Storytelling has a special place in professional wrestling. It’s one of the reasons why AEW continues to receive praise heading into the company’s third year. The “Hangman” Adam Page story was one of the best seen in wrestling of late, but there’s another that will be looked back upon in favorable fashion and that is what is being seen with Cody Rhodes. When it’s said and done this story could be the best seen yet from All Elite Wrestling.
Rhodes’s similarities to Homelander, the maniacal villain from The Boys, ends with his outfit. While it is easy to make that comparison based on the clothing, his character is more like that of Ozymandias from The Watchmen. Homelander knew everything around him was a façade to gain the adulation of the public. But Ozymandias, much like Rhodes, believes his own hero’s story that he’s concocted in his head, and that is what makes him even more dangerous.
Fans are waiting for the proverbial wrestling “turn” where Rhodes knocks out Arn Anderson or viciously beats one of the Nightmare Family members like Lee Johnson to a bloody pulp. But that would be too simple. Instead, expect Rhodes to wave his power around as EVP in ways that get under the skin of fans.
Perhaps that started on the second night of AEW Holiday Bash where Rhodes cut Sammy Guevara’s run as TNT Champion short, defeating him in an exceptional match. But don’t expect it to end there.
Dan Lambert, Ethan Page, and Scorpio Sky are setting the wheels in motion to start the narrative of favoritism for Rhodes. When AEW first started one of the earliest critiques was around the idea that Rhodes and the other EVPs would get preferential treatment and booking. Rhodes’s current story can be an accentuation of that; for example, cutting the line for a TNT title shot. The fans’ reactions are noticeably clear now, but it’s only going to get more overt going forward.
Wait for the moment when Rhodes declares himself eligible for the AEW World Championship, after promising to never get a shot at the belt. Or what about when Brandi Rhodes gets in on the act? She’s quietly winning matches on AEW Dark and that win streak will add up. Don’t be surprised if the story has them flexing their muscle to give Brandi the same type of “treatment” as her husband. A power couple on a power trip has the potential to be an entertaining story in the long run.
Whether he says it or not, Cody Rhodes is already a “heel” character. It doesn’t matter what tunnel he comes out from or if he doesn’t use under-handed tactics. But the telling of this story could lead to it becoming one of the best seen in the short life of All Elite Wrestling.