It’s not Cody Rhodes’ fault.
The son of the son of a plumber is going through some hard times of his own. His “Stardust” gimmick hasn’t done anything but remind us all that it belongs in a 1980s WWF circus. It is hard enough for the son of one of the most iconic wrestlers of all time, Dusty Rhodes, is being wasted in a mid-card screaming for an identity, but cannot get the process correct?
Rhodes, like Dolph Ziggler, like Curtis Axel, like I could go on and on. But this one is different. As the second generation superstar will attest, living in the shadows isn’t the easiest way to live. It seems as though Cody is living in polka dots in a bad 80s movie. Yes, we have seen that before.
It’s hard for any second or third generation wrestler to come through and exceed their father’s success. While there have been a handful of great ones – The Rock, Barry Windham, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton and Curt Hennig – there are just as many who have slipped and fallen along the way. Names like Brian Christopher, Kendall Windham, David Flair and Tamina Snuka to name a few. If this were the NWA and both Cody and Dustin Rhodes were babyfaces, who knows how bright their stars would have shinned. But this isn’t old school professional wrestling and although Dustin got his start in WCW, he did not succeed at becoming the “stud” his father was.
Cody has had decent success in a short time frame, but he will never live up to the “American Dream” standard.
A Triple Crown Champion in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), WWE’s developmental territory at the time, he was elevated to the main roster, where he has been a two-time Intercontinental Champion. A prolific tag team wrestler, Rhodes has won six tag team championships (three World Tag Team Championships and three WWE Tag Team Championships) with four separate tag team partners. Along with Goldust, he also won the 2013 Tag Team of the Year Slammy Award.
That’s where the success stops. His run with Damien Sandow led to a feud that was abruptly ended after it had a solid run and was booked properly. If anything, being Dusty Rhodes’ son hurt Cody and damaged Dustin, as it has been chronicled before.
For the record, the Goldust character is one of the top five gimmicks of all time.
Rhodes isn’t alone, Curtis Axel could be a solid mid-card wrestler, knocking on the door of the main event. But the plan to use him as part of the Social Outcasts proves he is nothing more than a jobber. The same thing is true of Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt’s brother and son of Mike Rotunda and grandsons of Blackjack Mulligan.
Now that it would appear Rhodes time as the “Stardust” character is coming to an end (we can only hope), what happens now for future in WWE? The only solution may be a true feud with Goldust, which would act as the final chapter of their history. While the two have never crossed paths, it could be possible that Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt must face each other or come together as a “family” for Dallas to get over.
Being a success in this company – or the wrestling business today – is tough enough without living up to a family legacy. Rhodes is too talented to fall through WWE’s huge cracks. The same can be said for Hennig and potentially Dallas. Take it a step further and Paige, who is a second generation superstar in her own right, is slipping into the abyss most performers have a hard time coming back from.
If Rhodes can land on solid ground, find a new gimmick and rebrand himself as a babyface, he could be another singles star again. Until he gets out from being the face paint and hokey persona, we will all wonder when and if he will re-emerge as a force in this company.