How It Started vs How It Ended: Cody Rhodes

Welcome back to How It Started vs How It Ended! Today’s column is all about former WWE Superstar, and AEW EVP Cody Rhodes! The column will cover the different versions of Cody Rhodes, and highlight his run with the company from beginning to end. With the intro out of the way, here is everything you need to know about Cody Rhodes in the WWE!

Son Of A Son Of A Plumber

Cody Rhodes made his first WWE television appearance on the July 2, 2007 episode of Monday Night Raw. During the appearance, Cody stood by his father, Dusty Rhodes, in a backstage segment where Randy Orton slapped “The Son of a Plumber”. Cody delivered a return slap to Orton the next week, setting up his first televised match in the process. The next week on Raw, Cody made his in-ring debut, and lost the match, via the RKO. Cody’s father faced Orton at the Pay Per View that followed, competing in a Texas Bull Rope match at The Great American Bash. Orton picked up another victory over the Rhodes family, and attacked Dusty after the match. Cody ran out to make the save, which set up another Cody and Orton clash the following night on Raw. Cody suffered yet another RKO, and after the match, Orton kicked Dusty Rhodes in the head. After the kick, the Rhodes rivalry with Orton ended, and Cody moved on to try to establish a name for himself. Cody went after a veteran in the wrestling world, taking on Bob Holly in three straight losses. Though Cody lost the matches, he gained the respect of Holly, and the two began to tag together. Soon after they began teaming, the duo picked up their first big victory, defeating The Highlanders, as well as Paul London and Brian Kendrick, in a triple threat tag team match. The victory earned Rhodes his first pay per view match, and also his first title opportunity. Rhodes and Holly faced the tough duo of Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch for the World Tag Team Championship at Survivor Series, and came way from the match unsuccessful. On the following episode of Raw, things briefly boiled over between Rhodes and Holly, so they faced each other yet again. The veteran Holly outsmarted Rhodes, who lost the match. After the match, Rhodes old foe Randy Orton appeared, and attacked both men. The attack seemingly pulled the duo back together, and they moved on to compete for the tag team titles once again. Cody and Holly defeated Cade and Murdoch at the 15th anniversary of Raw, sealing the deal on Rhodes first World Tag Team Championship reign. Rhodes and Holly successfully defended the titles between December 10th, 2007, all the way until June 29th, 2008. At the Night of Champions event, Holly and Rhodes entered the ring to defend their titles against Ted Dibiase Jr., and a mystery partner. The partner never made it to the ring, so the match became a handicapped match. Rhodes began the match with Dibiase, but the son of the Million Dollar Man told Cody “I want him”, pointing at Holly. Cody tagged in Holly, before attacking him from behind, revealing an alliance between Rhodes and Dibiase Jr. in the process. The new tag team won the World Tag Team Championships, making Cody a two time holder of the titles, without losing them in the first place. The duo held on to the titles, and moved on to the next part of their Legacy.

Building a Legacy

Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase Jr. held on to the World Tag Team Championships for 36 days, until dropping the straps to Batista and John Cena, after Batista pinned Dibiase. The two sons of Hall of Famers regained the titles the next week on Raw, and Cody became a three time World Tag Team Champion. Rhodes and Dibiase also gained the assistance of Manu, who is the son of Wild Samoan Afa. The trio found mild success as a group, which hit a bit of a rough patch during the October 27th Raw. Rhodes and Dibiase dropped the straps to Kofi Kingston and CM Punk, and Cody began to have problems with Randy Orton again. After weeks of Orton berating the group, and even having a match with Dibiase, Orton became the leader of a group now known as The Legacy. The group made their debut in a handicapped match against Batista and Triple H, sparking a feud with the latter, in the midst of the match. The feud lasted through the 2009 Royal Rumble, where Rhodes lasted into the final three, alongside Orton and Triple H. Hunter eliminated Rhodes, and Orton won the match. The feud steam rolled towards April’s Backlash event, where The Legacy defeated Triple H, Shane McMahon, and Batista. Orton became the WWE Champion as a result of the win, and Rhodes, along with Dibiase moved on to face D-Generation-X. The younger members of The Legacy, and the veteran DX traded victories at Backlash and Breaking Point, before moving on to October’s Hell in a Cell event. Triple H hit a signature sledgehammer shot on Rhodes during the match, and left both members of The Legacy lying. The result led to the beginning of the end of The Legacy faction, which faced tough times during Orton’s WWE Championship match at the 2010 Royal Rumble. Cody caused Orton to be disqualified during the match, after a failed attempt at cheating to aid Orton. When the match ended, Randy began to deliver a beatdown to Rhodes, until Dibiase made his way to the ring. Orton attacked both men, and The Legacy lost a member. Rhodes and Dibiase went on to get involved during Orton’s match the next week, and the rivalry between the multi-generational stars moved on to the Elimination Chamber event. During the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match, Rhodes passed a steel pipe through the cage to Dibiase, which Ted used to eliminate Orton from the match, and cost him the title. This all led to a triple threat match on the “grandest stage of them all” Wrestlemania 26. On that night, Orton defeated Rhodes and Dibiase, after Dibiase allowed Randy to punt Cody. Ted tried to sneak up on Orton for the win, but ended up on the receiving end of an RKO. The Legacy faction came to an end on the night, and Cody moved on to focus on himself.

