Going into WrestleMania XXVI, as Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes prepared to take on Randy Orton in a triple-threat match, they were both in the same position.
Following the match, Cody Rhodes received a punt from Orton which would lead to Rhodes having to take off several weeks.
Then came the draft.
Cody was sent away to Smackdown while Dibiase was left on Raw. Initially, things did not look to good for Rhodes. Not only was he sidelined in the weeks following WrestleMania, but now he was also being shipped away.
It seemed that Dibiase was being groomed for superstardom and that he would soon be inserted into Raw’s main-event scene.
As WrestleMania XXVII approaches, the two men are nowhere near where we thought they would be.
Ted Dibiase has all but been forgotten on Raw, instead becoming a mainstay on Superstars. Meanwhile, Cody Rhodes has made the most out of his "dashing" gimmick and is set for a one-on-one match with Rey Mysterio at the big show.
Why did the former Legacy stable-mates, who were once on equal footing, go in such different directions?
First, let’s take a look at Ted Dibiase and possible reasons for why he has failed so miserably.
As Dibiase started his solo career on Raw, he initially embraced his "son of the million-dollar man" gimmick. He even went as far as to bringing back both the million dollar belt as well as his father’s old "servant" Virgil.
While he certainly received plenty of attention, both moves failed.
Dibiase was then joined by Maryse and this received a mixed reaction. Many believed it was a great move and that Dibiase and Maryse would be beneficial to each other’s career. Others believed that it would cause more harm than good for Dibiase, as Maryse would most likely steal his spotlight.
Time has shown that the latter were correct.
Many people thought that Cody Rhodes would crash and burn on Smackdown. He was given a new gimmick and shied away from all previous associations. Rhodes milked the gimmick for all it was worth and the results were Cody exceeding all expectations.
He was brash, he was cocky and most importantly, he got over. But what are the real reasons one superstar thrived and the other failed?
Raw always has been and always will be the A-show and will always be loaded with more stars than Smackdown. However, to shoot down the theory of "Raw has more stars so Teddy got lost in the mix," we must look to the previous year’s draft.
John Morrison and The Miz were also separated by the WWE’s draft. Morrison was moved to Smackdown while The Miz was left on Raw. Much like with Rhodes and Dibiase, it was believed Morrison would thrive and Miz would fail and get lost in the mix. Like Rhodes is currently doing, The Miz exceeded all expectations and is currently the WWE Champion and is set to main-event WrestleMania in just under three weeks.
The point is that The Miz broke through amongst a crowded Raw roster while Dibiase could not, so out goes that theory.
Rhodes did benefit, however, from being a part of a Smackdown roster that arguably was the weakest it has ever been.
Rhodes also benefited from several other things: He fully embraced and immersed himself into the ‘dashing’ gimmick; Rhodes also cut all ties with his past.
Even before he started feuding with Mysterio, Rhodes had found his niche, making a connection with the audience and becoming one of the most hated and entertaining superstars on the roster.
Being hand-picked for a Wrestlemania feud and match by Rey Mysterio certainly did not hurt at all. The angle began with Mysterio accidently causing injury to Rhodes’ face and the two have not looked back. Rhodes was taken out of the Royal Rumble, which looked bad at the moment, but as far as impact to his long-term career, it could not have been a better move.
Rhodes is set to steal the show along with Mysterio at the big show, but he is also set up for big things long-term. Rhodes has benefited from a weakened Smackdown roster, from fully embracing his gimmick and from a personal endorsement from Rey Mysterio, among other things.
Ted Dibiase’s career is currently without direction and is not looking too good overall.
Both men however, are still very young so the roles could still be reversed quite easily.
You cannot hold back talent and dedication for too long; if they are determined to be in the main-event then they will be.
At the moment, two things are very clear: Ted Dibiase needs to make a change and Cody Rhodes is winning.