Everyone is talking about ratios these days, as if those truly matter… While everyone is boasting about hitting the WWE’s YouTube clip of Rock, Roman, and Cody with 500,000 dislikes, the video has over 4 million views. Meanwhile, yours truly has won the “ratio war” with my latest column WWE Fans Should be Ashamed for Reaction to Rock vs. Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 40 is winning by a 2 to 1 ratio on X/Twitter and from a NoDQ audience that often hates me for the bold opinions that I post.
What I want to remind everyone was the last time you attempted to hijack WWE shows to “get what you want”. Daniel Bryan appeared to be popular through 2013 and John Cena made a very generous decision to put over Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam 2013 as WWE champion. But what you don’t know is that SummerSlam 2013 and the WWE business afterward was declining after that show. From a few sources that I had at the time and insider sources reporting the same consistent thing, WWE officials were worried about their future in pushing superstars other than John Cena. Specifically at the time, they were worried about Daniel Bryan and CM Punk as their top stars.
Thus during late 2013, the plan was hatched to begin pushing Roman Reigns (personal favorite of Vince McMahon’s at the time), push Randy Orton again, begin negotiations with Batista to bring him back, and push Brock Lesnar harder and let him face bigger named superstars (Undertaker at WM 30, Cena at SummerSlam 2014). That would mean that guys like Daniel Bryan and CM Punk would be depushed slightly from the top and not be as featured any longer.
The plan began with the Randy Orton feud and Orton soon dispatched of Bryan through late 2013, no matter how the “YES!” chants began. Orton was WWE Champion heading into Wrestlemania 30 and that was the plan… Batista signed a WWE contract during late 2013 and he was penciled in to win the Rumble match and headline against Randy Orton. CM Punk was in a feud with the Shield with the ultimate plan of booking Ambrose and Rollins to fail in their singles matches against CM Punk but Roman Reigns would win his match (happened during an January 2014 edition of RAW). For the Rumble, CM Punk would just be a participant in the Rumble match (1st entrant, eliminated by Kane) while Daniel Bryan would lose in a singles match to Bray Wyatt and not be in the Rumble match. After Royal Rumble, Bryan would be forced to join the Wyatt Family.
As many back then can recall, there was nothing but ONLINE outrage from ONLINE wrestling fans, while many in live attendance weren’t exactly thrilled to see Batista back. YES! YES! YES! chants began hijacking WWE events, and those same chants soon appeared at things like College Basketball games (Michigan State had a loud one). This caused the WWE to flinch and quickly rebook Wrestlemania 30 to insert Daniel Bryan into the Main Event for a 3 way against Orton and Batista. But it happened and WM 30 ended with Daniel Bryan becoming WWE Champion.
But what happened after Wrestlemania 30? And what has happened to Daniel Bryan ever since?
See, what you don’t want to happen is that the crowning as World Champion becomes the PEAK of your career.
When the greats win the World Title, they have more growth as a drawing power ahead of them. Obviously Hulkster, John Cena, Rock, Austin, Foley, Macho Man, and now Roman Reigns since 2020… But was Triple H ever bigger than when he won the WWE Title during late 1999? As Jim Ross reported, houseshow attendance dropped during late 1999 and throughout 2000 when Austin was gone and while HHH was champion (RAW viewership drop soon followed after WM 16). Shawn Michaels lived his boyhood dream during Wrestlemania 12, but business dropped hard after he won the title. Ultimate Warrior reached epic levels when he won the WWE Title at Wresltemania 6, only to see business surrounding him decline for the rest of 1990.
WWE has tried many in the World Title slot, but it proved to be their PEAKS of their careers… Recently, Bray Wyatt (may he RIP), the Miz, Jinder Mahal, Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio, and as I just mentioned, Daniel Bryan. Then won the title and immediately it became “NO WHAT?”. Because it was their CHASE that made them a star, and without that CHASE, part of their identity was GONE.
I fear that is the case with Cody Rhodes. This whole chase and “finish the story” stuff is what draws for him, but winning it will eliminate that identity for good. Then what? He’s already wrestled Rollins, Reigns, and Lesnar… I mean, I guess guys like LA Knight, AJ Styles, Drew McIntyre, etc., but those aren’t top tier superstars like the previous guys mentioned whom Cody has already wrestled. His best match-up left would be Randy Orton for the legacy feud and possibly the Rock, if he’s willing to wrestle him.
I wrote about this same worry last year with Cody Rhodes from my 2/9/23 column about a post-Wrestlemania 39 Cody Rhodes as WWE Champion. Back then, I argued he still had “AEW Stench” on him and needed more build-up before becoming WWE Champion. My worry, then, was that if Cody defeated Roman at Wrestlemania 39, his career would have peaked and the follow-up match-ups as WWE Champions against other superstars wouldn’t draw too well. Hence why I actually PRAISED the Brock Lesnar vs. Cody feud created on RAW after WM 39 per my 4/4/23 column. Turns out, I was 100% right because that Brock Lesnar feud made Cody Rhodes appear stronger, especially as Lesnar shook his hand afterward out of respect.
By the way, many of you reading this very column were 100% WRONG on the Brock Lesnar feud…
Just as you’re wrong NOW about the booking of Rock vs. Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 40.
I get it, you’re fully invested in the Cody Rhodes “finish the story” storyline. That’s a CREDIT to WWE Creative and Triple H for hooking you, line and sinker.
But ask yourself this… Why were we so critical of Brock Lesnar receiving so much favorable booking during the 2010s, but we aren’t for Cody?
