Can Cody Rhodes STILL Finish The Story?

2/8/2024 8:21 AM

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Can Cody Rhodes STILL Finish The Story?

Can Cody Rhodes STILL Finish The Story?

February 8, 2024 8:21 AM
Can Cody Rhodes STILL Finish The Story?
WWE News

What is going on?!

Ever since Cody Rhodes made his triumphant return to WWE, his main character motivation has been to ‘finish the story’.

Finishing the story means Rhodes finally becoming the top guy in the company and winning the WWE Title for the first time in this career.

It looked like Rhodes was going to finish his own story in 2023, when he won the Royal Rumble, and main evented night two of WrestleMania 39 against Roman Reigns. Unfortunately, WWE had different ideas when it came to the match finish, and this resulted in Reigns coming out on top. Whilst this was a heavily criticised finish, it failed to impact Rhodes’ standing in the company, as he remained the default face of the company, and was still headlining live events up and down the country.

At the 2024 Rumble, Rhodes would once again be victorious in the annual matchup, and this time it looked like a certainty that the WWE 2K24 cover star would finish his story at WrestleMania 40. Rhodes would win the match, and proceed to point towards Reigns, which obviously implied that Rhodes was going to face Reigns in a WrestleMania rematch. However, on the SmackDown following the Rumble, everything changed…

In a segment that has already become one of the most detested segments of all time, Rhodes would confront Reigns on SmackDown, stating that he still wanted the WWE Title that Reigns possessed, yet finishing the story also involved taking everything away from Reigns. This was when out of nowhere; The Rock would appear to set up the dream match of Reigns vs. The Rock for WrestleMania 40. This segment in essence saw Rhodes give Rock his WrestleMania spot, and whilst WWE still have time to deliver a logical explanation as to what on earth happened here, this segment is still ultimately going to be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Rhodes had reiterated throughout 2023 that he needed to finish the story, and become WWE Champion, and for Rhodes to give up that opportunity, out of some blind loyalty to a man he has no kayfabe relationship with, makes zero sense from a storytelling perspective.

It has been widely reported that Reigns vs. The Rock is indeed the concrete plan for WrestleMania 40, whereas Rhodes will challenge Seth Rollins in a babyface vs. babyface showdown for the World Title.

There is a defined lack of interest in Rhodes vs. Rollins. This is mainly down to the fact that WWE fans have seen the match an endless number of times before, and Rhodes won all of those matches, meaning that Rhodes has nothing left to prove. Another issue is that Rollins hasn’t been remotely bothered by these losses on TV during his World Title reign, yet fans have to suddenly buy into the notion that Rollins has his own personal redemption arc? It simply doesn’t work.

Additionally, WWE can’t even spin the narrative that Rhodes winning the World Title would still be the case of Rhodes finishing the story. WWE may argue and market the idea that the World Title is on par with the WWE Title, yet this simply isn’t the case. Reigns even buried the title on SmackDown on February 2, which was an unwarranted move, and one that didn’t really add anything meaningful to anyone’s story.

Rhodes has discussed in depth what his thoughts are on the World Title, and this is what he had to say during the Money in the Bank post show press conference last summer:

"I don't want to be a downer, but no. Winning the World Heavyweight Championship would be outstanding. It would be amazing. It is the title on the flagship show, Monday Night Raw. It absolutely matters and is important. What Seth is doing with it is a special thing and you're going to see that title will mean far more in five minutes and ten minutes. Every second, it gains equity. Finishing the story was always about the title that my dad didn't get. I'm not going to spoil anything because the Peacock people will murder me. You'll probably hear some news about my documentary sometime soon….”
“Finally, these people have been filming me for gosh knows how long. It's covered a lot in there as far as that's what the story was. He really did hold it, he held it in the Garden, and it ate me up that he never got it. That's finishing the story. The World Heavyweight Championship is a whole other story. Very special, the main title on Monday Night Raw. I don't look down on it in any way…”

WWE are in a weird spot where they have the fans firmly against their booking heading into the biggest show of the year, and yet they know that Reigns vs. The Rock will indeed be a certified draw, so how do they handle this?

