Since Cody Rhodes returned to WWE at Wrestlemania 38, the topic of conversation has been “Finishing the story.” For those unfamiliar, Cody’s story is about winning the title that his father, Dusty, never won. Dusty Rhodes had a title match against Superstar Billy Graham in 1977 at Madison Square Garden. The match’s end saw Dusty win over Graham via count-out. The crowd roared with excitement knowing Dusty had finally won the title but an announcement was made that a championship could not change hands by count-out. The win over Graham was the closest Dusty ever got to winning the WWE Championship and now Cody is looking to win that title for his family’s legacy.
Fans have been saying that for Cody to finish his story, he needs to beat Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 40. Cody needs to be in the main event of Wrestlemania 40 and the show needs to go off the air with him holding the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship above his head as the confetti rains down. Sure, that all sounds great, but that is not the story. The story doesn’t have to end at Wrestlemania, it does not have to end with Roman Reigns, and it does not have to happen in Philly. Everyone is concerned with the reintroduction of The Rock, Cody will not be able to face Roman at Wrestlemania 40 for the title. Fans feel that it will be Roman versus The Rock at Wrestlemania for the title.
In the build-up to Wrestlemania 39, Sami Zayn faced Roman Reigns at Elimination Chamber. Before that match took place, Cody told Sami that regardless of who went to Wrestlemania as the champion, he would still face them for the title. If Sami had won the title at Elimination Chamber, Cody would still have gone on to face him for the title at Wrestlemania. If that match had taken place and Cody won, Cody would have finished his story because he would have won the WWE Title. This story has never been about Cody beating Roman. The story has always been about winning the WWE Title because his father never won it.
Roman is the current champion, so Cody’s focus would be on him. If anyone else were to be champion, Cody would shift his focus to them. It is not a matter of “Cody has to beat Roman for the title,” it is “Cody has to beat anyone for the title.” Whether the champion is Jey Uso, Sami Zayn, or even Karrion Kross, Cody’s story “finishes” when he wins the WWE Championship. Even if Cody were to beat Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship, it would not be the ending to his story. It would be a cathartic moment for Cody, I’m sure, but it would not be finishing his story.
Dethroning Roman Reigns for the title is a completely different story. Anyone can dethrone Roman and become a new top star. There is a story within the Bloodline of who is the rightful Tribal Chief. Roman has a claim to being the Tribal Chief because he is the champion and “providing” for the rest of the family. Regardless of who Roman loses the championship to, he will still try to claim he is the Tribal Chief. Once Roman loses the WWE Championship, someone like Solo Sikoa or Jey Uso could challenge Roman to a match to determine the true Tribal Chief. No need for the WWE Championship to be involved, just members of the Anoa’i family battling it out for the spot at the head of the table.
What I Think
I think Cody losing at Wrestlemania 39 was the right call. The thing I would have changed would have been Cody challenging Roman and winning at either Summerslam or in a match at Madison Square Garden. Cody finishing his story at MSG would have been a full-circle moment for finishing the story. With the talks of Roman versus The Rock, that match could take place at the Elimination Chamber event and Roman could still win. This would make Roman an even larger-than-life persona so Cody beating him would increase Cody’s stock. But if The Rock beats Roman for the WWE Championship, Cody would still be able to finish his story against The Rock because it is about the title and not the wrestler. Cody will finish his story by becoming WWE Champion, who he will win it off of is irrelevant.