One thing I've always found interesting about Cody Rhodes is that for the majority of his career he's always moved forward.
He went from generic face to arrogant heel. Following arrogant heel, he got his first gimmick and proved he can at least play the narcissist role to surprising effect. Rhodes would again impress, turning a negative (a broken nose) into a positive by transitioning from his "Dashing" gimmick to a "Masked" one, which many people would call the best point of Rhodes' career.
Following a feud with Randy Orton, Rhodes would up the ante one more time, losing the mask, but not reverting back to his dashing gimmick in the process. The words "darker and edgier" could fit the unmasked Rhodes. While some claim the loss of the gimmick weakens Rhodes, I think he's proven to be more than capable as a performer without a gimmick. This brings us to the new "Mustachioed" gimmick Rhodes sports.
For the first time, I feel like Rhodes has regressed as a performer because of it. He simply seems to have taken a step back into a weird version of his "Dashing" gimmick. While I was a huge fan of Dashing Cody Rhodes, Mustachioed Cody Rhodes seems like a bad parody to me. Simply put, that mustache has got to go, because in all honesty, if it wasn't for Sandow, I doubt I could take Rhodes seriously right now.
All of this has had me wondering what WWE could possibly do to restore Cody's image, and while a face turn was one of my favorite ideas (one for a future article, maybe), I had an idea that may actually be a bit better for the WWE.
Like I said, Cody has made a habit of moving forward for the most part, and WWE has kind of taken a step back with his latest gimmick. That said, if they really wanted to go backwards, they stopped at the wrong point in Rhodes' career. About one gimmick off, really, because if they were going backwards they should have stopped not at Dashing...but at Legacy Rhodes.
Now, I'm sure some of you are a bit confused at the thought of becoming pretty much gimmick-less being a good thing, but what I mean is perhaps it's time for Rhodes to do something a little different and step into a leadership role.
How do you feel about Cody's current image?
To circle back a few years, Legacy seemingly had two points. One, was to make sure Randy Orton remained champion, but on another level, it was a time for Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase to learn from one of the best in the business right now. During the periods leading up to the formal formation of Legacy, Cody found himself taken under the wing of Orton, and I think that did a lot for Rhodes and played a part in allowing him to be the breakout star of Priceless.
Perhaps, now would be the perfect time to see if Cody could lead his own incarnation of the group. Cody has shown he can be authoritative and opinionated when the need arises. Around 2011, Rhodes re-formed a team with Ted, but it was clear who the leader of that team was. Along with that, Rhodes has shown an uncanny ability to surpass his former tag team partners, giving him an aura of believability as far as taking charge.
A lot of people have been clamoring for a Rhode Scholars tag team run, but at this point, I'm pretty sure either The Shield or Planet Funk are the default No. 1 contenders. Just like when they were formed, Rhode Scholars will be used to put over other teams and probably singles stars, too. WWE had the right idea dissolving the team in the first place. Why they put them back together is a mystery to me but one that hasn't helped anyone out, except The Bella Twins.
So how would one go about positioning Rhodes as the leader of a faction? Well, first things first, we have to deal with the Rhode Scholars situation. It could be done simply by having them lose a match with Cody walking out in frustration and letting Sandow know he's done with The Rhode Scholars. And with the paperwork filed to announce the termination of their team, (They may or may not remain best friends) Sandow's acknowledgement of this would let him peacefully begin his singles career.
Thoughts on a new incarnation of Legacy?
Rhodes vanishes from TV for a few weeks following this, and guess who starts to appear on Smackdown more often? None other than Ted DiBiase. Ted beats a few jobbers and has a few run-ins with his old mentor, Randy Orton. The two get spotted together a few times, opening up the question of an alliance between the two, and perhaps a heel turn for both men. Rhodes makes his return (having shaven the mustache off) and gets an impressive win over...let's say Kofi Kingston. Leading to Randy and Ted making their way to the ring to say that they want to talk to Cody about something. Cody, of course, agrees to leave with the duo, and after a few weeks of watching each other's backs and winning matches, a big announcement by Orton is hyped up for Smackdown. Said announcement is the formal declaration of the re-formation of Legacy.
