wrestling / Columns

Will The Cody Bandwagon Take AEW To Prosperity?

November 8, 2019 | Posted by Steve Cook
Cody AEW Dynamite

It’s starting to get a little crowded here on this bandwagon I’ve been driving since the early part of the 2010s.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t one of those articles where the writer pats himself on the back for being right about something. There are more than enough of those scattered all across the Internet. And let’s be honest: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that a son of a son of a plumber is going to become one of the best personalities in professional wrestling. Dusty Rhodes was a legend. Dustin Rhodes is a legend. Saying that Dusty’s son & Dustin’s younger brother has the potential to be a legend someday isn’t exactly going out on a limb.

It sure felt like it for awhile.

We all know the story of Cody Rhoes in WWE. Got to do some cool things here and there. The Dashing run & then the Anti-Dashing run were really fun stuff. The tag team with Hardcore Holly was a little under-rated. And of course there was the team with Dustin with Dusty in the corner. Beyond that…well, it depends on how much you dug the oddness of Stardust.

There’s some humor there. But when it was time for Cody to leave WWE, few shed any tears. Those that thought Cody didn’t have much potential were glad to see him move on and clear a spot in WWE for somebody else. Those that did think Cody had potential were glad to see him move on and find a place where he could go further than he ever could in WWE.

It took some time. Cody’s independent/ROH/New Japan run had its hits & misses. Some of his feuds & matches were really good. Some weren’t. His ROH Championship reign had its ups & downs, though it did draw more interest than anything that company has done since. It was part of the process. Cody was going to find the right place to showcase his talents. Even if he had to create it himself.

AEW

Mind you, Cody’s had plenty of help building this house. The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, the Khans and everybody else helping out have brought AEW to heights few would have imagined before All In. But to be perfectly honest, there aren’t many people you can put on Cody’s level since the company started.

Cody’s Double or Nothing match with Dustin had an incredible build with some top notch promos during their “Road To Double or Nothing” video series. A show-stealing bloodbath led to Cody reminding us of his father with an emotional post-match embrace that brought the house down.

While Cody & Dustin were re-establishing their roots & taking on the Young Bucks, there were still other items on Cody’s plate. He helped establish Darby Allin with a draw at Fyter Fest, and the chairshot heard around the world delivered from Shawn Spears gave Cody a match for All Out. At each of these events, Cody was one of the most over people doing the stuff that got the best reactions from the crowd.

Once AEW television started, there was only one real choice to feud with the youngest AEW Champion in history, Chris Jericho. Many of us would have guessed Kenny Omega, or Hangman Adam Page, or the debuting Jon Moxley. It had to be Cody. An evil Chris Jericho needs a strong, over babyface opposite him in order to get the desired reaction. If Jericho is against somebody the fans aren’t quite in love with, Le Champion will get the cheers.

The fans are loving them some Cody these days, and the build to the match at Full Gear has been sublime. It peaked on this week’s episode of Dynamite, with both men presenting segments that could be remembered years down the road. Jericho did a hilarious parody of a previous Cody promo video, featuring none other than the living legend himself, Soultrain Jones.

Prior to that, Cody got to cut a classic babyface promo without somebody putting words in his mouth. The results really speak for themselves, don’t they?

It’s fair to wonder how many people currently in the profession could cut a promo on this level. Something that could juggle various story threads, stipulations, good ol’ fashioned smack talk, business matters & putting the company over and get everything properly accomplished. Maybe there are a bunch of people under WWE contract that could do it. They won’t get that chance anytime soon, mind you.

Cody does have that chance, and he’s making the most out of it. The Cody we see now and the Cody we saw in WWE couldn’t be further apart. In prior years, Cody was a decent hand, a good talker & a solid mid-card regular. At the end of 2019, Cody is the biggest babyface in All Elite Wrestling and it’s not particularly close.

So what happens next?

One of my favorite things about the upcoming Cody/Jericho match is the fact I have no real idea who’s going to win. Both options make sense. Cody would be a great AEW Champion. Jericho continuing to be Le Champion doesn’t have too many downsides. Cody not being able to challenge for the belt in the future wouldn’t be great, but two things come to mind:

1. Cody’s feuds don’t need to involve titles to be entertaining. He’s been really good at eliciting true emotion in his AEW feuds. Dude even got people thinking that Shawn Spears was going to be a main eventer for a minute.

2. It’s pro wrestling. “Never” is a relative concept. They can always find a way to get Cody back into title contention if they need to.

Saturday night is going to be the biggest night in Cody’s career yet. Not only is there the whole matter of the title match, there’s questions that everybody will be asking that will affect a lot of things going forward: What was the attendance, and how many PPV buys were there? Cody may have cut a money promo, but did it produce any money?

If it does, Cody can push himself to his heart’s content. Hey, if you’re management, you’d be an idiot not to push yourself if you happened to be the top star.

article topics :

Cody, Steve Cook