When trying to pinpoint the moment AEW audiences started to turn on Cody Rhodes, most point to the Anthony Ogogo feud and the promo which touched on race in America that even Rhodes admits was a mistake. But you could make the argument it started more than a year before that, when he showed up at Revolution with his own logo tattooed on his neck.
As rumors & reports were swirling about Cody returning to WWE after leaving AEW, a frequently-made joke involved Vince McMahon ordering Rhodes to have the American Nightmare tat lasered off before he would sign him. Pretty funny, but as we saw when Cody appeared at WrestleMania 38, obviously not true — the red, white and blue ink was as prominent as ever in AT&T Stadium, and his every appearance for McMahon’s company since.
In fact, it seems Cody’s getting the last laugh about his much-mocked body art. He tells Sports Illustrated that not only hasn’t he caught any flak or been ribbed about his tattoo, WWE will soon be selling a temporary version of it.
“Vince hasn’t said anything [negative] about the tattoo. I’ve been waiting for some of these guys who knew me back in the day to say something, specifically Bruce [Prichard] and Michael Hayes. Even Randy [Orton] hasn’t said anything, and that was a shock to me because I wasn’t a tattoo guy and he was covered. But it’s a good thing to have.
“Temporary tattoos are going to be released by WWE Shop, and people now see it as an extension of me. That’s what it is. When I was here before, everyone tried to tell me who I was. That wasn’t a bad thing—I was searching, too. Now I’m reaching my final form. That’s why I am sticking to my guns about my character, keeping it as close as possible to who I am. But I’ll promise you this—I’m not getting another one.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean Vince likes the neck tat any more than Cody’s wife does (if Mr. McMahon has “NO CHANCE” inked on his throat the next time we see him, I’ll reassess). But if it makes money, he’s always down. Temporary American Nightmare tattoos, and Rhodes’ push in general, tells us he’s all in on the Grandson of a Plumber.
Neck tattoo and all.