When it was announced that Cody Rhodes was leaving AEW, rumors immediately started swirling that he would be returning to WWE. When I heard these rumors, I didn’t think they had any merit to them, especially since Rhodes was one of the founding members of AEW. However, the rumors turned out to be true as Rhodes made his grand return to WWE on Night 1 of WrestleMania 38 against Seth Rollins.
Rhodes and Rollins would go on to have a spectacular match at the “Grandest Stage of Them All” that featured tremendous back-and-forth action. Rhodes wound up picking up the victory after hitting three consecutive Cross Rhodes finishers on “The Visionary”. This match was the best match of the entire WrestleMania weekend by a wide margin in my opinion.
It makes sense that the “American Nightmare” won. He was making his grand return to WWE at the “Showcase of the Immortals” and everybody in attendance at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX, and WWE fans watching at home around the world were ecstatic about the match.
Four weeks later, Rollins and Rhodes had their rematch at WrestleMania Backlash. The two combatants would put on another fantastic match, but like at WrestleMania, Rhodes picked up the victory, although this time around, he won with a surprise roll-up and grabbing Rollins’ tights.
The following night on Monday Night Raw, Cody received a United States Championship match against Theory, but the match resulted in a disqualification after Rollins attacked Rhodes. Cody would respond to Seth’s vicious attack the following week by challenging Seth to a Hell In A Cell (HIAC) match at the HIAC Premium Live Event.
On one hand, it makes sense why this feud is getting a trilogy match inside HIAC. The first two matches were spectacular, so the WWE Universe wants to see these two go at for the third time. On the other hand, it doesn’t make sense why this feud is getting a trilogy match since Cody has defeated Rollins twice on back-to-back PLE’s. Going 2-0 against someone doesn’t usually grant a third match in WWE. Therefore, in my opinion, WWE booked this feud between Cody and Seth wrong.
I think there was a missed opportunity by WWE which would’ve made this feud more intense and exciting. If I were booking this feud between Cody and Seth, the leadup to their match at Night 1 of WrestleMania 38 would remain the same. The match itself at WrestleMania would’ve had all the same insane spots, however, the finish would have been different. I would’ve had Seth hit the Falcon Arrow to get the three count and earn the victory.
Rollins spoiling Rhodes’ return to WWE allows Rollins to become a mega heel. Seth tells Cody that he doesn’t have it any more, and he should go back to that other company. Cody gets irritated bySeth’s comments that he demands a rematch at WrestleMania Backlash, so he can prove he still has it and can be THE guy.
At WrestleMania Backlash, the two would put on another masterpiece of a match. Throughout the match, Cody tries to hit Cross Rhodes, but Seth continues to block it. Towards the end of the match, Seth goes for the frog splash, but he only scores a two count. Even though they are battered and bruised, they proceed to punch each other in the face, hoping the other just collapses. After neither man goes down, Cody busts out a dropkick, staggering Rollins just enough to allow Cody to tease he’s going to hit the pedigree . Instead, Rhodes turns it into the Cross Rhodes finisher. Rhodes goes for the cover, but Rollins kicks out at the last second. Cody immediately goes into the Figure Four submission and forces Seth to tap out.
On the Raw after WrestleMania Backlash, Seth comes out to cut a promo. He proceeds to pretend that he’s upset about losing to Cody at the PLE. After a few minutes, he breaks out his monocle laugh and starts talking about how he ruined Cody’s return at WrestleMania. Then, Cody’s music plays, which makes Seth turn to face the rampway, but Rollins doesn’t realize Cody is behind him holding a kendo stick. Seth turns around, only for Cody to slam the kendo stick down on Rollins’ head.
Cody then proceeds to grab various other objects, so he can inflict as much pain as he can onto Seth. The segment finishes with Cody throwing Seth through the announce table. Rhodes then grabs a microphone and says, “SURPRISE BITCH!”
The following week, the “American Nightmare” comes out to explain his actions, but he only gets to say, “Hey everyone”, before “The Visionary” interrupts him. Rollins comes out laughing, and then he proceeds to say the following to Rhodes, “So you want to stoop to this low of a level huh? I wasn’t expecting that from you, but if that’s the game you want to play, then there’s only one place to do it, HELL IN A CELL!”
Cody proceeds to accept the HIAC match, and it gets made official later on during the episode of Raw. Cody goes on to win the HIAC match, which gives him the 2-1 edge over Rollins and ends the feud.
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