Why Cody Rhodes lost to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39, especially after literally months of building up goodwill with the WWE Universe, might just go down as the biggest mystery of 2023 within the wrestling world.
Did Paul “Triple H” Levesque and company really believe that the time wasn’t right for Rhodes to win “The Big One?” Did the prospects of Reigns securing a 1,000-day reign with the Universal Championship really mean more than giving “The Grandson of a Plummer” his “Hollywood ending” just a few miles south of the “City of Stars?” Or could it be that, after leaving WWE to start AEW, that Levesque, Vince McMahon, and company wanted to make a bit of a statement, suggesting that their Ace is better than Tony Khan’s ex-EVP and that even if Rhodes eventually becomes a world champion, it wasn’t going to be there, or without suffering some potential brain trauma from Brock Lesnar’s relentless assault on Monday Night RAW?
Fortunately, someone from within the business, Rhodes’ former co-worker Matt Hardy, decided to weigh in on that last idea on his The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, and needless to say, his insight is incredibly interesting.
“Cody, he ends up leaving, he goes out, he creates a company, he creates success. He gets himself over. He’s a big deal and [people are] all behind him. Vince comes in at the end of the day, like, ‘hold up, before you are going to run this ship, I’m going to show you. I’ll make you earn it.’ I mean, that’s a possibility,” Hardy said via Wrestling Inc. “I don’t know if that is the actual factual, true deal [though].”
Welp, there you go, folks; McMahon definitely put his finger on the scale, and Rhodes just signed the prime of his career away to be stuck in yet another promotion where he can’t be the world champion.
… okay, maybe that’s being a bit dramatic; the real takeaway is that Hardy believes that, because Rhodes left for an indie run that resulted in the creation of AEW, Mr. McMahon and company may want to put Rhodes through an MJF-style gauntlet in order to make him “earn” the title, with Lesnar looking like the first “RoadBeast” in his path to the WWE Championship. Maybe not the”Hollywood ending” Rhodes was hoping for, but hey, with the Rocky I ending already on the books, why not shoot for Rocky II?
Matt Hardy explains why he turned on Cody Rhodes’ former tag team partner.
Turning his attention to his own in-ring efforts, Hardy was asked about his decision to turn on Ethan Page on AEW Dynamite – who, fun fact, was in a tag team with Cody Rhodes in A1 Wrestling known as 2-Stars – and let it be known that, after months of getting on “All Ego’s” good side, the time was right for a good ole fashioned wrestling double-cross.
“Let’s get it straight, he was never my best friend,” Hardy said via Fightful. “So once I tried to save Private Party, and I ended up getting involved in their business, my ended up having my contract also under control by The Firm. They made my life living h*ll, and it wasn’t a huge deal to me because I was obviously gonna be defiant, I was going to fight him every step of the way. But then, once he started taking advantage of my kids, of Private Party, of Zay and Quen, it was a whole different level.
“So then I took a step back, and I figured I had to do something to find a way to get out of this. So I figured, he was enough of a Matt Hardy fan… a bit of a Matt Hardy mark, that I could fool him, that I could sway him into thinking we were best friends. I even got a bunch of those stupid shirts like he wears. I would wear them and we would dress similar. I had some from back in the Hardy Boyz days. Stokely, on the other hand, those were the two toughest points. Stokely, I knew I couldn’t ever win him over. So that’s why I came up with this whole plan with HOOK. He wanted to have me wrestle against HOOK. Okay, sure. Then I told Isiah, ‘Dude, I promise, I’ll get us out of this. I got a plan.’ It was the first time I was really nice to Ethan. He was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘You deada**?’ I said, ‘Yes, I am deada**. I have a plan, my man.’”
Fortunately for Hardy, his plan worked; Page ate a face-full of FTW belt before being submitted by Hook with the Red Rum and now has to wrestle “The Cold Hearted Handsome Devil” in an FTW Rules match on Rampage. While Cody Rhodes may not be heading to SmackDown as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, at least he can feel confident that his 2-Stars partner won’t be heading into Easter weekend with a championship either.
After the shocking finish to their title bout on #AEWDynamite, the #FTW Championship Title will be on the line once again TONIGHT on #AEWRampage, when the Champ @730hook will face off with @officialego, this time under #FTW RULES, LIVE at 10pm ET/9pm CT on @tntdrama! pic.twitter.com/n6MxO3PZey
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) April 7, 2023
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