To say Cody Rhodes brought prestige to the Intercontinental Title in the past year would be an understatement.
He has, in fact, restored it to an ounce of the credibility it once had back in the days of legends such as Mr. Perfect and Bret Hart.
And that is exactly the reason why he should not be the one to upend Christian come Sunday at No Way Out.
Yes. However, putting the strap back on Rhodes only serves to stagnate his progress upward into the main event scene.
The fans of the classic era of WWE will remember the IC belt being one that was the grooming title for the next world champion, and that remained the case for many years. Mr. Perfect was an obvious slight, but from Bret Hart to Steve Austin to Triple H to the Rock, to Jericho, Angle and Benoit, the IC belt was the logical next step in their climb to the top slot.
Obviously in recent years, that promotional mentality has changed.
Numerous title changes (as Josh Martin pointed out in his piece on this subject as well) has degraded the value and the prestige of what used to be the only other singles title besides the WWE Title back in the day.
That was, of course, until Rhodes won the title in August of 2011 and put together an eight-month reign of successful and noteworthy battles with other stars such as Randy Orton and Booker T. He even posted an impressive 40-minute stint in the 2012 Royal Rumble.
Despite his particularly hilarious promos highlighting Big Show's embarrassing WrestleMania moments, Rhodes dropped the belt to Show at April event in Miami.
He regained the belt a month later at Extreme Rules but again dropped it, this time to Christian—a month later at Over The Limit.
This Sunday puts him in a position to regain it for a second time in 2012, and many seem to favor his restoration to the IC championship. But in reality, the belt is fine around Christian. Last year, he was given the unceremonious five-day reign as World Heavyweight Champion, which created his heel turn.
So, a longer than one-month reign with the IC belt is more than justified and ultimately fits Christian best.
After all, with younger talent being brought to Monday and Friday nights, a veteran with the IC belt can be valuable to elevate their stock in the company while also eventually promoting Christian to the main event role again.
But not right now.
What that means for Rhodes is that regaining the IC belt would ultimately be a set back.
Clearly, his progression from WrestleMania XXVII last year in Atlanta to this point has been as skyrocketing as anyone. What he did during his eight-month reign was more than enough with the IC belt to elevate his stock.
He needs to be moved up to the World Heavyweight or WWE Title scene.
And what would provide the perfect stimulus? Money in the Bank.
With the pay-per-view set up for next month in Phoenix, it is the perfect stage for Rhodes to make the big leap to the WWE main event scene—and maybe even beyond—to being one of the major belt holders.
Therefore, No Way Out leaves the perfect way out for Rhodes from the Intercontinental scene by jobbing to Christian. What he has done for the belt should be commended over the past year. But putting it back on him now would simply hinder the progress of one of WWE's brightest stars.