When Cody Rhodes made his WWE comeback at WrestleMania 38 last year he was treated like a returning hero, which was the exact opposite of how the AEW crowd was treating him during the end of his run there.
Fans immediately accepted him and WWE did as well with Rhodes beating Seth Rollins every time in a series of matches.
The comeback quickly ended though when Rhodes tore his pectoral muscle, putting him on the shelf for many months.
Many Think WWE Wants Cody Rhodes To Earn His Role As The Man Who Topples Roman Reigns:
Going into WrestleMania 39, it seemed a near certainty that Cody Rhodes was going to be the one to finally beat Roman Reigns and end his two-and-a-half year run on top. Instead, Rhodes surprisingly lost. Fans were livid.
This was Cody’s best shot and it made perfect sense for him to win. Having him lose would destroy his upward trajectory and star power. It hasn’t though. The cheers for Rhodes may have even got louder, with the “Woah” fans shout during his entrance reaching intense levels.
Many were upset with Cody losing, but others were in favor of it, including “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who thought it was the right choice at the time. Even Cody’s own brother, Dustin, told Busted Open Radio, “They are making him pay for it now, they are making him earn it and I like that, I do. I like that because once you put the title on him, where are you going?” (h/t Wrestling Observer)
That’s an argument even the biggest Cody fans have begrudgingly accepted. To have Rhodes win the title so quickly, without ever losing, without ever experiencing adversity, may have been too fast. If Cody had beaten Roman it would have been a classic moment, but where do you go in the immediate aftermath?
A Loss To Brock Lesnar Actually Helps Cody Rhodes’ Character:
WWE purposely stacked the odds against Rhodes, making it impossible for him to win. If Rhodes had overcome all of that and beat Lesnar again, it would have risked turning him into a John Cena and babyface era Roman Reigns like Superman. That was destructive for Reigns and would have been for Cody Rhodes as well. Our heroes first need to fail before they can be victorious. It’s how it goes in movies. Even Superman has to get knocked down in the second act before he can win at the end. If Superman just destroys everyone without ever failing, then why should we care about him?
Cody Rhodes losing to Brock Lesnar is just what he needed to keep him a megastar. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin did it best against Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13, but it’s been done so many times before, to have the strong hero injured but refusing to tap out. They technically lose by passing out from the pain, but they remain strong by not giving up.