Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow's sudden split as a tag team seemed to happen for no reason. But as Rhodes and WWE Divas champion Kaitlyn draw closer, it all becomes painfully clear: The former partners are about to feud.
After a fantastic run as a tag team, the Rhodes-Sandow falling out and feud was set in motion over a month ago. A rough but necessary step, as both men need to battle it out to reach their true potential in the WWE.
Rhodes and Sandow came together in August of 2012 as Team Rhodes Scholars, challenging Team Hell No for the WWE tag team titles. They survived through several encounters with the champions, and even a sidelining of Rhodes when he was injured, but they never captured the gold.
Despite this, they seemed to be the favorites to eventually dethrone Kane and Daniel Bryan.
Then something strange happened. On the Feb. 1st edition of SmackDown, Rhodes and Sandow walked into Booker T's office and split up.
The funny thing is, despite the breakup, they’ve still teamed. On the Elimination Chamber pre-show, they fought, and lost, to Brodus Clay and Tensai. On the March 4th WWE Superstars taping, they defeated the Uso's.
But it was this past Monday on Raw that the true reason for the breakup began to take shape. Kaitlyn and Rhodes ran into each other backstage, where she complimented him on his mustache. Her own affinity for mustaches has been well-documented on WWE.com.
On SmackDown, Rhodes was seen watching Kaitlyn in her match against Tamina. He asked Sandow, who had walked up, what he thought of her. He replied that "she's made the most of what she can considering she comes from a clearly deficient genetic pool."
This past Monday, they interacted backstage again. Sandow interrupted them, bringing Rhodes the returning Bella Twins. Rhodes, while shocked at the twins' return, was clearly upset when Kaitlyn stormed away.
It all points to Sandow and Rhodes engaging in a feud. To have the two of them fight over Kaitlyn—Rhodes defending her honor, Sandow trying to "save" his friend—is a brilliant move by WWE creative.
Mistreatment of women has always worked in getting wrestlers heat. In ‘97, Triple H’s pursuit and mistreatment of Marlena not only made Goldust a huge face but also generated tremendous heat for The Game.
A similar storyline worked for Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan in ’89.
The two were paired up as The Mega-Powers. However, Savage’s jealousy over Hogan’s friendliness toward Miss Elizabeth led to a huge breakup and headlining match at WrestleMania V. Savage came out of the feud as a heel and Hogan came out the hero for coming to the aid of Elizabeth.
History always repeats itself in wrestling and both Rhodes and Sandow need each other to get over in the WWE.
Sandow is a fantastic heel who should be WWE or World champion one day. But aside from insulting people about inferior genes or intelligence, what has he done to generate real heat? Nothing.
Insulting the dignity and honor of the WWE Divas champion, perhaps even turning misogynistic, might be the spark he needs. After all, every good heel in the WWE does something despicable.
Rhodes also needs something to light the fire beneath him. He's a talented wrestler; a former Intercontinental and tag team champion. But he isn't getting where he should be: World champion. He needs to be a face for the company to push him.
Like CM Punk famously said, it takes selling merchandise to make it over big in the WWE. Defending Kaitlyn and her honor may sell the WWE Universe on him.
The seeds of the feud have been planted. As the romance between Rhodes and Kaitlyn grows, so will the rift between the Rhodes Scholars.