Moment of the Mid-Year: Cody Rhodes’ WWE Return

Apr 2, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Cody Rhodes enters the arena during WrestleMania at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Cody Rhodes enters the arena during WrestleMania at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The world of pro-wrestling has seen some incredible moments in 2022. From the top dogs AEW and WWE to every company in between, this has been a great year for wrestling fans to see great moments and some even greater drama at times.

What a wild year it has been for pro-wrestling inside and out of the ring. The first part of the year was full of shocks and surprises. We saw the WrestleMania debut match of Logan Paul and Pat McAfee. CM Punk reached the top of AEW becoming the AEW World Champion and Maxwell Jacob Friedman cut a promo on Tony Khan that blurred the lines between reality and fiction. Sasha Banks and Naomi walked out of the WWE, leaving the women’s tag team titles behind them. Matt Cardona made a legacy for himself by becoming the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion. All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling produced a show together called Forbidden Door.

Not even including the fact that Ring Of Honor might as well have been a part of the Forbidden Door show as well. Another shocking moment of the year saw AEW owner Tony Khan acquire the company in March. That is only a handful of the incredible and controversial moments that have happened in 2022.  There were plenty of more moments to cover that many of you are probably already thinking about. And so far, the second part of the year is already giving it a run for its money. After allegations came out about Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis, Vince McMahon announced his shocking retirement as Chairman and CEO of the WWE.

The WWE is now being run by Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan as Tony Khan runs All Elite Wrestling and Ring of Honor. This year has truly changed the face of professional wrestling. Things are nearly completely different than they were at this point a year ago. With so many blockbuster moments that have changed the face of the business, it is hard to pick what has been the moment of the year thus far. With all of the moments that have been mentioned already, there is one major moment that may stand out as missing from the list and that is because we were saving the best for last.  So without any more wait, what has been the moment of the mid-year?

Cody Rhodes shocks the world

This past April at WrestleMania 38, the wrestling world was turned upside down when “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes made his shocking return to the WWE. Going into WrestleMania, Seth “Freakin” Rollins was fighting and campaigning to have a spot on the card. He was given various opportunities to win his shot at WrestleMania but kept coming up short each time. With WrestleMania less than a week away, Mr. McMahon called Seth Rollins to come to his office. He told Seth that he would have a match at WrestleMania but it would be against a surprise opponent of his own choice.

Now to get to the moment we are about to reach, we have to rewind just a few months. That February it was announced that Cody Rhodes and his wife, Brandi, had failed to come to terms with a new contract and were leaving the company. Immediately after the reports came out, fans began speculating if Cody was actually leaving AEW or if the company was trying to work the fans. Cody was an Executive Vice-President of the company and Brandi was the Chief Brand Officer. They were crucial members of the company and it was nearly unbelievable that they were actually on their way out of the company.

Soon after, rumors started circulating that Cody was on his way back to the WWE. Later, it was reported that Cody had signed a new contract with the WWE. On WWE programming after the rumors came out, fans could be heard chanting for Cody week after week. Once Seth Rollins was announced to be fighting a surprise opponent at WrestleMania, many wrestling fans began to speculate it was going to be Cody Rhodes, among the possible choices rumored, including “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and even recent Hall of Fame inductee The Undertaker. Once we finally reached the WrestleMania match, the lights turned off and for a moment it could have been them.

A moment later, the opening line of Cody Rhodes’ entrance sent the WrestleMania 38 crowd into hysterics. For the first time in six years, Cody Rhodes made his way out onto a WWE stage in front of a WWE crowd. However, this was not just any crowd or show, Cody was given a hero’s welcome back to the company on the “Grandest Stage of Them All.” Cody left the company with many fans feeling like the WWE had treated him as a joke forcing him to dress up and compete as Stardust. He left the company looking to prove himself to be one of the best wrestlers in the world to his peers and himself.

After leaving the WWE, Cody fought in every company that he could think of to prove himself. He became a world champion and a most see superstar in whatever company he joined. He became the heart of AEW in the early days of the company and may have never gotten to where it is today without Cody Rhodes. When his music hit at WrestleMania, Cody Rhodes returned as one of the top stars in the company by simply showing up. The fans gave him a roaring ovation and showed how big of a deal he meant to them by making his merchandise sales skyrocket.

Unfortunately, Cody was put out of action after suffering a torn pectoral muscle. He would likely be walking around with the Money In The Bank briefcase if the injury hadn’t stopped him but he still remains a talking point. He just recently won at the ESPY’s for the WWE’s moment of the year. However, we take it a step forward and say that Cody Rhodes’ return at WrestleMania is the overall wrestling moment of the year at this point. It will be a tough one to top moving forward but who knows what to expect from this crazy year in pro wrestling.

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