Cody’s Gonna Be Okay, Guys. And So Are You.
ADRENALINE IN MY SOUL
IT’S A WRAP FOR CODY RHODES
I’ve never met Cody Rhodes, just a few encounters in passing, but I used to be in a Clash of Clans group with him and a bunch of the boys until they realized I sucked at the game. Fun times…
I always imagine a text thread without me where someone asks “Whose Mans??” and then I get the boot. My friend Austin Creed invited me so that was his fault. Anyway, he always has some great things to say about Cody, so I’ll assume he’s a good guy, and a good sport.
His recent success, it appears, couldn’t have happened to a nicer or more deserving guy.
I was fortunate enough to watch both nights of WrestleMania on the floor of the fabulous SoFi Stadium (maybe my new favorite arena, that place is state-of-the-art— feels like what being inside the starship Enterprise probably would be like) to witness history. I mean I don’t have to run the numbers down for you, HHH just did this week on Smackdown. WrestleMania 39 yielded record gates, record merch sales, record viewers at home and in person; and if you were a fan of Cody, let me tell ya, record-setting disappointment.
Ever hear the sound of 80,000 people getting punched in the gut at once? Pretty amazing. I got to experience this once-in-a-lifetime moment of breathlessness Saturday night in person while at least ¾ of the people in the building simultaneously hung their heads and then left the arena filled with sadness when Roman Reigns continued his run as the most dominant pro-wrestling champion of the modern era, pinning Cody Rhodes at 34:35 and retaining his title, with a ton of help. The match was good. There were some moments where I believed the impossible might happen. But overall, the ending was pretty predictable.
During this weekend in LA, I can honestly say that I saw three of the best WWE matches in recent memory: The Intercontinental three-way dance between Gunther, Sheamus and Drew McEntyre, as well as the Smackdown Women’s title match between Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley were both undeniable classics, as was the night one main event, The Tag Title match between the Usos and Sami/Kevin. The action and storytelling delivered in spades. No notes.
I love to attend these events as a fan and not a member of the press, because I can root for who I want to, and just enjoy the show without worrying about having to defend my positions on anything – but as an entertainer, I knew that on a two-night event, where most of the people are returning on the second night plus some, you are allowed a little leeway to send the crowd home happy one night, and you can give them some sad news on another night – and thus the balance of the universe is maintained.
I didn’t know what to expect or when, but I had a feeling that after the fairytale ending of night one that we were in for a heartbreak. Night one slayed and slapped in every possible way. Overdelivery after overdelivery up and down the card. I really felt like the guys and girls went into that show saying “TOP THIS.” I left that night saying “They’ve got a lot of work to do to match night one.”
When a bar is that high, there ain’t nowhere to go but down.
So we all know what happened. To be frank, Night Two didn’t quite match Night One. Matches were good to very good, but not great to classic. Shane McMahon tore a quad. There was an inexplicable near 40-minute break before the main event, where commercial after commercial caused a chorus of boos from the Mania crowd.
And then it happened.
ADRENALINE IN MY SOUL
ROMAN JUST PINNED CODY RHODES
On top of that, on the next night, when we all expected some sort of make-up booking, Cody got demolished at the end of Raw by Brock Lesnar. Bad to worse. WWE fans were swearing off the company in real-time. A dark cloud of sadness, followed by inexplicable venom, hit wrestling Twitter.
I read some of the most amazing tweets while on the bus headed back to the hotel that night.
“WWE blew it.”
“LMAO Cody, you went back for THIS?”
“I’m never watching again”
“I wrote a 2500 word essay on Cody winning the title and now it’s useless”
And my favorite:
“I hope all the AEW guys are watching this and realize you should never go to WWE, because this is how they treat you.”
Take notes… shame on WWE for putting you in the main event and billing you as the top babyface in the company for a year straight…what terrible punishment for Cody! I’m sure say… Evil Uno will consider this when his free agency looms near and make the right decision.
So the question that prompted this essay was a simple one.
“Is Cody Rhodes done?”
I had to think about it, and take a second…ding!
So yo, now a week and change removed from the moment, and all the doom and gloom I saw as a result of it, I just had to make a statement here and forever more.
Cody done? Not by a long shot.
Cody will be fine.
It’s okay. Don’t throw away your “Finish the story” tees. Don’t remove “Kingdom” from your Spotify playlists yet. Don’t remove that tattoo–actually, you can remove that tattoo.
Here’s the thing fans have to understand… The story doesn’t end when and how you want it to all the time. Sometimes the path to the top is a long and winding road. He’s gonna fight his way back up from underneath, and if he does win it all, the victory will be that much sweeter.
Have you ever heard of The Hero’s Journey? It’s what so much of modern storytelling is based on. The hero’s journey, or the monomyth, is the common template of stories that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed. Think Star Wars.
What people don’t realize about The Hero’s Journey is that it can have as many as SEVENTEEN STEPS! If I was to somehow cross-reference Cody’s story with that of THJ, He’s somewhere around what’s called The Road Of Trials. Usually our chosen hero has a series of setbacks that make him rethink his calling…and if a WrestleMania sized L, followed by a Brock Lesnar beatdown ain’t that, then I don’t know what is. These things come in threes. So there could be yet another embarrassment around the corner…let’s hope not.
Hey look, I understand. Would it have been a perfect moment to have him achieve the goal at WrestleMania, against the most dominant champ of our time? YES. But that certainly isn’t the only way to get to the finish line. Everyone’s starting and ending point is different. You know how many all-time greats haven’t won the big one at WrestleMania? The danged NEW DAY, arguably a top 5 tag team of all-time, hasn’t even won a single match at WrestleMania. Most of your favorites records there aren’t great.
Starting a program with Brock cements Cody as a main-eventer. We know Brock won’t fight just everybody. These matches will be entertaining, and will give Cody the chance to come from behind and build his underdog status to legendary levels, so that when the moment comes to get another shot at the title, he’ll make it happen.
And ya know, even if he doesn’t, It’s OKAY! He’s a top-tier talent, making top-tier money and getting top-tier tv time in the biggest wrestling company in the world. Just a year and change ago he was wrestling Sammy Guevara (no disrespect) for a secondary title in AEW, and here he is, looking like a million bucks, cemented as a top guy and standing with hall-of-famers. Despite the Mania L and the subsequent RAW mauling, he lives to fight another day. It’s not like they threw him on Main Event and took away his entrance and music.
My prediction is that Cody gets back into the mix by Summerslam, but it won’t be easy. He’ll have to fight through some old enemies (Solo, Seth Rollins), some new ones (Brock, who knows) and then maybe gets the Money in the Bank briefcase then calls his shot against Roman. And again, even if he doesn’t…We’re fine. Just because we saw WrestleMania as the final stop doesn’t mean that it actually was. Wrestling is year-round. This train doesn’t stop, and to quote Barret Wallace in Final Fantasy VII, “There ain’t no gettin’ offa this train that we’re on.”
So don’t have that Cody merch fire sale yet. Do remove the tat though.
Hang in there, kiddos. The ride is just beginning.
So in closing…
ADRENALINE IN MY SOUL
DON’T GIVE UP ON