Cody Rhodes: The Evolution of a Pro Wrestling Renaissance Man
In the world of professional wrestling, few names resonate as strongly as Cody Rhodes. Born Cody Garrett Runnels on June 30, 1985, in Marietta, Georgia, he hails from a legendary wrestling lineage as the son of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes and the half-brother of fellow wrestling icon Dustin Rhodes (formerly known as Goldust). However, Cody Rhodes has managed to carve his own path and build a legacy that goes beyond his famous family name. This content aims to explore the life, career, and accomplishments of Cody Rhodes, shedding light on his journey from a young wrestling prodigy to a top-tier performer, a shrewd businessman, and a visionary force in the industry.
WWE Debut and Legacy:
In 2007, Cody Rhodes made his main roster debut on WWE’s Raw brand alongside Hardcore Holly as his mentor. The duo formed an unlikely team but quickly made an impact, with Cody showing great promise and a natural flair for wrestling. However, it wasn’t until he aligned himself with Ted DiBiase Jr. to form the group “Legacy” that his career truly took off. Managed by Randy Orton, Legacy became a dominant force, showcasing Cody Rhodes’ abilities as a captivating performer and a future star in the making. Throughout his tenure in WWE, Cody Rhodes went through various character changes, each showcasing his versatility and willingness to embrace new challenges. From the dashing and arrogant persona to the masked and enigmatic “Dark Cody” during his time with the faction known as “The Undashing,” Rhodes consistently proved his ability to reinvent himself. One of Cody Rhodes’ most significant achievements during his WWE tenure was capturing the Intercontinental Championship multiple times. His memorable feuds with the likes of Rey Mysterio, Big Show, and Christian further solidified his status as a top-tier performer.
Reinvention on the Independent Circuit:
After leaving WWE, Cody Rhodes began making appearances on the independent circuit, quickly becoming one of the hottest free agents in the industry. Under his newfound moniker, “The American Nightmare,” he competed in various promotions worldwide, including Ring of Honor (ROH), New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), and Impact Wrestling. During this period, Cody Rhodes showcased his exceptional talent and proved that he could thrive outside the WWE bubble. He engaged in classic battles with some of the industry’s top talents, including Kenny Omega, Jay Lethal, and Kurt Angle, among others. Each match further solidified his reputation as a world-class wrestler and a major attraction in the independent scene. However, it wasn’t just Cody Rhodes’ in-ring abilities that caught the attention of fans and fellow wrestlers. He displayed remarkable storytelling skills and a deep understanding of wrestling’s psychology, captivating audiences with emotionally charged feuds and compelling character development.
The Birth of All Elite Wrestling (AEW):
As Cody Rhodes’ popularity continued to soar on the independent circuit, he became an essential figure in the formation of a groundbreaking new promotion – All Elite Wrestling (AEW). In January 2019, AEW was officially announced, with Cody serving as both an executive vice president and an in-ring talent. AEW promised to be a refreshing alternative to mainstream wrestling, promoting a more sports-centric presentation, a focus on wrestling talent, and a fan-first approach. Cody Rhodes, alongside fellow EVPs, The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) and Kenny Omega, played a pivotal role in shaping AEW’s creative direction and business strategy. Under his leadership, AEW quickly established itself as a formidable force in the wrestling landscape. The promotion garnered a passionate fan base, sold out arenas across the world, and consistently delivered high-quality pay-per-view events and weekly television shows.
The Legendary Rivalry:
One of the most memorable moments in Cody Rhodes’ AEW career was his bitter and personal rivalry with MJF (Maxwell Jacob Friedman). The feud began with MJF aligning himself with Cody, seemingly as a friend and ally, only to betray him in a shocking turn of events. This led to a heated and emotional rivalry that spanned several months, culminating in a showdown at AEW’s inaugural pay-per-view event, “Double or Nothing.” The story between Cody Rhodes and MJF showcased wrestling storytelling at its finest, blurring the lines between fiction and reality, and eliciting genuine emotional investment from fans. The feud further solidified Cody’s reputation as a master storyteller and earned him critical acclaim from both fans and wrestling insiders.
Creating a Legacy Beyond Wrestling:
While Cody Rhodes’ success in the wrestling world is undeniable, his impact reaches far beyond the squared circle. He has proven himself as an astute businessman and entrepreneur, with various ventures under his belt. In addition to his role as an EVP of AEW, Cody is involved in numerous projects, including a successful line of clothing and merchandise, collaborations with brands and artists, and his own wrestling school, “The Nightmare Factory.” Moreover, Cody Rhodes is known for his philanthropic efforts, using his platform to support charitable causes and give back to the community. His commitment to creating a positive impact extends beyond the wrestling world and into the lives of those in need.
Cody Rhodes’ journey in professional wrestling is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and the willingness to embrace change. From his early days as a young wrestling prodigy to his emergence as a top-tier performer in WWE and his reinvention as an independent wrestling sensation, Cody has continuously evolved as both an athlete and a storyteller. His decision to leave WWE and help establish All Elite Wrestling showcased his belief in the potential for innovation and growth in the industry. As an executive vice president of AEW, Cody Rhodes has played a significant role in revolutionizing modern wrestling, fostering a sense of community among fans, and providing a platform for aspiring talent.