Fans Predict What's Next for Cody Rhodes After His WWE ReturnApril 7, 2022
Fans Predict What's Next for Cody Rhodes After His WWE Return
Welcome to the Bleacher Report pro wrestling mailbag.
The B/R community has always been outspoken, especially when it comes to opinions on professional wrestling and its biggest stars.
We will answer your questions and react to your hot takes about WWE, All Elite Wrestling and the world of pro wrestling.
This week's question: How would you book Cody Rhodes following his return at WrestleMania 38? While several ideas were pitched, it seemed like everybody agreed that the company has to put the WWE Championship on him at some point.
Check out what the B/R community thought.
Win WWE Title in an Open Challenge
"Next Monday, Reigns holds an open challenge for the WWE title only. Rhodes answers and wins. He feuds with KO for a few months before Edge becomes his main feud leading into SummerSlam." (@rthomp75)
While a scenario like this would create buzz, it feels way too early for the company to put the WWE title on Rhodes, especially after the promo he delivered on Monday's Raw.
The American Nightmare wants to win the title because he has earned that right, not because WWE handed it to him to pop some headlines. That means he is going to climb his way up the ladder first.
If he wins the belt within weeks of returning to WWE, the company and Rhodes will have to deal with people saying the only reason he won it was so WWE could show up AEW in some way.
Rhodes needs more time to reestablish himself in WWE. The story will be a lot more satisfying for both him and the fans if he works his way to the title by proving he has become a top star over the past six years.
Win Money in the Bank and Cash In at SummerSlam
"Cody vs. KO at WM Backlash. Cody vs. KO 2 at HIAC. Cody wins MITB and cashes in at SummerSlam during Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre." (@daothermike)
This is a solid plan that accounts for most of the time between now and when Rhodes could win the title, but this also feels a bit too quick and easy.
Feuding with somebody like Kevin Owens would be a great way to get him settled back into WWE after his match with Seth Rollins. Winning the men's Money in the Bank contract on July 2 and cashing in at SummerSlam four weeks later is where it begins to fall apart for me.
As fun as it would be to see The American Nightmare win the briefcase, that stipulation has always worked best for heels. Having a babyface employ the MITB contract is tricky because using it as a surprise feels like a cheap heel move, but announcing their cash-in ahead of time makes them an idiot with no strategy.
If WWE does unify the WWE and Universal Championships into one belt, this would be a decent route to take. But if they are still separate titles moving forward, the creative team should give the MITB to someone else and have Rhodes go after the WWE belt the usual way.
Win MITB and Cash In at WrestleMania 39
"Win MITB next year and announce to cash it in at 'Mania next year." (@CDottWoo)
Waiting until next year's WrestleMania gives WWE enough time to put Rhodes in some high-profile feuds to build him up, but this is another instance of needing the MITB briefcase to get to his goal.
The difference in this scenario from the previous idea is that The American Nightmare would wait all the way until WrestleMania 39. In theory, this makes him look like a valiant competitor who is not trying to take the low road.
However, it also puts WWE in a tough spot. If Rhodes has the briefcase and a guaranteed title shot, what incentive does he have to keep competing on a regular basis?
Pride would be a good reason, but Rhodes holding the briefcase for the better part of a year while he waits for a title match announced months in advance is too constricting.
Would he feud with the champion the entire time before 'Mania or would the titleholder ignore the man he knows is coming for his belt on a specific day? It would be tricky and might lead to Rhodes losing popularity because WWE can't put him in satisfying storylines and situations during those months before The Show of Shows.
The Bloodline vs. Bullet Club...Sort of
"Cody, AJ Styles and Finn Balor vs. The Bloodline." (@GeorgeFeeny)
Leave it to Principal Feeny to propose an interesting idea for multiple reasons. For one thing, it gives The Bloodline a three-man group to face, which is something WWE has somewhat shied away from since putting The Usos with Roman Reigns.
The Tribal Chief usually has his own storyline and The Usos work against whatever tag team is at the top of the division at the time. Giving them a unified trio to battle opens the door for some interesting possibilities.
Another reason this idea is so intriguing is that the group would obviously have to reference The Bullet Club in some way, but none of these men were in the stable at the same time.
AJ Styles joined right after Finn Balor was kicked out, and Rhodes did not join until The Phenomenal One had been gone for months. This means their alliance would not be based on their partnership with the group, so it would kind of be its own thing.
Something like this also creates an opportunity to have Rhodes face Styles and Balor at some point. If they decide they want world title shots, it would create some friction.
Having them work together for a couple of months before having a three-way dance to see who gets to challenge Reigns would be a fun way for this to play out.
Cody Rhodes vs. Former Mentor for Title
"Summer program with Randy Orton to become the No. 1 contender. Orton turns heel and screws Cody at MITB with Riddle's help. Orton cashes it in and wins the title from Reigns and then has the feud with Cody." (@AD3rd)
This might be my favorite idea on the crowd-sourcing post because it puts Orton back with the man who helped shape him into a WWE Superstar during his initial run. In fact, The Viper was Rhodes' first opponent in a WWE ring way back in 2007.
When Orton was using Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr. as his henchmen, it helped put The American Nightmare on the map. They later feuded, but it never led to Rhodes winning a world title.
Having the former AEW star win the belt from the man he once considered a mentor would be far more meaningful than beating a guy who rose to fame while Rhodes was away from WWE doing his own thing.
Yes, Rhodes beating Reigns would be a big deal because The Tribal Chief has been booked so strong over the past few years, but there isn't enough history to make this storyline about anything more than "The guy who ruled WWE vs. The guy who built AEW."
WWE would rather keep its storylines based on what has happened in its own ring, so building to Orton vs. Rhodes for the title makes more sense than having Reigns be the guy he beats for it. The Viper also has some history with Dusty Rhodes, so that would give the story more depth.
How do you think WWE should book Rhodes following his return at WrestleMania 38?