Cody Rhodes attempts to become a three-time Intercontinental Champion this Sunday at Night of Champions. It is very appropriate to discuss Cody Rhodes' career right now, especially considering how the Night of Champions pay-per-view has impacted his career over the years.
Rhodes originally was just the son of Dusty Rhodes, defending his legendary father in the face of Randy Orton. Little would we know then that Cody Rhodes would soon align himself with Orton.
Rhodes would never defeat Orton, but he moved on to more realistic feuds. The first victory in WWE for Rhodes came over Daivari with the stipulation that Rhodes' job was on the line. Rhodes gained a bit of a hot streak before running into Hardcore Holly.
Rhodes lost three straight matches to Holly but showed his toughness and impressed the veteran. The two would end up forming a tag team. This helped Rhodes make his pay-per-view debut in 2007 at Survivor Series, but Rhodes and Holly could not defeat reigning champions Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch.
In December, on the 15th anniversary episode of RAW, Holly and Rhodes became the World Tag Team Champions. The team defended against all comers for months, until May 2008 brought Ted DiBiase to WWE.
DiBiase promised that he would win the World Tag Team titles in his debut match but never made it known who his partner was. At Night of Champions 2008, Holly and Rhodes saw as DiBiase came to the ring alone and even began the match without a partner in his corner. Suddenly, Rhodes turned on Holly and was revealed to be DiBiase's partner.
After a two-on-one assault, Holly was pinned, and the titles technically changed hands, despite Cody Rhodes keeping his title. That would be Rhodes' heel turn, which has lasted ever since. A few weeks later, Rhodes and DiBiase would lose the titles, only to regain them the following week from John Cena and Batista.
Suddenly, they were joined by Manu, the son of Afa from The Wild Samoans and Sim Snuka, formerly known as Deuce of Deuce N' Domino. Snuka is the son of the legendary Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. The four men would come into contact with Randy Orton, another son of a former superstar.
Orton would take DiBiase and Rhodes under his wing to form The Legacy but would see Manu and Snuka fail tests to prove themselves. The three men were left by themselves but were a strong commodity in WWE.
United with the mission of making Orton a world champion, all three members of The Legacy were a part of the final four in the 2009 Royal Rumble, along with Triple H. Triple H eliminated DiBiase and then Rhodes before Orton won the match.
In April at Backlash, The Legacy defeated Triple H, Batista and Shane McMahon in a unique six-man tag team match. If The Legacy won, Orton would become WWE Champion, which is exactly what happened.
If you're keeping score at home, Rhodes has already assisted DiBiase in winning tag team gold, as well as ensuring that Orton won a Royal Rumble and a WWE Championship.
Rhodes and DiBiase would keep up their feud with Triple H, leading The Game to reform D-Generation X with Shawn Michaels. DX won at SummerSlam over The Legacy but lost at Breaking Point.
The rubber match between the two teams took place at Hell in a Cell in just the second-ever tag team Hell in a Cell match and first to have an actual finish. Issues with the trio began to surface in 2010. Orton was in a WWE Championship match against Sheamus, only to see Rhodes' attempt at helping cause a disqualification.
Rhodes and DiBiase would also cost Orton a non-title rematch against Sheamus. DiBiase would qualify for the Elimination Chamber along with Orton in a last-ditch effort to prove The Legacy's loyalty to Orton.
Rhodes came to the ring during the match and passed a lead pipe through the chamber to DiBiase. DiBiase inadvertently hit Orton and pinned Orton to eliminate him. A triple threat match at WrestleMania XXVI followed, with Orton defeating Rhodes and DiBiase.
In April 2010, Rhodes was drafted to SmackDown and was in need of a new start. After a few weeks of narrowly missing out on an Intercontinental Championship reign, two big changes would happen for Rhodes.
Rhodes would become a mentor to Husky Harris on the second season of NXT. He would also develop a new gimmick in June 2010, becoming obsessed with his looks and demanding to be referred to as "Dashing" Cody Rhodes.
Rhodes developed some unique traits now that he was "Dashing." He created grooming tips for the masses in an attempt to make the rest of the world as good looking as he was.
He would also be very fixated on his face. A mirror would appear on the stage when he came to the ring so he could check his face. If he was hit in the face during a match, Rhodes would flip out and check himself in a mirror in the middle of the match.
Rhodes developed a short-lived alliance with Drew McIntyre, which generated a WWE Tag Team Championship reign for the duo following a win in a Tag Team Turmoil match at Night of Champions 2010. A few weeks later, the reign was over, and the alliance ended a few weeks after.
The year of 2011 really brought a major change to Rhodes and his career. It all began with a match against Rey Mysterio in January, which saw Mysterio's knee brace legitimately break Rhodes' nose.
