He was handed a relatively stupid gimmick a year ago, as "Dashing" Cody Rhodes. Despite the initial loathing of such a gimmick, he was able to entertain and make the character his own.
While entertaining, the "Dashing" gimmick was certainly one-dimensional, thus leading to the transformation into the "Un-Dashing".
Rhodes was able to showcase his mic skills through his new darker, more sinister character. Akin to "Cowboy" Bob Orton, Rhodes has utilised a fake injury as a weapon, in his case a face mask.
Six months later Rhodes has stalled, becoming mundane with the overuse of the bags his assistants hand to the audience. He had become Intercontinental champion and looked to be improving, however his character hit a wall.
That was until Hell in a Cell 2011 this week, when Rhodes took a dramatic leap forward. He cut a fantastic promo on the past legacy of the Intercontinental Championship, and the many legends who had worn the belt, following this up with the unveiling of the new Intercontinental title, the classic white belt from the mid-'90s.
Cody promised to defend the Intercontinental title as much as possible, and against all who may challenge him. His goal is to re-establish the legitimacy of the IC Championship, and become the greatest of all time.
It was a truly memorable moment, one which could prove to be Cody Rhodes' career-defining moment.
Career-defining moments include the heel turn of Shawn Michaels on the Barber Shop or Stone Cold Steve Austin's "Austin 3:16" promo at King of the Ring 1996. These moments seemed great when they occurred, and were remembered as fantastic in hindsight because of the success that they would achieve.
Luckily for Cody Rhodes, he has the tools of an all-around superstar: mic ability, in-ring ability and the look (even if he is on more of the skinny side). If executed properly, a push for Rhodes could do wonders for himself, the Intercontinental title and the entire mid-card division.
It's not so common anymore to see a mid-card feud involve a storyline of main-event standard. The storylines we mostly view in this era are uninspired and weak.
The perfect way for this reign to play out would be to have Rhodes defend the title in high-profile feuds for months to come. He doesn't have to hold it for six months straight. He could lose and regain the title in a multi-match series (although it may work better if he goes undefeated).
The importance is on the creative team to follow up this magnificent promo with storylines and matches that suit the push Rhodes should receive.
A well-written story, a great match and compelling characters go a long way in re-legitimising a championship, and a whole division.
The WWE should not be keen on blasting Rhodes to the main event in a short period of time. It's too often we see a mid-card superstar pushed before his time.
Rhodes is better off in the long-term if his main-event push is held off until at least a year into the future.
Remember how important the Intercontinental Championship once was? Cody Rhodes does. If the fans start caring about mid-card titles again, wrestlers won't need to be in the main event to garner attention, or the status of success.
In the reintroduction of the classic Intercontinental title, Cody Rhodes has made his reign unique and left his mark on future champions.
Cody Rhodes has the potential to be WWE's "Next Big Thing" if they can pace themselves, and give him a quality push that establishes him as a major player not only in the mid-card, but the whole company.