Cody Rhodes Wins First Major Title Since WWE Departure

There were no smoke and mirrors in Cody Rhodes' performance on Friday night.

Performing at WrestleCade's Showcase of Champions in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Rhodes, 31, pinned Sonjay Dutt to capture the Global Force Wrestling Nex*Gen championship. The win marked Rhodes' first championship victory since leaving WWE in late-May.

After the match, Rhodes addressed the audience, saying that his father, the late Dusty Rhodes, always told him that the title either makes the man or man makes the title. Rhodes added that his first title defense would come the following night for Prairie Wrestling Alliance, a non-GFW promotion.

Rhodes concluded by thanking the audience and promising to live up to his title as an independent contractor. The following night, as promised, Rhodes defended -- and retained -- the championship against a former student of Tyson Kidd, Michael R. Blais.

GFW, the brainchild of promoter Jeff Jarrett, has been largely out of the wrestling spotlight in recent months. The promotion has run several live events and partnered with promotions such as New Japan Pro Wrestling and WrestlePro to host co-branded events. However, the promotion is yet to breakout as a standalone entity.

Jarrett told the Inquisitr last December that GFW has 16, one-hour GFW television shows ready to be aired. But the promotion is yet to land a major television deal in the United States.

The idea of the promotion is to give talent exposure, and as Jarrett explained last year, it goes back to how he helped several TNA superstars make a name for themselves.

"I remember the early days of TNA giving a kid from North Georgia a hell of an opportunity and AJ Styles went on to where his career is at. We can go on with the early days of TNA; Bobby Roode, and Eric Young, and James Storm. I can keep going on and on but giving guys an opportunity, a stage, and a platform. Basically giving them the ball and hoping they can score the touchdown. That's something that really as a promoter, I've relished the opportunity to get to do that."
This marked the first time the NEX*GEN title changed hands since Dutt defeated P.J. Black on November 25, 2015, at Wrestlecade. Dutt spoke to the Inquisitr shortly after that win to discuss how GFW is appealing to talent.

"I think we're not micromanaging people. At the end of the day, if you're chosen to represent Global Force and you're on a Global Force show, you're on a TV taping or you're on a live event, there's a reason you were chosen for that spot and put in that position," Dutt said. "If you weren't able to hold up your end, you wouldn't be on that show. So why would I micromanage that person? Why would I nitpick that person?"

Rhodes has made it a top priority to wrestle as much as possible, regardless of the promotion. At the end of next month, he will make his debut for Ring of Honor wrestling, where he will face Jay Lethal.

In recent months, he has appeared for Total Nonstop Action, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, EVOLVE, and Big Time Wrestling. With gold around his waist, Rhodes has checked off another accomplishment in his post-WWE in-ring career.

[Featured Image by Michael N. Torado/Getty Images]