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Long before I became a bitter curmudgeon who drank baby tears and delighted in the suffering of wrestling fans, one of my endearing qualities, according to a friend, was that I always root for the underdog, whether in fiction or real life.
And while this leopard's spots have faded, they haven't changed.
Ever since his defeat at WrestleMania, wrestling fans have been weary of Cody Rhodes' booking. Many felt that WWE had Lex Lugered the American Nightmare, killing off any chance Rhodes would ever have of becoming the company's top guy.
When Rhodes went on to wrestle Brock Lesnar weeks later at Backlash, most were skeptical about Rhodes' chances of victory. And when he overcame The Beast, the criticism became about how Rhodes won. "They gave him a fluke pin. It's not like he beat Lesnar."
And all the while, Cody Rhodes' most vocal nitpicker — ME — has been the voice of reason, saying, "It's okay, guys. If you look carefully, you can see the plan here."
Watch the story of the rivalry between @CodyRhodes and @BrockLesnar ahead of their hotly anticipated rematch at #WWENOC. #WWEPlaylist ▶️ https://t.co/uhkUVUjpdf pic.twitter.com/ABscQelpMM— WWE (@WWE) May 22, 2023
But then WWE introduced a new World title, which Seth Rollins looks to be the front-runner to capture, possibly setting him on a collision course with Undisputed WWE Universal Champ Roman Reigns. Realizing that I said to myself, "Hey man, there's a real chance that Cody could get frozen out of both world title pictures. Wow, that would suck."
In that brief moment, I could feel the temperature in my cold heart start to warm toward the guy I once rooted for as Stardust, a gimmick Rhodes' loathed so much that it prompted him to leave WWE and set out to make himself a legend. That took guts, and I respected him for that.
And then came All Elite Wrestling.
For reasons too numerous and tiresome to relitigate, I'll simply say that Rhodes' work in AEW left a bad taste in my mouth. And his catchphrase grates on me like nails on a chalkboard.
But between you fans railing on his booking and what could lead to WWE yanking the carpet out from under him has somewhat softened me on Rhodes and his struggle to get back to the world title scene and finish his story.
However, as a Brock Lesnar fan, first and foremost, I'd like to see the Viking Cowboy wipe the floor with him en route to a victory at Night of Champions before that happens.