When The Legacy broke up last year at WrestleMania XXVI, the future of one of the stable's members, Cody Rhodes, was uncertain.
Unlike his former partner, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes was never really seen as one of the company's favorites, and was expected to be the less successful of the two WWE Superstars once they both finally broke away from Randy Orton.
But to the surprise of the WWE Universe, Ted DiBiase's solo career never took off. After the stable's break-up, DiBiase remained on Monday Night Raw. He was given both his father's Million Dollar Championship and WWE Diva Maryse as a valet, but he never managed to get over as a heel. He eventually lost the unsanctioned title last year, and has been a glorified jobber ever since.
Cody Rhodes, on the other hand, was drafted to Friday Night SmackDown, where he developed a completely new gimmick for himself: a self-obsessed narcissist known as "Dashing" Cody Rhodes.
For the rest of the 2010, Rhodes milked his gimmick for all it was worth. Having supposedly been voted the most handsome Superstar by the WWE Divas, Cody Rhodes became so obsessed with his looks that he put a mirror on both the back of his jacket and at the bottom of his titantron.
On a weekly basis, Rhodes cut segments that offered simple "grooming tips" to the WWE Universe. If you used facial cream, trimmed your nose, and flossed you teeth, you too could look as "dashing" as he was.
As ridiculous as his new gimmick was, Rhodes proved the WWE management wrong, became a regular on Friday Night SmackDown, and even managed to win the WWE Tag Team Championship with Drew McIntyre.
But there was just one problem with Cody Rhodes being "Dashing"—nobody could take him seriously.
While the idea of "Dashing" Cody Rhodes as the WWE Tag Team Champion or the Intercontinental Champion isn't hard to imagine, the idea "Dashing" Cody Rhodes as the World Heavyweight Champion is. If Rhodes was ever going to make it past the mid-card, somebody was going to have to come along and destroy his gimmick.
And if you've been watching Friday Night SmackDown this past month, that somebody is Rey Mysterio.
Back in January, Rey Mysterio and Cody Rhodes had a match against each other, during which Mysterio ended up "breaking" Cody's nose. Not only did this ruin Cody's so-called "flawless" face, but the reconstructive surgery caused Rhodes to miss the Royal Rumble, shattering his hopes of main-eventing WrestleMania XXVII.
After weeks of absence, Rhodes made his return to the ring this past Friday on SmackDown. Accompanied by his father Dusty Rhodes, Cody made an apology to Rey Mysterio, but attacked The Ultimate Underdog soon afterward.
Right there, the most handsome man in World Wrestling Entertainment turned into a monster.
Rhodes beat up Mysterio outside of the ring, removing his coat and tie in the process. The attack eventually worked its way up to the titantron, where (a now masked) Rhodes looked at his reflection for possibly the last time. Disgusted by what he saw, Rhodes threw Rey Mysterio into the screen, "breaking" the mirror in the process.
To add a final insult to injury, Cody Rhodes pulled off Rey Mysterio's mask as an act of revenge. Now looking less like the teenage son of Rick Rude and more like the anorexic cousin of Mankind, Cody's "Dashing" character had officially been destroyed. In its place stood a darker and more sinister figure.
Like the WWE Universe found out during Kane's unmasking in the early 2000s, there is obviously nothing physically wrong with Cody's face. But in his own mind, he is hideous. This is a kayfabe sign that his mental state is now unstable. To what extent, we don't know yet. But it will become much clearer once his surgical mask is finally taken off.
It is now apparent that WWE has bigger plans in store for Cody Rhodes than just being a mid-card pretty boy. He will most likely feud with Rey Mysterio going into WrestleMania, something from which he could greatly benefit, regardless of whether he wins or loses.
A darker chapter in Cody's career has now been opened, and it is far more interesting than anything we've seen from him before. In a span of a year, he has gone from the "other guy" in The Legacy, to the most handsome man in the WWE, to SmackDown's newest resident lunatic.
Only time will tell where his gimmick takes him, but so far, I like where this is going.