Predicting Cody Rhodes' Next WWE Feud After Win vs. Seth Rollins
The Hell in a Cell clash between Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins at Sunday's WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view event was easily the most anticipated match on the card, and the announcement beforehand that Rhodes was going into it injured made matters even more intriguing.
Despite the unimaginable pain, Rhodes persevered and delivered an instant classic with Rollins. He also managed to score the three-count in decisive fashion to put this rivalry to rest once and for all.
That has left fans wondering what's next for The American Nightmare, assuming he takes time off to heal his torn pec and eventually comes back stronger than before.
With Rhodes still being a relatively fresh face on the WWE roster, there's still a plethora of people for him to feud with, specifically on Raw. He's consistently been one of the best parts of the program since WrestleMania 38, and WWE should be keeping him hot following his feud with Rollins, in which he won all three of their matches against each other.
The WWE Universe should get a better idea of what lies ahead for him on Raw, but until then, these are the best options for who his next foe should be.
The most obvious answer is Roman Reigns considering he holds the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship and that's what Rhodes is after.
It was during Rhodes' first appearance back on Raw two nights removed from his return at WrestleMania 38 that he addressed his intentions for re-signing with WWE: wanting to win the world title in honor of his father. What's smart is that they didn't immediately jump into his chase for the championship.
Instead, Rhodes continued to feud with Rollins while continuing to drop hints about wanting to challenge Reigns eventually. Now that he's decisively defeated Rollins on three separate occasions, it would only make sense for the top title to be in his sights sooner rather than later.
Of course, don't expect Rhodes vs. Reigns to happen at Money in the Bank or even SummerSlam. Rhodes will need time to recover from his injury, and Reigns isn't being advertised for any of the major summer shows at the moment.
If Reigns hasn't already dropped one or both of his belts by the time Rhodes is ready to return, then this could and arguably should be the direction WWE goes in with Rhodes.
United States Champion Theory
It was one month ago on Raw that, following his hard-fought win over Rollins at WrestleMania Backlash, Rhodes challenged Theory for the United States Championship. It was such a random match that most fans knew it wouldn't end in clean fashion, and sure enough, Rollins interfered and caused the contest to be thrown out.
Interestingly, in his first decade on WWE's main roster, Rhodes never held the United States title. That's despite his dad Dusty Rhodes being a former U.S. champion and being The American Dream, so it would only be fitting for him to capture that championship at some point.
That said, with where he is on the card right now, Rhodes is absolutely above the star-spangled title. The Undisputed WWE Universal Championship is what he should be gunning for, but a quick detour in the U.S. title picture wouldn't hurt.
Besides, Rhodes and Theory have unfinished business that should ultimately be revisited. Theory is on the rise as much as Rhodes is, so this could be a fun full-fledged program if WWE were to pair them off now that Rhodes is finished with Rollins.
Theory needs more top talent to prove his mettle against, and Rhodes can help legitimatize his reign.
Kevin Owens is another individual who Rhodes previously did battle with back in April, but their main event on Raw was unfortunately interrupted by one Seth Rollins.
It's time they run this back and turn it into a full-on feud.
Owens shared the ring with Rhodes several times in 2016, but that was of course long before Rhodes evolved into the elite athlete he is today. The material these two would have to work with on the mic would be fantastic, and the matches would be equally enjoyable.
Owens just wrapped up his rivalry with Ezekiel (beating him at Hell in a Cell) and will need a new foe for the summer. Granted, it's extremely doubtful Rhodes will be back for the end of the summer, but perhaps Owens can take credit for his hiatus and that will be how the match is set up when Rhodes returns.
There are a ton of different ways this one can be done, and by the time WWE finally gets around to booking it, here's hoping Owens will be higher up on the totem pole so it means more.
Edge and the Judgement Day
Edge and Cody Rhodes have barely interacted over the course of their careers in WWE. Although they faced off on a September 2011 edition of SmackDown, the confrontation never led anywhere because Edge was retired at the time.
Over a decade later, both men are doing some of their best work ever. Edge got a new lease on life when he was cleared to compete again and has been doing an exceptional job as the leader of The Judgement Day, while Rhodes is as beloved as ever as a babyface and is firing on all cylinders.
Rhodes can come out on Monday's Raw and boast about beating Rollins with a fully-torn pectoral muscle when he's viciously attacked by Judgement Day out of nowhere. Edge, Damian Priest and Rhea Ripley can all take turns dismantling Rhodes, and that can be how The American Nightmare is written out of storylines until later in the year.
Judgement Day are fresh off another major win at Hell in a Cell and could use some direction this time. The heel faction laying out Rhodes would successfully set up Edge vs. Rhodes for later down the line.
The faction's main motivations seem to be preventing people from contending for the top title, but that hasn't been made clear. If that was the case, then Rhodes would make more sense than anyone to be the one who Edge targets upon Rhodes' return.
There was speculation among fans ahead of Hell in a Cell on Sunday night that a Bray Wyatt return to WWE could be coming, which isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility.
It has yet to be reported by a credible source and could amount to nothing, but he did recently tease on Twitter that a return to wrestling was imminent, not to mention he doesn't seem to fit in anywhere else.
As long as he'd be better utilized the second time around, a Wyatt comeback could have potential and be worth getting excited about.
He and Rhodes hardly have any history together. There was some hope that Wyatt might resurface at the end of Hell in a Cell to attack Rhodes and kick off that rivalry, but no such luck.
However, that doesn't mean it can't still happen one of these weeks to write Rhodes off Raw for the time being. WWE needs notable names in the absence of everyone who's injured, and Wyatt can fill one of those voids with ease.
The storytelling aspect of this feud could be incredibly interesting, and it would immediately re-establish him as a main event player alongside Rhodes.