After weeks of speculation, it’s been reported that former WWE Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes will make his return to WWE at WrestleMania. Currently, several wrestling journalists have the former AEW star fighting Seth Rollins at the showcase of the immortals and given the current story with the former WWE Universal Champion then it makes sense. Should the rumors be true, then Seth Rollins vs. Cody Rhodes will be a great match. However, WWE missed a great opportunity on capitalizing on Cody’s history, namely Randy Orton. To recall, Randy Orton was in one of the “greatest” factions of all time, Legacy. That group also involved former WWE star Ted Dibiase Jr.
Long story short, Orton was the abusive mentor who beat the crap out of them anytime Legacy screwed up, and the group disbanded in 2010. That ultimately saw a triple threat match with the three members and Orton walked out victorious. Just like the faction itself, the story leading to the WrestleMania 26 match was horrible. But the key thing is that Orton emerged victorious. Plus, Orton wasn’t exactly the best leader on the planet. The company should’ve actually had Rhodes come in reigniting the feud between them because there’s so much personal history that Orton and Rhodes can playoff. Orton is the perfect foil for the returning superstar. The second-generation wrestler has stood in the way of many young careers including the former WWE star, why not have the man formerly known as the legend killer have the tables turned on him. Surprisingly, Orton is doing well in his tag team with Matt Riddle, but the duo is running out of steam at this point. When officials had them drop the belts back in January, that’s when Orton and Riddle should’ve broken up.
Orton is at his best when he’s a sadistic heel. Plus, his character is all about being a loner. Orton could’ve been running rough shot on the young talents starting with his former tag team partner, with the eventual showdown seeing Rhodes saving Riddle or another young star from a beat down. It’s great that Rhodes will likely get another run with a high-caliber opportunity, but his potential return feels cold. That’s because it’s not his story we’re following, it’s Seth Rollins. The whole arc is about whether Rollins will get a WrestleMania match, it doesn’t have anything to do with the return of the former AEW star. Cody will definitely get a huge pop when his music hits and when the crowd sees him coming down to the ring; however, the spotlight should be about him and his journey, not the former WWE Universal Champions. Vince McMahon has to remember that not everyone follows professional wrestling outside of WWE. Not everyone knows that Cody Rhodes made a huge name for himself by joining the Bullet Club or being one of the big reasons that an arena sold over 10,000 seats for the first time in North America in a non-WWE event and helped form All Elite Wrestling. Some people remember Cody Rhodes as the guy with the stupid mustache who was nothing more than a mid-card talent.
It’s important that he comes back to a hot story that allows to keep his momentum going. Seth Rollins’ story is silly and doesn’t have any focus. He’s not building towards a heated match against the former WWE star. He’s just looking to get on the darn WrestleMania card. Never mind the fact Rollins can simply enter the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Or, he could’ve gotten another partner and ask Orton and Riddle for another shot at the belts, like The Street Profits did. Since there’s no focus on Rhodes, then there’s no chance that the crowd gets to truly understand his character. As I previously stated, Rhodes will get universally cheered by the crowd, but then what? The follow-up is always key and he could’ve bouncing off a hot story that allowed the WWE crowd to truly get invested in him. Instead, he might end up getting The Hardy Boyz return pop that fades over time when its clear that the company doesn’t truly have a plan for Cody. It’s not panic time because even if WWE went with the Cody/Randy Orton match then they could’ve still messed that up. However, it surely would’ve made another match feel special and WrestleMania worthy than the lame Seth Rollins story. Surely, the company will get to Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes in the future, but it’s a shame that they let this big opportunity slip through their fingers.