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The Self-Inflicted Nightmare: Why WWE Should Be Kicking Themselves Over Cody

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has been in business for over 50 years. In order for a business to be around for so long they must have had made some very good decisions and taken calculated risks. With those success comes failures. These failures can come in many forms and many shapes. However, the one I’m choosing to discuss is missing out on a major talent. WWE has done that recently and it has changed the landscape of professional wrestling. WWE missed the boat on Cody, and not only did they miss the boat, it capsized into an abyss of mediocrity.
We all know Cody is the son of late pro-wrestling icon Dusty Rhodes and the brother of WWE veteran Dustin Rhodes (better known as Goldust for over 20 years). Since his well-publicized departure from WWE, Cody has taken the independent wrestling scene by storm. Cody has captured the ROH World Championship and competed for the NJPW World Heavyweight Championship. These are mighty accomplishments for someone once buried in the WWE mid-card.  His match against NJPW world heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada could not have come on a bigger stage, as the G1 Special was NJPW’s first event on American soil. Okada himself has delivered two four star matches with Kenny Omega, so many would say that the smart money would have been to have that same match in America. However, NJPW took a risk and gave Cody a shot. Not only did he succeed, he exceeded all expectations,
the match was an instant classic and an easy match of the year candidate. Not only did it make Okada a champion on American soil, it made Cody the star he deserves to be and the star WWE never allowed him to be. In one 30-plus minute match, Cody wshed away 10 plus years of misuse, horrible gimmicks and doubts. He became the star he always knew he would be, we just needed to figure it out. Amazing match after amazing match for both organizations Cody wows and awes. With every breathtaking match he shows WWE what they could have had, if they just took a risk and given Cody the chance he so richly deserved.
Cody just hasn’t been great in the ring, his character development has been a major asset. His villainous American Nightmare gimmick (the opposite of his father’s American Dream gimmick) seems to be custom fitted for him. He berates his opponents, looks for chances to take short cuts, taunts the fans and they love it. Again a risk to do this with Cody but one that has proven well worth taking.
Many will argue NJPW and ROH had no other choice but to take that risk. Another argument is that the only reason Cody is “over” is he was placed with the hottest group in pro wrestling the Bullet Club. Those people would be sorely mistaken.
First of all, WWE should have taken that risk. They were better equipped to do so. If it failed, oh well. NPJW and ROH took a calculated risk. They listened to Rhodes and let him evolve. Now it is paying dividends for both companies. While WWE is delivering in the same old, same old. NJPW and ROH are giving fans something new. And, slowly but surely becoming competition. Cody is at the forefront of that charge. Wouldn’t it be poetic, if the rise of Cody gave WWE its stiffest competition in close to 20 years?
To the second argument, a stable doesn’t make a wrestler. How many times was a random wrestler put in the legendary Four Horsemen, just to try and get him over? Or the New World Order? Or the Corporation? It happened more times that anyone can count and it never worked. The reason being the fans saw right through it. They knew those individuals didn’t belong. Stables do not make the wrestler. Cody didn’t need the Bullet Club. The Bullet Club didn’t need Cody. It just made sense and that is a tribute to Cody making the American Nightmare gimmick believable. His athleticism, mic work, ring psychology and determination made him the perfect for the Bullet Club. All he needed was a chance.
When one looks at the current WWE landscape it is filled with part-time champions, champions just made champs to get ahead in a foreign market, etc. One could write an entire column about the problems facing WWE. But one problem is abundantly clear, they are mired in mediocrity. Cody could have been the vessel of change, if he was just given the chance. Now that ship has sailed into another port. WWE just needs to hope that those ports don’t take them down because of it.

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