In my previous article, I aired my frustration regarding the Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio feud, with a particular emphasis on Rhodes’ ridiculous mask and alleged facial injuries.
After reading through the comments on the aforementioned article, it is clear that Cody and his mask has divided opinion amongst the Internet wrestling community, leaving me compelled to write this article.
The divide at the centre of this unlikely debate is in regard to what the WWE’s intention behind the mask is exactly.
What are they trying to convey?
There seem to be two primary schools of thought, but first allow me to offer a summary of the situation so far:
After his match with Mysterio several weeks ago, Rhodes suffered severe facial injuries. In order to restore his "dashing" looks, Rhodes underwent facial reconstruction surgery. A mentally unstable Rhodes then returned to TV a couple of weeks ago, sporting a new mask representative of his injuries and subsequent surgery.
There are two distinct arguments as to what the mask portrays, with one being far more simplistic than the other. On one hand, the simplistic view is that the transparent mask is a foolish oversight by the WWE, undermining everything Rhodes currently stands for. Furthermore, the mask is merely a prop to signify that Rhodes has had surgery, despite exposing the fact that he clearly has not.
It makes wrestling appear fake, which we all know it clearly is not.
On the other hand, many believe that the mask is clever tool employed by the WWE to illustrate Rhodes’s damaged mental state. Despite the fact he has had successful surgery, Rhodes is horrified at the fact he will never recapture his "dashing" good looks, thus explaining his psychotic persona.
Whichever view you agree with is completely up to you, but it is a crucial element of the feud. Your reading of Rhodes and his mask is crucial to how you receive and interpret the direction of the rivalry. If you follow the first argument, the feud is flawed. If you agree with psychological approach, then you can commend the WWE for providing something "out of the box."
However, the debate does not end here.
It has to be asked, where will this go? What can we expect in the near future regarding Cody Rhodes’ characterisation?
Personally, I believe that the mask will stay with Rhodes until the end of the Mysterio feud or immediately after WrestleMania XXVII, whichever comes first. Considering the removal of Mysterio’s mask two weeks ago, it would not surprise me if WrestleMania XXVII saw a mask vs. mask match.
It would certainly add to a feud that is currently lurking in the shadows of the main event matches as well as adding another dimension to the WrestleMania XXVII card.
Furthermore, another reason as to why the mask may not stick around is simply because the "dashing" gimmick is far more superior in terms of longevity when compared to the current portrayal of Rhodes on TV. The best way to look at it is to recognise the mask as a development or enhancement of the "dashing" persona as opposed to an all-new gimmick.
But, again, the interpretation of how far or what direction WWE takes this is completely subjective.
Either way, what we are currently seeing is the next evolution of Cody Rhodes. Regardless of your interpretation, the WWE’s development of the Rhodes character merely signifies the upwards trajectory of his career.
Please comment and share your thoughts on what you think about Cody Rhodes' current characterization on TV.