Over the past few years, WWE allowed a number of wrestlers to slip away who could have been very successful World Champions. Wade Barrett and Ryback were both in WWE Championship matches, and it seemed as if the company was going to let them lead the pack. Even Alex Riley had a promising career before being considered no more than an afterthought. Damien Sandow got as far as winning the Money in the Bank match, which – up until his loss against John Cena – was a guaranteed world championship.
Perhaps the biggest commodity that WWE let slip away was Cody Rhodes. No matter what gimmick was thrown at him, he not only made it interesting but significantly excelled at it. However, he was never crowned a world champion for the company, despite living up to his enormous legacy.
In fact, his wife Brandi wrote in her recent blog the hurdles Cody had to go through while competing in the WWE.
“Last night I watched in the upper balcony as my husband realized his childhood dream and beat the odds by becoming a World Heavyweight Champion. Something that’s been 11 years in the making, it’s been a very hard road to get there. He’s heard every excuse in the book as to why he wasn’t ‘Champion material’ from his build, to the astounding measure of his father’s shadow.”
At first, he was initiated in the WWE fold after being a part of a successful tag team with Hardcore Holly, winning tag team gold. Then, he turned heel and aligned with fellow wrestling pedigreed athlete Ted DiBiase, Jr., and also was a tag team champion. This team led to a bigger alliance of other second- and third-generational athletes, known as Legacy.
When the faction dissolved, it appeared as if Cody was going to be the least popular one due to WWE not focusing too much on developing his character. However, he became “Dashing,” once again making himself relevant.
In perhaps his most successful stint in the WWE, Cody donned a gimmick where he was ashamed to show his face after Rey Mysterio hit him with a 619. He would be sure to make others share his misery, as he covered his opponents with a brown paper bag. This even led one of his biggest wins of his career, defeated Mysterio at WrestleMania 27.
Cody would be handed many other gimmicks, including a makeshift tag team with both Drew McIntyre and Damien Sandow, as well as turning babyface and eventually aligning with his brother, Goldust, to win the WWE Tag Team Championships and be triumphant over the dominating Shield faction.
His final tenure in the WWE saw him as the Stardust character, which was both an homage to his father’s nickname at one point, as well as his older brother’s longtime gimmick. However, this character did not reach a high enough level of success, and Cody strongly felt as if he was being held back.
Now, Cody is the ROH World Champion and has an opportunity at the G1 Special in USA to be the first person to ever hold the ROH and IWGP World Championships simultaneously if he defeats the current champion, Kazuchika Okada.
[Featured Image by WWE]