Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Cody Rhodes: Dashing Debonair to honourable heavyweight

Firm favourite poised 
for future success?

Cody Rhodes has made headway in the last two years, rapidly becoming a firm favourite in WWE. The highlight of many gauging eyes, Dashing Cody Rhodes was unleashed onto our screens in a shock and surprising resurge favourably.

After regaining stride once stalled, Rhodes was unveiled as an obnoxious, ignorant, narcissistic, charming individual, who wanted to rid us of all our distasteful ugliness outside and in.

Starting from the outside, the grooming etiquette began on Smackdown June 25th 2010, where Rhodes, with his expert advice on appearance, took extra tentative care to his own face, adopting a protective, translucent mask as a cross between Christopher Nowinski and action hero Robin, sidekick to Batman.


The gimmick fitted Rhodes well, where, with his gleaming legs, effervescent smile, and mockery of disgusting teeth, struck a chord of vanity supporting reality in today’s world. Everyone wants to look good, but when Rhodes wanted that upkept for his dashing self, fans turned against him.

Adding more flames to his unrest, Rhodes was in a stronger position than the previous four years on the roster. He had a role he was comfortably in, irked the audience, and delivered his star skills that created a new standpoint for the company.

In September of 2010, Cody collaborated with Drew McIntyre to form a dire tag team placement, which should not have seen Rhodes join with the lowly McIntyre to preserve an extra dimension of star aura to Rhodes, ever growing in the role and becoming the next biggest rising star. It set him back slightly, and was done so in order to give McIntyre a boost that he could not control, where both won the Tag Team Championships in a Tag Team Turmoil match up.

They would lose in quick succession a month later at Bragging Rights, only as a measure to enhance the Nexus/John Cena feud, and demoralising the two in the team as transitional champions. On October 29th the pair disbanded.

In January 2011, Rhodes was entangled into a long lasting, and slightly overbearing feud with Rey Mysterio. It went on for far too long. Rey accidentally and legitimately broke Rhodes nose, forcing the dire mask to be removed. Rhodes however had to miss the Royal Rumble as a result. He would not have won anyway.

Rhodes, along with father Dusty, ambushed Rey in later months of missing TV time to remove Mysterio’s mask. Rey was not seen on camera exposed. In Mexico, if a wrestler is demasked, the tradition forces those unmasked to retire their character/gimmick as a result. It is an honourable angle, mostly respected in this region of wrestling.

Rhodes defeated Mysterio on supercard, Wrestlemania XXVII, on April 3rd 2011. Their match was a fair outing, but clouded as it lasted too long, as a measure to give fair time to both to create something special on the undercards. Rhodes came off well, talent recognised, though lost a portion of the feel due to match length and lack of big spots, saved for later matches.

Mysterio received the win in a rematch at Extreme Rules, in a Falls Count Anywhere bout. After this series passed, the Adonis esq stalwart would hand out paper bags to audience members, informing them to wear them over their heads, as Rhodes could not bear to see their horrid faces in the presence of his beauty. Surprisingly, fans were more than accommodating to the bags and willingly placed them over themselves with joy. Rhodes had caught on immensely.

Following in late May, he rekindled his old partnership with stable buddy Ted DiBiase from the Legacy years. Over this course both took on Daniel Bryan and Sin Cara, before heading into the Money in the Bank Pay Per View, where Rhodes became an outside contender. The shock decision saw Bryan unhook the briefcase on the night.

The August 12th Smackdown saw the unsuccessful youth hunger for more. Proving he was champion material, Rhodes downed the bland beefcake Ezekiel Jackson for the Intercontinental Championship. This was his first major singles title, which was a welcome delight. DiBiase a week or so later, would lose to former leader Randy Orton, which saw Rhodes extremely disappointed, and severed the relationship, signified with a bag over DiBiase’s head. They were officially over once more after a short stint. This was a wise move to set Rhodes on his own. He could not be afforded to head back to old scenarios that didn’t work out.

Rhodes then fought Orton at Night of Champions in an adequate match for the two. On September 23rd Rhodes was cut hardway when a ringbell accidentally struck him in the match. Nine staples were sewn into Rhodes dermal demeanour.

At Hell in a Cell on October 2nd, he would change history. Unearthing the classic white trimmed Intercontinental Championship to mass elation by the WWE Universe, to re-exemplify prestige to the title and its division. This was also the same white trimmed theme Shawn Michaels held in the past.

Setting Rhodes up in an excellent display of meaning, November 14th’s Smackdown also relinquishing his mask, which was necessary to the new start promisingly, to end the mini feud with Orton, expertly played out, with a superb Smackdown street fight included, saw the youngster survive in a traditional 5 on 5 elimination match at Survivor Series against Orton, alongside Wade Barrett, now shifted in as Orton’s next opponent.

After briefly battling with Booker T, in a competent showing, Rhodes was proceed to the Royal Rumble match, where he lasted over 40 minutes and was rewarded with the most eliminations in the match. He, along with The Miz, lasted from the early stages, until the Big Show cheaply flung both out of the match, tainting all their hard earned efforts to make the match interesting. Both were promising contenders as potential victor.

Big Show gained the IC title from Rhodes after his sterling work to make the title relevant, at Wrestlemania 28. Rhodes regained the strap one month later at Extreme Rules, on a technicality when Show dropped a foot through a table stipulation match, rendering Rhodes weak, to protect the meek Big Show as a character.

Cody has since dropped the title to Christian at Over the Limit in May, which is now necessary to rebuild and protect his stifling moments damaged by Big Show.  As challenger, regaining esteem will support the role further.

Constantly booked as a character who makes progress over a yearly period, is then inadvertently dropped and forced to play catch up. All his sterling work achieved, undone in one fell swoop, Rhodes, always built high then dropped, must be booked highly whether winning or not, and placed among competent opponents, while maintain his overall aura of star able to float around the heavyweight division. Rhodes has proven himself time and time again, and is the one to watch for the heavyweight division, some believe should have seen him as champion instead of Sheamus currently.

© Max Waltham 10th July 2012

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