Past 2 years of Cody Rhodes:
(1) Returns to WWE via Wrestlemania 38 and defeats Seth Rollins cleanly
(2) Wins Royal Rumble 2023 Rumble match
(3) Headlines Wrestlemania 39 with Roman Reigns and had Roman defeated, but got screwed out of the finish via interference. Others have lost CLEANLY to Roman, ask Edge and Bryan about getting stacked up.
(4) Wins Royal Rumble 2024 Rumble match
Good lord, is that not a hell of a push or not? And WWE gave all of these booking dependencies to a guy who FAILED to draw strongly for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) from 2019 through 2022. Idiotic decision to take himself out of AEW Title contention, but his stuff as TNT Champion and other booking was meh. Just wasn’t that impressive.
And I hate to call it out, but he wasn’t exceptional during the early 2010s. Solid worker, won’t dispute that, but not exceptional to be regularly featured with the Main Eventers of that time (CM Punk, Undertaker, John Cena, and Brock Lesnar). There were other younger wrestlers who had more appeal than Cody, most notably the Shield who were called up in late 2012 with Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley now), and Seth Rollins. Yes, the WWE kept him stuck as Stardust, but his star power wasn’t exceeding or getting close to the other main eventers nor was it overwhelming the up and coming stars. I enjoyed Damian Sandow, but when he’s your peer, it’s not time to headline in that main event anytime soon.
And I REALLY hate to say this, but if he was Cody Smith and didn’t have the generational bloodline that is a major part of “finish the story”, as Cody is avenging his real life dad Dusty Rhodes, the impact of this storyline would be much less. Which, again, proves my point that once Cody wins the World Title in WWE, then what? What else is there to accomplish if MOST of the big match-ups have already been burned through and he’s satisfied a Rhodes finally winning a World Title in the WWE?
If ALL OF YOU are going to convince me to join the #WeWantCody movement, then you have to PROVE TO ME what he’d do AFTER he becomes World Champ in the WWE. Sure, he’ll fight Orton… Then what? You’re already telling me that Rock is huffing and puffing, so it’s likely that Cody getting that match-up could disappoint. I don’t really see Cody vs. Bron Breakker drawing major interest as a feud because the main compelling thing about Cody is the CHASE.
I know that many of you are passionate as fans, but what you need to realize is how GOOD the Creative has been to rebuild Cody from a subpar AEW wrestler to an entity worth pushing in the WWE. Seriously, look me in the eyes and tell me that AEW Cody was great. You can’t… It was a hot booking mess over there and Cody needed to leave that environment in order to be repackaged as something else in WWE. FACT!!!!
Which is why I keep telling you BE PATIENT with WWE’s Creative right now. Triple H is doing great things and he’ll find a way to make Cody properly “finish the story”, even if he has to book Madison Square Garden for a future WWE event to make it extra special for Cody. This isn’t your past WWE where short-term booking could bury someone.
Trust me, the WWE is listening to you right now… The Rock and Triple H are listening to you and both guys RESPECTED that Cody was a total professional on the 2/2/24 Smackdown. Therefore, they’ll return the favor later with a BIG ending of your precious story.
Yes, I can understand your anger from 2014 with the YES! movement. Hell, I was writing columns with you because I HATED the idea of seeing Batista vs. Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 30. That would have been a DISASTER without Bryan added. I 100% agree. The 2013-2014 version of WWE Creative needed burned to the ground because it was highly political with Triple H still acting like a competitive pro wrestler and Vince McMahon micro-managing everything.
BUT THIS IS 2024 WWE… Do you really want to BURN IT ALL DOWN because of the rebooking of Wrestlemania 40?
Triple H has bestowed upon you quality pro wrestling and great storylines since he took over during June 2022. Haven’t you enjoyed the Bloodline storyline and how Sami Zayn was added to it? Aren’t you thankful for Triple H restoring LA Knight and getting him out of that damn modeling agency? How about Triple H bringing back Bray Wyatt? Don’t you remember that touching speech he gave for his return? And look at many returned wrestlers, who were CUT by Vince McMahon, getting a second chance. I’m so proud of how successful Chelsea Green has been and she’s among my favorites in the women’s division.
Are you willing to PISS AWAY the good vibrations that Triple H has brought to the product all because the TKO Corporation wants to rush Roman Reigns vs. the Rock now to reduce the bad publicity of Vince McMahon’s lawsuit? That’s the damn truth about this Wrestlemania 40 rebooking… Rock as a Board member and TKO backing him, want this Vince McMahon nonsense to go away and pushing the BIGGEST DRAWING MATCH POSSIBLE for Wrestlemania 40 is a way to generate headlines. Turns out, the Rock and TKO were a little too good at this rebooking as #WeWantCody and now #WeWantRock are both trending heavily.
Job well done, TKO/Rock… You have diverted attention away from Vince McMahon and back onto the WWE product.
Again, are you willing to burn Triple H’s empire down over 1 event rebooking? Are you wanting a Vince McMahon era stooge like Bruce Prichard to gain more Creative power? Quit putting Wrestlemania on a pedestal and TRUST in Triple H to figure something out. It’s not like they’ve buried Cody by having him lose badly to someone. No, he’s still the Rumble winner, he almost had Roman beat last year, and he has a strong win/loss record since returning to the WWE.
You’re OUT OF YOUR MINDS if you want to trash this current version of a Triple H-led WWE Creative because you have believe in this Creative Team’s build of Cody. They have you so fooled that he’s a great superstar thanks to the WM 38 return, Rumble 2023 win, defeating Brock Lesnar, and winning Rumble 2024.
If you keep demanding that Cody “finish his story”, just remember that is like 80% of his identity. Once he wins the title, that identity is gone… Now what? THAT is what you have to consider if you want this chase to end. In my opinion, WWE is doing his character a favor by keeping the chase alive longer.
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