In past editions of Wrestling Purgatory I’ve talked about how natural talent and magnetic personality have not been able to give writers enough to push a wrestler to the levels they so deserve. Well with those you can also mark family up in those ranks. And I’m talking about the Rhodes family.
I won’t go into lengths about the legend of Dusty Rhodes, we all pretty much know it but if you don’t look him up on the Network. I also will not go into the lost opportunities of Dustin, aka Goldust. We are talking about the youngest Rhodes, Cody.
Living up to the name of a legendary father can be difficult. For everyone that does (Randy Orton, Randy Savage) many do not (Lanny Poffo, Curtis Axel, David Flair). And a lot of that has nothing to do with the people themselves. They may have the talent but there is something that just keeps them back. Some might say that Cody had the deck stacked against him from the start.
Cody was a successful amateur wrestler in high school, winning states in his weight class both junior and senior years, and planned on wrestling in college before deciding to go into the family business. After training and winning all the major titles in Ohio Valley Wrestling Cody was called up to the main roster.
He was immediately thrown into a feud with Randy Orton, who had his own family name to live up to. It didn’t last very long before he was thrown into a feud with Davari to little fanfare but after this was Cody’s big break. A respect feud with Hardcore Holly led to them forming a team and winning the World Tag Team Championships. Although his turn on Holly from bubblegum babyface to new heel with Ted Dibiase Jr (look more family stuff) began to show what Cody really had.
Joining up with Randy Orton to form Legacy Cody was able to showcase not only his in ring work but a personality that we were not accustom to. After the Legacy breakup it just seemed like a matter of time before Cody became a big star. His promos as “Dashing” Cody Rhodes showed confidence and improvement in his talking. He would gain the Tag Titles again but this time with Drew McIntyre, another wasted talent, and hold the Intercontinental Title twice. Despite this he still hovered around the midcard.
A newly formed team with Damien Sandow called Team Rhodes Scholars showed great potential (and an amazing mustache) for both competitors but they were never given the brass ring, just always falling short of the titles. Their breakup and reformation killed much of their heat they had built up as well.
Cody was “fired” by Triple H after a loss to Randy Orton for voicing his opinion of the COO and this began a feud that brought back big brother, Goldust, and daddy in their corners. The Brotherhood, in the biggest feel good moment of 2013, won their jobs back and then won the tag team titles from the Shield. Eventually the due lost the titles and were unable to get them back. At the 2014 Royal Rumble we were teased with a Rhodes brothers feud as Goldust accidentally eliminate Cody in the Royal Rumble match. The Brotherhood continue a losing streak that many thought would be capped by Cody’s turn and Rhodes brother match at Wrestlemania. We didn’t get this. Instead Cody tried to find Goldy a new partner before realizing he had the perfect partner, Stardust.
Cody began wearing facepaint and a jumpsuit just like his brother but went with the name Stardust, a nickname of both his and his father’s when they were younger. Even though the team won the tag titles the brotherly duo didn’t last very long. Cody turned on Dustin and we all thought, here we go Rhodes vs Rhodes at Wrestl….oh, it’s Fastlane. Ok, so after that very awkward match finish we were sure to get the rematch at Wrestl…no, no we didn’t.
Stardust was an also ran in the Intercontinental Title ladder match at Wrestlemania and just flouted around until he sunk to the terrible level that no wrestler wants to go, feuding with a celebrity. Look, I’ll give Stephen Amell credit, he worked hard to put on a good match in the blow off but we knew what was going to happen.
Since then Stardust has had a quasi stable created with the Ascension, when writers actually remember that they made that a thing, and had a momentary revival of his feud with Goldust only to have it dropped just as unceremoniously as the last one. Today we find him in this odd program with Titus O’Neill that revolves around Titus finding Stardust’s area backstage from where he does promos. Groundbreaking television I say!
Look Cody is a prime example of taking lemons and making lemonade. WWE probably thought that when they proposed Stardust to Cody that he would go all Cave Johnson on them and quit. But he owned the damn thing. He ran with that character and made it his own. And he got over with it. So what does he get for being a good sport and actually busting his ass? Here have the Ascension but not next week, oh and then we’ll give them back to you in a couple Smackdowns.
This kid is extremely talented and no knock at Dustin but the more talented Rhodes boy. His in ring work has never been a question but his charisma and mic skills have risen so much over the years. Even as Stardust it has given him more confidence in himself when talking. In our most recent episode of the podcast I predicted that Cody would remain Stardust for the remainder of 2016 solely because creative will forget about him. I really want to be wrong on this. I want to see Cody Rhodes back, as a heel, and mixing it up with the top guys. If given the opportunity I think that we could have a second generation Rhodes as World Champion. It’s with this that I place Cody Rhodes into Wrestling Purgatory with hopes that it is just a short stay.