Cody Rhodes’ return shows why competition matters in pro wrestling
The past few months have been a rollercoaster for fans of AEW, WWE, and especially Cody Rhodes. The former AEW Executive Vice President went from a Match of the Year contender fight with Sammy Guevara to his WrestleMania 38 debut. For months, the media covered Rhodes’ contract status, much to the chagrin of fans at home. But in the end, Rhodes’ moment at WrestleMania lived up to all expectations.
The arena went dark. Seth Rollins stood in the center of the ring. Everyone knew what was coming, but the moment Rhodes’ voiceover and his iconic theme song, “Kingdom,” started playing – that’s when the moment was real. . Rhodes was heading to the ring to take on one of the best wrestling performers of this generation. The match was delivered and after 20 minutes of action, Rhodes took the victory.
Back in February Fighting selection was the first to report the Rhodes and WWE news. Rampant speculation, to say the least, ran wild like Hulkamania. Fans and members of the media have dismissed the idea that Rhodes, one of the founding members of All Elite Wrestling, would leave that company so early in its development to return to WWE. But that’s exactly what happened, with his contract signing becoming official at the end of March. With WrestleMania imminent, his return was set in stone.
Thanks to AEW, wrestling fans are experiencing moments like these. This promotion laid the groundwork for CM Punk’s return to the company after a seven-year absence. Bryan Danielson embarks on a run that reminds wrestling fans that he’s on the shortlist of the greatest to ever do it. It was also thanks to AEW that Rhodes was able to come back to WWE as a bigger star than he was before he left.
After leaving WWE in 2016, Rhodes’ next steps would take him to Ring of Honor, New Japan, Defiant, AAA and a host of other companies. This was all before the start of All In, which led to the creation of AEW. At no point before AEW was Rhodes considered a main event star, despite winning title after title along the way. Still, the success of All In and his pivotal role in AEW’s success helped Rhodes become a bigger and partially controversial star in pro wrestling. It was a winding road that not only uplifted Rhodes, but everyone he was involved with along the way.
Cody Rhodes’ WWE return is one of the highlights of another stacked WrestleMania weekend. It’s another example of realizing what fans want to see and bask in right now. It’s also a clear case that competition is good for pro wrestling. In the end, everyone wins.