta talk from some places that Rhodes should lose. That Reigns is the man, is the Tribal Chief, is protecting his family. In a word: Bunk! There's a bunch of reasons, kayfabe or not, that Cody Rhodes should finish his story and defeat Reigns for the title at the Showcase of the Immortals. Here's some reasons why. Bonus points: Beyond the title, I won't reference the "finish the story" part!

Big caveat: I'm weaving in and out of kayfabe here. There will be a biiiiiig disclaimer at the relevant part, but again, I'm weaving in and out of reality here.

Reason 1: Cody Rhodes may be the smartest babyface in the WWE.

I've been on this site since late 2021 and I've seen a pretty common refrain: "Why are the babyfaces idiots?" Not in those words, but pretty close. Not helping others seems to be a big complaint.

In sharp contrast, Cody Rhodes is the first babyface to truly realize that the strength of the so-called Tribal Chief isn't Roman Reigns himself, but the Bloodline. Unlike the other challengers, Cody is fully willing to find assistance, fully cognizant of the numbers advantage and is trying to counter it.

I first started writing this a couple weeks ago, and as of Friday, I'm gonna toot my own horn a little here. From talking to Kevin Owens behind the scenes of RAW in Boston to saving Sami Zayn from a Bloodline beatdown, Rhodes has acted as a neutral party between the friends turned enemies turned friends turned enemies and on and on. He even respected KO's wishes when KO refused help March 13. And then, of course, The Reunion. Like it or not, I imagine that reunion doesn't happen without Cody's influence.

Reason 2: Roman Reigns is a soft coward who, when he's not dodging matches, needs assistance from others to win.

Here's that big caveat, kids: I'm speaking of Roman Reigns the character, not Joe Anoa'i the man. Calling a man who survived leukemia and continues to perform in a physically demanding job a soft coward is not only objectively wrong, but possibly sociopathic. Just making it explicitly clear.

Fun statistic for ya. Dating back to WrestleMania 38, Cody Rhodes has wrestled in 38 total matches in WWE between televised shows and house shows. Roman Reigns has wrestled 27. Not that far off, right? Consider this: Cody Rhodes had a loooooong layoff thanks to his injury, after the June 2022 Hell in a Cell match where he defeated Seth Rollins.

Cody Rhodes since his return at the Rumble has wrestled 14 matches. Roman Reigns? 13 matches. Since June. And he's skipped multiple PLEs.

Money in the Bank? That don't work for him, brother. Extreme Rules? That don't work for him, brother.

Oh, but SummerSlam, you say! Interference from the Usos. Clash at the Castle? Interference from Solo Sikoa. Crown Jewel, you say, desperately trying to make Roman Reigns out as anything but a coward. Interference from the Usos AND Solo Sikoa. WarGames? Let the Usos and the manipulated Sami Zayn do most of the work. Royal Rumble? You guessed it, interference. Elimination Chamber? What's that glorious word? Oh yeah! Interference.

I'm sure someone, shuffling their notes with eyeglasses on and clearing their throat nervously, may point out Cody Rhodes did not match at Elimination Chamber. This is true. I'm no Scott Steiner, but that's 50% wrestling at big events, while Reigns has wrestled at two-thirds of the PLEs since WrestleMania 38. However: It's pretty clear that Cody wanted the focus to be on Sami Zayn at Elimination Chamber. That was clear from their shared promo on RAW, and also, who would Cody have wrestled? If Cody had asked for a member of the Bloodline, we all know Roman would've said no because he needs all the help he can get.

(Stepping into reality... Well, basically the same thing. It's pretty clear the focus was supposed to be on Sami before and at Elimination Chamber.)

3: Roman Reigns is a bad leader and a bad family man.

It's been said before by some that Roman Reigns is just a family man, trying his best to keep the Bloodline together. That Sami Zayn was an infiltrator with bad intentions and Reigns did the right thing.

