The 2023 edition of the Royal Rumble is one month away. This is the kickoff to what should be an exciting run-up to WrestleMania 39 in California. While early favorites are out for the women’s Rumble match, picking a winner for the men’s division is a bit more difficult. However, looking at where his momentum and trajectory were before a sudden injury, Cody Rhodes should be the man to pick up the big victory on Saturday, January 28.
Rhodes has been out of action since June. The disturbing images of his purple chest from a torn pectoral muscle as he battled Seth Rollins are still burned in the minds of many. Rhodes’s return to WWE a few months prior was one of the biggest stories in 2022, but that injury put a pause on where many thought it would end. As soon as the timetable for his return was predicted, thoughts started that he’d make perfect sense as a “surprise” entrant in the Royal Rumble.
The Royal Rumble is a moment meant to create new stars, elevating them into the main event picture. In recent years, WWE has struggled to maximize this moment, but there are hopes that this will change under Triple H’s leadership. Rhodes isn’t a new name in any way but seeing him standing in the center of the ring as the final man and heading to WrestleMania would be the biggest moment of his career to date.
Of course, that leads to the question of how he can be booked as Roman Reigns’ opponent for WrestleMania. Many are hoping that WWE can make the deal to get Reigns in the ring with The Rock, but there is a need to remove one of those championships from Roman’s shoulders. He’s established himself as the star that fans knew he’d become in this heel role but doing so has hindered the rest of the men’s divisions on both shows. Rhodes as a babyface champion on Monday Night Raw would be an appealing factor to drive people to tune into the product.
Fans have high hopes and expectations for WWE in 2023. With new leadership in place, there’s a call to see something fresh and new from the promotion that has done the same tired booking, year after year. One way to get things kicked off with momentum would be to see Cody Rhodes win the 2023 Royal Rumble and stake his claim to a big spot at WrestleMania.