Rhodes was off television for a number of weeks and returned with a clear protective mask. The superstar who used to pride himself on his looks, especially his face, said he needed facial reconstructive surgery and was no longer his former "Dashing" self. Rhodes would attack Mysterio upon his return and remove Mysterio's mask in a dominating return to action.
Rhodes competed in his first few matches back in a suit and was very against showing his face to anybody. His protective mask would be used as a weapon to headbutt his opponents.
Rhodes took on Mysterio at WrestleMania XXVII in his home state of Georgia and was successful. Rhodes and Mysterio faced off in a match at WrestleMania XXVII on April 3, which Rhodes won. The duo also faced off in a Falls Count Anywhere match at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view in May, which Mysterio won.
The narcissism of Rhodes was kicked up a notch when he would walk to the ring with other men, referred to as his assistants by many and "the baggers" by Michael Cole. Those baggers would have a stack of brown paper bags with eyes cut out of them and demand that fans put the bags over their heads to hide their ugliness. Not only did Rhodes believe himself to be ugly, but he also believed that the fans were even uglier.
Rhodes would reunite with Ted DiBiase in May, and his presence would lead to another reign with gold for Rhodes. This time around, it was a singles title as Rhodes became Intercontinental Champion in August.
The relationship with DiBiase deteriorated rather quickly, and DiBiase ended up being Rhodes' challenger at Night of Champions. Following this, Rhodes was once again feuding with Randy Orton.
Orton and Rhodes exchanged victories, including a match on a SmackDown episode which saw Rhodes be legitimately busted open. The footage was edited in many outlets. Rhodes would redesign the Intercontinental Championship belt at Hell in a Cell in October and continue his feud with Orton.
Rhodes cost Orton the World Heavyweight Championship and didn't have to defend his championship in any of their matches. One of these matches, a Street Fight, saw Rhodes break his mask.
Suddenly, the formerly insecure Rhodes was able to walk around without a mask and a more confident attitude for himself. Despite having the feud with Orton, Rhodes was not named captain of Orton's opposing team for Survivor Series in favor of Wade Barrett. Barrett and Rhodes were the lone survivors at the event as they eliminated Orton last to win the match.
Booker T would become an unlikely opponent for Rhodes, challenging Rhodes for the Intercontinental Championship as 2011 was ending. Booker T would not become successful, so Rhodes would seemingly climb the ladder up to the next level.
At Royal Rumble to start off 2012, Rhodes would enter fourth and last nearly 42 minutes, just minutes shy of The Miz for the longest stay in the match that year. Rhodes eliminated six competitors, the most of anyone in that match, but was thrown out by Big Show.
Rhodes pinned Big Show inside the Elimination Chamber a few weeks later, but Big Show would get the title shot at WrestleMania XXVIII. Rhodes lost to Big Show, ending his reign at 236 days, the third-longest reign with the Intercontinental Championship in the past 14 years.
Big Show had now won every possible championship in WWE and beaten Rhodes, who had made fun of Big Show in the weeks before WrestleMania with all of Big Show's shortcomings. Now, following WrestleMania, it was Rhodes who had the bad luck.
That unluckiness broke at Extreme Rules, when Rhodes won a Tables match over Big Show when the giant was kicked off the canvas and stepped through a table. Rhodes would lose his title a second time to Christian, who had just returned that night to WWE.
Rhodes has been unable to gain the championship back since. He would complain about that but has been too busy complaining about other things in recent months.
In a Money in the Bank qualifying match, Rhodes lost a tag team match by having partner David Otunga take the pinfall. After arguing with the Board of Directors, Rhodes was given another chance.
Rhodes may not have become Mr. Money in the Bank that night, but he did start up a feud with Sin Cara. Rhodes was back to his argument of other people being hideous, essentially what he was doing with Rey Mysterio.
Rhodes is determined to unmask Sin Cara, and both men have become inserted into the Intercontinental Championship match at Night of Champions, along with current champion The Miz and Rey Mysterio. The Miz is a relative new foe for Rhodes, but both Sin Cara and Mysterio are common foes for Rhodes and stand in the way of Rhodes becoming a three-time Intercontinental Champion.
It may not be a glorious spot for Rhodes to play in the midcard once again, but the talent he is facing is certainly a lot better than it was for Rhodes' first reign, which began by defeating Ezekiel Jackson.
Rhodes is still pretty young, and moving him to the main event and world title scenes could ruin his momentum and psyche. He may feel ready, but he probably isn't mentally. Rhodes is a future main eventer, and rushing him into a world title reign isn't responsible. Isn't that right, Jack Swagger?
The common trends of his lineage and his given looks have been central parts of Rhodes' storylines. Similar aspects seemed to be all that Randy Orton was about in the early going.
Eventually, things will expand, and Rhodes as a character will add more layers to himself. As for Sunday, Rhodes can add another accolade to his list of championships.
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