But as strange as it may sound, he probably won more by not winning the match. Rhodes won his long-awaited major push toward the next level of WWE stardom.
He finally is going to be in the picture for a major singles championship. By this time next year, don’t be surprised to see Rhodes holding the belt that he was oh-so-close to getting a golden chance at on Sunday night.
Rhodes made his presence felt in the title chase Monday night when he ran in and started beating on former tag partner Damien Sandow, who double-crossed him the night before. Rhodes was fingertips away from grabbing the briefcase Sunday night when Sandow charged up the ladder, knocked him to the mat and grabbed the briefcase.
Monday night, when Sandow took the mic and began his usual gloating following his match with Christian, Rhodes returned the favor. He sent Sandow scurrying out of the ring much to the delight of the Brooklyn crowd.
With that one move, Rhodes stamped his future as a top-flight WWE Superstar.
No one ever questioned Rhodes’ ability or work ethic in WWE. He had captured numerous midcard titles, but his only flirtation with a top title before Sunday was being co-holder of the World Tag Team Championship. He just never seemed to be able to get over that threshold from midcard to upper card.
As the son of former World champ Dusty Rhodes, he was expected to one day hold the title that once wrapped around his dad’s waist. Sure, he still is only in his late 20s, but it seems like he has been around forever, and the time for him to shine was slipping away.
Along the way, Rhodes endured some silly storylines. He wore a mirror on the back of his ring jacket during his narcissistic “Dashing” days. When he legitimately broke his nose during a match with Rey Mysterio, he took to wearing a plastic mask and refusing to have anyone see his "horrible" disfigurement. He milked this gimmick for a long time, even passing out paper bags for ringside fans to put on their heads.
He also was the guinea pig when The Big Show finally ended years of WrestleMania futility. He began getting more attention for his mustache than for his wrestling ability.
Finally, in an insult to his ability, Rhodes took on the look of jobber to the stars.
Now, all that is a distant memory. Rhodes is going forward with revenge on his mind and blood in his eyes. Somewhere out there is a vicious Cross Rhodes finisher with Sandow's name on it.
Revenge is one of the best motivators for a good storyline in wrestling, especially involving former tag partners and so-called best friends. WWE Creative needs to book this feud solely on the revenge factor.
It’s a program that will boil over in a match at next month’s SummerSlam but remain on simmer for as long as Sandow carries the briefcase.
The scenario I see coming is for Dolph Ziggler to beat Alberto Del Rio at SummerSlam and carry the World belt for several months. Then sometime before the 2014 Royal Rumble, Sandow will cash the briefcase in and become World champion.
At that point, it becomes quite feasible for Rhodes to win that Royal Rumble and challenge Sandow at WrestleMania XXX next April. Then, on wrestling’s grandest stage, Rhodes’ dream comes true when he captures the WHC title.
And that is why Cody Rhodes wins by losing.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.