Orton invites Rhodes and DiBiase to the ring and puts them over on the mic a bit, before Cody interrupts him (much to the surprise and chagrin of Orton). Rhodes starts spouting off about how much he's grown since the days of Legacy and how much he learned from Orton. One of those lessons being to learn from not only his mistakes (referring to how Evolution looked to be putting him over, only to beat Orton down), and the other being to always strike first (leading to Rhodes and DiBiase beating Orton down). Of course with Orton taken out, Rhodes quickly dispatches DiBiase (reiterating to always strike first).
The theme for Legacy plays and Michael McGuillicutty, Richie Steamboat, and Tamina all make their way to the ring applauding Rhodes, as he announces "This is a worthwhile Legacy," citing the genetics of Mike, Richie, and Tamina, with Snuka lifting Rhodes onto her shoulders while Rhodes mocks Orton with the thumbs down.
The next few weeks could be spent with Cody feuding with Ted, while Richie and McGillicutty start making headway as a tag team (here we emphasize Mike a bit more, letting it be known that he helped train The Rock when he was getting back into shape recently—putting over his abilities in the ring while emphasizing what Richie could learn from Mike), beating the likes of Team CoBro, Planet Funk, 3MB (let's just assume WWE made them faces when they got attacked by The Shield) and the like. Meanwhile, Rhodes can also help assist Tamina in bids for the WWE Divas Championship, putting her over as the strongest Diva in the division (challenging Kaitlyn's strength).
Starting out small, similar to The Corre, this group could easily take hold of the Divas Championship for Tamina and one of the midcard titles for Rhodes. This adds a bit more prestige as more people try to target Legacy 2.0, as they all adopt more arrogance in their because of their heritage.
Key opponents that Legacy could feud with.
Team Hell No
Randy Orton/Ted DiBiase
The Rock (Possibly)
Alberto Del Rio
Not only are there several different names the team could feud with, but there are also a multitude of storylines that this could spark.
Assisted Legend Killer
Justin Gabriel Heel Turn?
Counter-Legacy led by Orton or The Rock
vs. Authority Figure (Reigniting the feud between Booker and Cody at the same time,)
vs. Legends (Goldust and Booker T? Perhaps leading to Cody vs. Goldust at Mania?)
New Recruits/Ousted Future Star (there is a reason Richie is here, but Tamina could also find herself here as well.)
Legacy vs. New Blood
Greater Wrestling Family Tree (Natalya vs. Tamina.)
Those are just a few of the storylines this group could be involved in, but each one could open the door for more storylines depending on how they would play out. Another fun fact is that there is plenty of potential for this group to have differing rosters. Other second or further generation wrestlers (albeit not wrestled for the WWE) on the roster include:
Bo Dallas (Son of Mike Rotunda)
Alberto Del Rio (Son of Dos Caras)
Camacho (Son of Haku)
Primo (Son of Carlos Colon, Sr.)
The Usos (Sons of Rikishi)
Justin Gabriel (Son of Paul Lloyd, Sr.)
Who'd you like to see in a new Rhodes-led Legacy stable?
Roman Reigns (Son of Sika)
Sin Cara (Son of Dr.Karonte)
Natalya (Daughter of Jim Neidhart)
Of course that's just including mainly those who work the main roster. NXT-favorite Paige is a second-generation wrestler, and children of Vader, Dos Caras, and Ric Flair also hone their craft in Florida. The potential amount of names up for membership in Legacy is staggering when you really think about it, though realistically some of these names probably work better as faces (but at the very least there are some that could pull off the arrogant, nice guy routine, and you never know who can do what until you try).
I think a lot of people would agree that Rhodes is a talented performer. That Rhodes has a lot of potential to be one of the bigger names in the company in the next few years if used well. Something like this, I think, is within the reach of Cody to pull off. Will WWE go with this route? Probably not. Still, it's a fun to think about what could be, don't you think?