Imagine a world where Cody Rhodes returned to the WWE. Here are four things that would have to happen before he’d end up back in the company.
Contract news is a major talking point in wrestling media. Fans want to know whose contract is up and where they may sign next. Cody Rhodes’s contract status with AEW was the featured topic of a news report via Fightful Select on Monday. While fans took to their Twitter accounts to speculate, some jokingly pitched the idea of a return to the WWE. In a world where anything can happen, seeing Cody Rhodes back in the WWE would shock anyone in the industry. Would pandemonium ensure? Probably not, but let’s have fun with the idea. With that in mind, here are four things that must happen before Cody Rhodes would ever return to the WWE.
Stephanie McMahon wins the Women’s Royal Rumble
It’s Royal Rumble season to kick off the important “Road to WrestleMania.” This is a time of the year where WWE has the opportunity to build new stars while creating big moments for their annual event. Bianca Belair is the latest name who picked up a big win at the Rumble and has gone on to have career-defining moments since. But WWE doesn’t always go that route when its time to select who wins the over-the-top-rope showcase.
Imagine a situation where Stephanie McMahon followed in the steps of her father, Vince to pick up a victory in the Royal Rumble. Rewind the clock back to 1999 where multiple shenanigans led to Vince having his hands raised in victory. Think of the shock that hit viewers today if Stephanie’s music hit and she entered the Rumble. The former World Women’s Champion would certainly be the biggest surprise of any rumble in recent memory, and her picking up a win in the event would certainly leave the industry speechless, for better or for worse.
Baron Corbin pins Kazuchika Okada clean
Is the Forbidden Door to WWE open? Not likely, but Mickie James’s inclusion in the Royal Rumble has people talking about what could happen in the future. WWE booking will dash those hopes against rocks out of spite but imagine if they did something much worse. Something like Baron Corbin pinning Kazuchika Okada clean in the middle of the ring.
Okada has long been recognized as one of the greatest wrestlers in the world. He’s a six-time IWGP Champion and easily the top name in that company. There were rumors that WWE and NJPW were in talks to work together, as they have done so in the past, but nothing came to fruition on television. But what if it did? And how shocking of a moment would it be that the first-person WWE would book against Okada would be none other than Baron Corbin? How does it play out? Well, in the land of WWE the only answer is for Corbin to get a clean pin over Okada. Fans would rightly be shocked, but again this would be less shocking than seeing Cody’s return to a WWE ring.
Randy Orton RKOs himself
Randy Orton is “The Legend Killer.” That moniker will follow him for the rest of his career and will come up during his Hall of Fame speech. While in his feud with Drew McIntyre during the ThunderDome era of WWE, Orton even did his best Sam Fisher impersonation when he attacked a room full of legends while wearing night-vision goggles. Yes, Orton is the legend killer until the end.
But isn’t he a legend himself? Orton is a 10-time WWE Champion, which is enough to end the conversation without even bringing up the other titles he’s earned along the way. What’s going to happen when “The Legend Killer” realizes that he is, in fact a legend himself? Would the resulting existential crisis result in Orton trying to RKO himself? Who knows, but it’s yet another moment that would happen before Rhodes’s big return to the WWE.
Rey Mysterio has a run unmasked in WWE
Rey Mysterio’s name popped up on social media over the weekend as well. The cover for WWE 2K22 was with Mysterio as the talent featured on the cover. This led to some interesting commentary about Mysterio’s career. Playing off that, another sign of the “Wrestling Apocalypse,” that would be Cody’s return to the WWE is that Rey Mysterio would unmask in the WWE.
It’s not hard to find old WCW footage of Mysterio during his unmasked run in that company. Back in 1999 he lost a tag match with Konnan against Kevin Nash and Scott Hall where he was forced to unmask. He would go on to join other WCW stables like the No Limit Soldiers and Filthy Animals without his iconic mask. It returned when WCW shut down and before his eventual move to WWE in 2002.
Mysterio is billed as a “superhero” of sorts for children and is a key component in WWE attracting viewers within the Latino demographic. Part of that is his storied career as a masked luchador, and WWE hasn’t shown any on-air desire to remove it. However, in a shocking move that would signify the end of all things wrestling as we know it, WWE removing Mysterio’s mask at this point in his career would be one of the obvious signs that something shocking such as Cody’s return is not off the table.
Cody Rhodes is central to all things AEW, and one of the masterminds behind its development from day one. Could he leave AEW, of course, weirder things happened across all of entertainment. But these four ideas would be signs of the “Wrestling Apocalypse” that is capped off by Cody Rhode’s triumphant return to the WWE.