Cody Rhodes must defeat Brock Lesnar at WWE Backlash 2023

Apr 2, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Cody Rhodes during Wrestlemania Night 2 at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Cody Rhodes during Wrestlemania Night 2 at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Cody Rhodes has to pick up a win over Brock Lesnar or his momentum may never recover. 

WWE Backlash 2023 is a few weeks away. Two matches are set for the PLE on Saturday, May 6. Matt Riddle will join Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens as they continue their feud against The Bloodline in a six-man match against Solo Sikoa and his brothers, The Usos. The other match is a singles battle between Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar. With Roman Reigns not listed for the event yet, it seems like Rhodes versus Lesnar would be the main event. With all that has happened in recent weeks, it’s imperative that WWE gives this win to Rhodes.

Is the story of Cody Rhodes’s return to WWE complete? That depends on who is asked. His defeat at WrestleMania 39 left a lot of people shaking their heads in disdain. Rhodes was at his height in popularity, and it would be exceptionally difficult for WWE to recreate that moment. Others would argue that Rhodes’s story is not done and that he must overcome some adversity before the crowning achievement of becoming WWE Undisputed Champion.

Cody Rhodes defeating Brock Lesnar is the best outcome for everyone involved

While that debate rages, WWE is right back in the situation of booking someone in a way that builds them as a credible foil to Reigns. A clean victory over Lesnar would go a long way in keeping Rhodes strong in the eyes of WWE fans. Very few members of the WWE roster have a clean victory over the former UFC Champion. Adding Rhodes to that short list gives him the bump that is needed heading into the summer.

But, as with many things in WWE, there’s little hope for the best outcome. Vince McMahon’s return has many people eyeing what is happening at the top of the card. While Fightful Select reported that the plan for Rhodes and Lesnar was established months in advance, it’s hard to look at this situation as one that doesn’t have McMahon’s fingers all over it. He’s shown a propensity to go back to Lesnar, even when fans roll their eyes in hopes of something new. Rhodes was that “something new” but the shine is already losing its luster after WrestleMania and the initial booking of this feud.

If Lesnar gets the clean victory over Rhodes, then his rise to the top of the company since his return to AEW would be all but finished. Could he eventually win the title anyway? Of course. But would it have the same impact as if he’d picked up the victory at WrestleMania? Absolutely not.

Cody Rhodes’s direction and momentum hinge on the outcome of his match with Brock Lesnar. If he picks up a win, there’s still hope. If he takes a defeat, then the impact of that decision will hit not only the fans and Rhodes but the company’s allure as a destination for other big free agents in the future.

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