To which, I ask: Have you seen anything Roman has done? (Watch this convenient YouTube playlist for these moments.) Is choking out Jimmy Uso as a threat to make Jey Uso fall into line the actions of a worthy family man? Since then, Jimmy and Jey Uso have had to become the blunt instruments of a man who, at his core, doesn't care about them. Even when they win, there's an implicit threat: If you screw up, even in minor circumstances, then you have to commit something vile to make up for it, or it's the guillotine (choke) for you. Even Roman's most steadfast backer, the "Wise Man" Paul Heyman, looks terrified when he listens to Roman speak and give pronouncements.

Then there's Sami. Sami proved himself over and over and over again for the Bloodline, but it's the same thing: Even minor slip-ups were guaranteed fury from the Tribal Chief. Go back and watch "Feeling Ucey;" when Roman raises the prospect of "Sami Uso," it's not serious. When Sami gets an upgrade to his shirt, Roman just has to gaslight him into believing he's kicking him out of the Bloodline first. The Trial of Sami Zayn? A fraud. Make no mistake, if Sami had defended himself, the result would be the same: Roman pronounces him guilty and a Samoan Spike is in order.

As for the "final test" at the Rumble, I'll tangent a bit here. Y'all ever watch The Legend of Vox Machina, or Critical Role? Bear with me, and spoilers I suppose. A main character, Percy, makes a deal with a demon to take revenge. In exchange, he's given otherworldly powers and "The List" of people he must kill. It's been confirmed that if Percy did ever finish "The List," it would just refill with names. Now, Sami didn't join the Bloodline for revenge, and Roman Reigns isn't a shadowy smoke demon. But in an alternate universe where Sami did what Roman demanded and demolished KO with a steel chair, I fully believe Roman would just keep giving him more "final tests," letting his soul slip away a little more every time.

Reason 4: There's no one left.

I've noted that Roman cheated to win time and time again, but the fact is he's won. There's effectively no one left but Cody who can take it, who hasn't lost to the Bloodline. Who's left? I can only see a couple names, and they're not likely to take it:

  • Austin Theory technically never lost a match to Roman. But we all know exactly how many times the dude failed at cashing in. Alone, against the Bloodline? Good luck, kid.
  • Bobby Lashley is one of the few big names that hasn't lost to Roman during this reign, as far as I can tell. But there's a problem: Even discounting the "kiddy games" he's currently (maybe) playing, he's alone. Even the All Mighty has to deal with the number games. The Hurt Business might help, but then again, those teases haven't paid off.
  • The option of a call-up is there. Perhaps the one guy that could credibly stand in the ring with Roman based off of win-loss record is Bron Breakker. But, to quote Sal Tessio in a famous novel that turned into a famous movie: "That's like bringing a guy up from the minors to pitch in the World Series."
As far as I can tell, there's really only one name that could credibly stand up to Roman who's not named Cody Rhodes: GUNTHER. Despite a rocky call-up and a polarizing name change, the Ring General has done nothing but deliver in the ring. He's also one of the few wrestlers with an in-born faction to contest Roman with in Imperium. However, Der Ring General has his hands full with the Intercontinental Championship, and there's no guarantee that if he does lose it at WrestleMania, his focus wouldn't be on reclaiming it. Also, if it happens, it'd be heel vs. heel, and frankly I'm not sure how compelling of a story it'd be.

Reason 5: The eyes of the wrestling world are upon you.

I'll keep this simple: It's hard to believe people around the wrestling world aren't paying close attention to how Cody Rhodes is treated. While there have been plenty of people who have made the jump from WWE to AEW, Cody is the highest profile AEW wrestler to make the jump back to WWE. I'm not saying Cody Rhodes winning in the main event at WrestleMania would be a deal maker or a deal breaker for any upcoming free agents, but it sure would be a nice bargaining chip to be able to walk into those meetings and tell them "We can't guarantee a main event, but look at how one of the guys who was instrumental in forming our biggest modern rival was treated when he came back."

Anyways. I've been poking around on this post for a while, but we're a week ago. It's time to post this. Maybe I'll be right! Maybe I'll look like a dork in a week. We'll see. No matter what I just hope it's good. (And if you made this far, thank you for indulging me!)

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