Home WWE piqued my interest with the Cody Rhodes story: And lost me with how it ended

WWE piqued my interest with the Cody Rhodes story: And lost me with how it ended

Chris Graham

wrestlemania 39 So, apparently, Vince McMahon had no interest in putting his WWE world title on AEW cast-off Cody Rhodes.

According to Fightful Select, the decision was made weeks ago to keep the belt on Roman Reigns, who has been the undisputed WWE champ for the past two and a half years, even as the company relentlessly promoted Rhodes with a storyline that made a title change seem almost inevitable.

There were plenty of good reasons not to put the belt on Rhodes, aside from how he was not part of the world-title picture in AEW after challenging for the belt at a pay-per-view a month after the company’s debut in 2019.

The bigger hindrance would be an uncomfortable shortage of star power in WWE, aside from Reigns, a part-timer, and fellow part-timer Brock Lesnar.

This is why WWE had to bring in retired star John Cena to headline Night 1 of last weekend’s WrestleMania 39, and had a scant six matches on the card for Night 2, which was heavy on filler content and replays from the two-hour-long preshow.

The story built around Rhodes, casting him as returning to WWE to fulfill what he felt was his father Dusty Rhodes’ destiny, certainly did its job in terms of drawing fan interest.

According to WWE, viewership for Night 2 of WrestleMania, headlined by the Reigns-Rhodes match, was up 33 percent over last year’s Night 2.

The problem moving forward is going to be, fans were sold something, an inevitable Rhodes win, that they didn’t get, so now Rhodes is damaged goods.

Even recycling Rhodes for a return match at SummerSlam won’t draw anywhere near the interest there was for his WrestleMania moment.

Sacrificing the Rhodes story at the feet of an extended Reigns title reign leaves WWE without anybody who feels like a worthy challenger, outside of yet again recycling Lesnar.

And it’s not like the booking mistake made with Rhodes is going to make WWE look attractive to other big-name talents from rival AEW, most notably the generational talent MJF, whose contract expires early next year.

This is a textbook example of WWE booking itself into a corner.

Just for me, I haven’t watched the weekly WWE programming for a couple of years now.

After watching every minute of WrestleMania over the weekend, it’ll probably be WrestleMania 40 before I try again.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].