Firstly, the issue isn’t the fact that WWE are delivering Reigns vs. The Rock at WrestleMania 40, it’s the HOW. WWE have pushed Rhodes aside in such a disrespectful manner, that it makes The Rock bigger than anyone on the roster, and ultimately bigger than the prestigious Rumble matchup. It does beg the question of why WWE didn’t have The Rock win the annual Rumble matchup, as this would have given a kayfabe reason as to why The Rock returned and was now set to main event WrestleMania.

WWE have a press conference set for this Thursday, and this is when Reigns vs. The Rock is set to be made official. There have been calls for The Rock to announce a swerve of sorts at the event, and announce that Rhodes fooled Reigns, and that Reigns will be taking on both men at WrestleMania 40. This wouldn’t necessarily be a triple threat matchup, it would be a case of Reigns vs. The Rock headlining one night, whilst the second night is main evented by Reigns vs. Rhodes. This would be a smart move from WWE’s perspective and would keep everyone happy.

It’s unknown if the storyline is a work, as some fans are speculating that WWE have fooled everyone. WWE has talent such as Logan Paul and Ricochet tweeting support for Rhodes, which does seem odd, yet it could be a case of the WWE talent feeling just the same way that the fans are. It was reported on social media that WWE were handing out We Want Cody signs at RAW on February 5, yet this hasn’t been proven, and based on numerous tweets, it looks like some fans were mass printing signs and handing them out at the arena.

If WWE goes down the route of having Rhodes re-enter the Reigns vs. Rock saga, where does this leave World Champion Seth Rollins? Rollins is currently injured, so he is limited from a physical perspective, yet he is still firmly expected to be in a position to wrestle come WrestleMania 40. The original plan for Rollins was a showdown with CM Punk, yet with both being injured, this is simply out of the question. Rollins has virtually been begging Rhodes to pick him at WrestleMania 40, and if Rhodes refuses, and STILL goes with Reigns, then this is going to make Rollins and the World Title look incredibly weak. WWE have to be extremely careful how they handle this, as the pivot may do more damage than good, and if Rhodes doesn’t compete for the World Title at WrestleMania, then Rollins and whoever faces him will simply be wrestling for what is now being presented as a consolation prize.

There was a report over the weekend from PWInsider that WWE may consider unifying the World Titles, and this is how Rhodes would finally finish the story. Unifying the World Title after just two reigns would be a controversial move, yet it would indeed be a way for Rhodes to capture the WWE Title. It could certainly be argued that the first time Rhodes wins a World Title in WWE, it should be the WWE Title as opposed to the World Title, and Rhodes winning the WWE Title down the line may not have the same impact, and this is something that WWE must consider.

There is also the Rock factor at play. It was reported that The Rock pushed for the match vs. Reigns, and it was part of his deal to come into the fold as a Board member. Fightful Select were stating that some believe The Rock would push to win the match, which would be a shocking turn of events, as The Rock hasn’t wrestled a full-length match in over a decade, and how The Rock expects to carry the top prize in the company whilst undertaking all of his other ventures is anyone’s guess

WWE has numerous options. They can either proceed as things are, meaning they simply ignore the fan backlash. However, with the WWE product being red-hot around the world, this is a dangerous move, and could have severe ramifications on WWE’s business. The last thing WWE wants to do when the product is so well received is turn the fans against them, and this has been seen numerous times throughout their history, and it’s a mistake WWE are prone to making. Alternatively, WWE could change direction, and still have Rhodes finish the story at WrestleMania 40. The direction of having Reigns wrestle twice at WrestleMania (meaning he wrestles The Rock on one night for the Head of the Table status, and Rhodes on the other night for the WWE Title), could be the smartest move here, and WWE may even be able to convince fans that Rhodes finishing the story in this manner was their plan all along…