In the second edition of That’s Not Wrestling, we find ourselves reflecting on another man that has built a following on the back of the Rhodes name. Cody Rhodes is the second and final son of the legendary “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, and took a page from his father’s book by becoming one of the most travelled performers in the world. Unlike his father, however, Cody Rhodes has never been a top level success. The second generation of the Rhodes family to be rejected by the WWE Universe, Cody is attempting to make a name for himself outside WWE with no success.
Professional wrestlers have been known to cross over into the world of acting. Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Undertaker and even Verne Gane are among those who have appeared in films and TV shows. Cody Rhodes, the current NWA World Heavyweight Champion, has been acting on and off since 2003, when he played a paperboy in the film Big Helium Dog. But now he’s back on the big screen in a WWE Studios film called “That’s Not Wrestling #2: The American Idiot”, playing a crazy, green-haired wrestler named “The American Idiot.”
This Is Not Wrestling #2: American Idiot Cody Rhodes
Welcome and thank you for coming! A few years ago, it seemed the planets were aligned for a fantastic change in professional wrestling. Everyone was talking about a shiny new promotion with a TV contract and serious, athletic wrestling. Finally, the life of the modern wrestling fan, who had to eat shit and learn to love the taste, was over. Or is it? We meet here every Thursday to deconstruct the actions of stupid, dangerous and desperate people in the pro….. struggle. At least at AEW.
That’s it! If rich uncle Tony Khan is spending money on access themes, why not give some royalties to Green Day for their hit single American Idiot? The TNT-Tron video possibly shows a close-up of his neck, which is then zoomed in as he tries to hide it with the collar of his suit during a meeting in a boardroom. Before we do that, let’s look at the rest of AEW last week. I have no intention of discussing a segment by segment of Dynamite AEW or PPV. If the quality of the show improves, I might change my mind, but we’re not there yet.
Blood, Guts and Dynamite
The five people who turned in their tickets for Blood and Guts seem happier than those who stayed to see the fight in the cage. While some enjoyed the unabashed mess, others found it distasteful and a setback for the company. I’m somewhere in the middle. I have nothing against the knife, but make sure you do it right, and don’t look at the damn camera when you do it. And Chris Jericho hitting the concrete wasn’t stupid. It was the lack of effort to make it relatively convincing that angered people. It seems AEW hasn’t learned its lesson. There was even more tearing down of AEW Dynamite, this time from Christopher Daniels. You couldn’t tell he was cutting himself, but he put the knife down a foot behind him, and it was clear to see when the camera picked up his purple mask.
But the lesson they learned last night may have saved Cassidy’s health/career. A powerbomb from Puck seems to have woken Cassidy up a bit. The end of the game was spontaneously changed. It was very poorly done (the judge had to be blind, deaf and forgetful to make sense of it). It’s always better than hurting someone or making an injury worse. Speaking of injuries: Tony Hahn reported (May 12) that Ricky Starks was in his match against Adam Page on the 21st. April suffered a slight neck fracture. I wish him a speedy recovery. Finally, AEW tried to take us back in time by repeating something they saw on an episode of WWE Raw from the Attitude Era. Another pathetic recreation of Steve Austin’s Stone Cold beer truck this week.
If you live in the past, you stay stuck in it.
As with Kenny Omega last week, I’m not saying Cody Rhodes is completely useless. I’m not even saying he doesn’t have something in his head. I think he knows exactly what he’s doing, he’s just not very honest about it. He’s also a reckless jerk, to say the least.
When Cody was in the WWE, I was a fan. Stardust isn’t the best gimmick in the world, but it worked for Goldust, and Cody went all in. So much so that I really thought he was enjoying playing this role with his brother. Once Cody distanced himself from the company, he let everyone know that he hated the stunt.
I encouraged him as he traveled and tried out different promotions and exposed his style to people he hadn’t met while working for Vince McMahon. It was a good start to a young man’s career after WWE. But you can’t just do some independent shows, wrestle with Nick Oldis in the summer and pretend you’ve been in the business for over 20 years.
