There are two different ways to look at why Cody Rhodes needs to retain his title against Booker T at the TLC pay-per-view.
One is from a storyline perspective as it pertains to outside of the ring.
The other has to do with the story of the match and the event itself.
Rhodes' match with Booker has been built up well and now it is finally culminating at the last WWE PPV for 2011. If it is played out correctly, it might last even longer.
Even though the match has been built up well, the facts remain that Booker T is 46 years old and Rhodes is a fully 20 years younger. To have Booker win his match would not only bury the younger talent, but hurt the future of the WWE as well.
Worse, it would destroy any reason for fans to want to watch the feud continue.
Rhodes has recently started beating on Booker in the last few weeks, which has drawn him considerable hatred from fans. After all, Booker is a loved veteran who has been in the business since the early 90s.
He was around when there was an Attitude Era and a WCW. He is a character that fills older fans with nostalgia and seems to have no trouble connecting with younger ones. Fans who tune in to see the matchup do so because they want to see Booker beat Rhodes down.
But if that happened at TLC, then that would be the end of it. Fans would have gotten to see their hero triumph over his tormentor and an older man easily beat up a young wrestler.
If Rhodes is able to beat Booker though, it means that the young man can continue to humiliate him and laugh at how he was easily disposed of. Then when they get a rematch at the Royal Rumble, fans would be more likely to tune in and watch.
Even if Booker wins the rematch, Rhodes can always say it was a fluke and continue the feud while still making it believable.
It also makes sense to have Rhodes beat Booker at TLC because of the event itself. Though no stipulation has been made for their match, it isn't inconceivable that tables, ladders or chairs could work their way into the ring.
Rhodes' young body could take more punishment should any of those items show up when they are fighting in the ring. Even if he is put through a table, thrown from a ladder or bludgeoned with a chair repeatedly, he could work through it.
Booker on the other hand has had a full career. It has been part of the focus of their spat and it could show in the ring.
Where as at one point he might have fought through being thrown into a ladder or colliding with a chair in the past, it might be a different story now. Enough of those rough matches on his body have take a toll, and it might slow him down enough for Rhodes to pick up the victory.
It would also help Rhodes gain even more hatred from the fans.
At the end of the day, Rhodes keeping his title means more interest in the feud and more money for the WWE.
And at the end of the day, that is what matters to the company and that is why Rhodes will walk out with the belt and Booker's dignity.