Saving Face

On April 26, 2010, Cody became a member of the Smackdown roster, after being picked up by the brand during the WWE Draft. Cody made his Smackdown debut on the following episode, and picked a win over John Morrison. Nearly two months after being drafted over to the Smackdown brand, Cody began wrestling under a new gimmick, and started being known as “Dashing” Cody Rhodes. Rhodes began giving out tips on how to be as dashing as he is, and became extremely protective of his face, during matches. Along with the change of gimmick, the “dashing” one teamed up with “the chosen one” Drew McIntyre, and both men beat up Matt Hardy. After the attack on Hardy, Rhodes and McIntyre moved on to the 2010 Night of Champions event, and captured the WWE Tag Team Championships, after winning a tag team turmoil match. The duo held on to the belts through the next Pay Per View cycle, and dropped the tag team straps to John Cena and David Otunga at Battleground. The pairing of Rhodes and McIntyre came to an end soon afterwards, and “Dashing” Cody Rhodes moved on with his singles career. The singles run ramped up at the January 21, 2011 Smackdown taping, where Rhodes legitimately had his face broken, during a match against Rey Mysterio. Cody took time off for surgery, and returned to tv wearing a protective face mask, while referring to himself as “undashing”. Rhodes attacked Mysterio on the February 25th Smackdown, and attempted to remove Rey’s mask. Cody and Mysterio battled their way towards Wrestlemania, where both men faced off in a regular singles match. Cody defeated Mysterio via the cross-rhodes, and picked up his first win on “The Grandest Stage of Them All” in the process. The feud continued into the next Pay Per View, where Rhodes and Mysterio faced off in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Rhodes dropped the match, and began to focus his attention on the WWE Universe. “Undashing” Cody handed out paper bags to WWE fans, because he was seemingly offended by their looks. Cody began to draw more heat than a camp fire, and his efforts lead to his first major singles championship run. Rhodes captured the Intercontinental Championship from Ezekiel Jackson, at the August 9th Smackdown taping. Cody held the belt through a change of the title’s appearance, and became the first person to hold the white IC Championship since the 80’s. Rhodes reign as champion lasted for 233 days, losing the title to The Big Show, at 2012’s Wrestlemania event.

Written In The Stars

After a second Intercontinental Championship reign, and time spent as a member of the Rhodes Scholars, alongside Damien Sandow, Cody began tagging with Goldust. After defeating The Shield to win the WWE Tag Team Championships in October 2014, and losing the belts to The New Age Outlaws during the 2015 Royal Rumble event, The Rhodes Brothers started struggling as a team. Cody specifically began to face many difficult defeats in the ring, which lead to his breaking point. Cody decided to step away from the ring, and promised to find his brother “a better partner”. On the June 16th episode of Raw, Cody debuted a new gimmick, and began competing as Stardust. The gold faced brothers began teaming up regularly, and went on to the Night of Champions event. During that show, Goldust and Stardust captured the WWE Tag Team Championships, after Stardust pinned one of The Uso’s. The Dust Brothers held the titles until Survivor Series, where they dropped the straps to The Miz and Mizdow. The loss began the unraveling of the brothers relationship, which went up in smoke during early February 2015. Goldust attempted to have a heart to heart with Stardust, and called him Cody, which sent Stardust into a downward spiral. The next week on Raw, Stardust hit the Cross-Rhodes on Goldust, after they teamed together for a match, officially putting an end to the team. The former teammates went on to face each other at Fastlane, and Goldust picked up the victory. Once the golden rivalry wrapped up, Stardust began to take on more of a comic book character vibe. Stardust kicked off a superhero versus villain like rivalry on an episode of Raw, after slapping Arrow actor Stephen Amell, who sat at ringside. The slap lead to a match at Summerslam, where Stardust teamed with King Barrett, and lost to the team of Amell and Neville. The feud with Amell would spin-off into a rivalry with Neville, and Stardust began teaming with The Ascension, in a group know as The Cosmic Wasteland. The group became a constant problem for Neville, leading to a 6-man tag team match at Night of Champions. The Cosmic Wasteland defeated Neville and his team, and proceeded to go on a losing streak after that. Stardust moved on from the group to start 2016, and mostly struggled to find victories, until getting a third chance at Intercontinental Championship glory. Stardust competed in a 7-man ladder match for the title at Wrestlemania 32, and ultimately lost the match when Zack Ryder claimed the strap. After Wrestlemania, Stardust took on the recently debuting Apollo Crews, and lost four straight matches to the new comer. On the May 20th episode of Superstars, Zack Ryder defeated Stardust once again, in a match that would the last WWE appearance of Cody Rhodes career. On May 22nd, 2016, Rhodes would be granted his release from the company, and move on to where he is today.

How It Started

How It Ended

And there you have it everyone! Cody had a solid run as a member of the WWE Universe, and showed off his diversity throughout the run. My personal favorite version of Cody is Stardust, because the character was just so wacky and over the top. Which version of Cody is your favorite? Let me know in the comments section!

Feel free to join me right here next week, for an all new edition of How It Started vs How It Ended, where I’ll take a look at the WWE career of The Big Show!