I was suspicious of Cody at AEW after only five minutes. A serious, sports-oriented product was promised. They also assured us that they are here to focus on great wrestling and not to throw stones at the WWE. One of Cody’s first tasks in AEW was to break the throne with a sledgehammer. Demanding.
He knows what he could have built here, and it was thrown away for some quick yuks, cheap pops, and babyface jokes against the stupid WWE. Oh, and let’s not forget the ability to get your spouse on television. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that his AEW audition gets him a steady job on a reality show or something; nothing good so far. She is currently pregnant and not working for television, so I see this as a temporary victory.
Last week I mentioned that AEW is right next to Impact/TNA and immediately looks more professional. Cody knows full well that it will work if he is with most of the AEW roster. Compared to him, he looks like he’s been around for over 20 years.
During the first few months of the adventure, Cody the dog was dragged into the arena and frightened by the fireworks and people’s screams. What did he think was going to happen? Then he made that stupid shot from an unprotected chair. It was stupid, both to his own foggy brain and to the rest of the impressionable, light-hungry human race. Carelessness.
Not only does Cody constantly try to elicit sympathy by bringing up his father Dusty Rhodes, but he also tries to pretend to be a traditionalist to get the audience behind him and show interest. That would be nice, but he goes on to say that the heel-face dynamic is history and starts hitting someone in the eyes and on the back with a belt. This is often done for the additional judges available to AEW. But that’s a story for another day.
I loved that Cody used his father’s nickname and called himself the American Nightmare when he left the WWE. It was painfully obvious that this also served to raise his profile and that he didn’t like the fact that the WWE didn’t allow him to be more himself.
However, last week on Dynamite, Cody announced that he would be using the name American Dream for his upcoming Double or Nothing fight against Anthony Ogogo. I’m sure if people accept that he’s using it out of patriotism this time, he’ll have a chance to keep it. And with the recently acquired freedom to use his middle name, he will finally become the American dream Cody Rhodes.
Just to be clear, he is of course free to use that name as long as there are no copyright issues, etc. I can do without the obfuscation, contradictions and inconsistencies. When he’s not wrestling a 20-30 minute Cody Classic match or screaming his head off in a promo while sniffing his own poop, Cody is climbing the entertainment ladder and appearing on every TV show possible. And please, before you do, don’t get your hopes up. It’s putting oneself forward, not the promotion. They’re both wimps in this family. Can’t he just start a podcast if he needs a platform to talk about himself? He can talk for hours about how he and Brandi are trying to hide their Triple H and Stephanie McMahon costumes.
It’s the fight!
I’ve praised him before, but it’s nice to see that Maxwell Jacob Friedman seems to be back on form. He knows how to keep people off balance, and he’s damn good at it. This week on AEW Dynamite he gave his opinion on the quality of the local ring rats that Tully Blanchard collected for him.
MJF is excellent on the mic and is a reliable worker in the ring. He has studied the game for a long time and knows how to play in most scenarios. He’s one of the few people who can handle people not liking him. He knows it’s important to stay in his role even when he’s not on TV.
He recently spoke in an interview with Yahoo! Sports and said:
When I watch wrestling on AEW Dynamite, I have to wince, I have to throw up in my mouth, because I see these guys and they do a great job. They jump from the highest rope on the ground, somersault, spin, flip-do-dos and commit suicide. Some of these people who are younger than me, and I’m already crazy young, may not be able to walk when they get to my age.
Obviously he’s an asshole, but he’s also right. If he continues to remind blind AEW fans of this legitimate concern by claiming he’s better than them, it will cause more and more controversy. That’s good. AEW fans have bitched again after MJF spoke to SteelChair Magazine:
Me and my boys were ready to go where the money was, simple as that. Don’t get me wrong, AEW is deep in me, I don’t want to leave, but at the end of the day, I am a businessman and I can’t help myself, if anyone has a suggestion for me, I will listen.
That’s the way to do it! Stay in character, big boy. Bring on those tantrums and get in those seats when AEW goes on tour again!
That’s it for this week. Thank you for visiting. See you Monday at #AnotherWeekOfWrestling and next Thursday at #ThatsNotWrestling!
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