Is Cody Rhodes already AEW’s best heel? | Launderer report

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Photo credit: All Elite Wrestling

One of the most fascinating topics in pro wrestling right now is the current reaction to Cody Rhodes, and what sounds like a character change.

The once-spirited babyface receives loud boos every week and fans online continue to dismiss his weekly TV appearances. However, it has been increasingly intriguing to watch him adjust and play in the negative reception.

All Elite Wrestling closed 2021 with a shocking title change as Rhodes defeated Sammy Guevara for the TNT Championship in the Christmas Day episode of Rampage. The victory made the polarizing executive vice president the first three-time champion in the company’s history, much to the dismay of many of its harsh critics.

Guevara will challenge The American Nightmare for a rematch on Saturday at Battle of the Belts. So the Spanish god could quickly get his mantle back, but Rhodes already feels like a much more interesting option. For better or worse, AEW has exploited a consistent reaction that doesn’t translate into starting heat.

Instead, they have a character in the New Champion that fans love to hate. The reasons are a bit complex, but it is undeniably something that has growing potential.

Still, the question remains: is Rhodes a delusional heel who’s played us all or a good, neurotic guy who’s willing to give us someone to taunt like John Cena. It’s also entirely possible that he is neither and we have yet to see his true intentions.

Perception or reality

AEW has always been hyper aware of its fan base and its take on its most popular character. One of the biggest strengths of the company has been its ability to factor in its online presence and create interesting storylines and character moments around it.

Rhodes seems to be doing just that lately, as he expertly offers winks and nods to discerning hardcore fans. It may not work as well for casual viewers, but the second-gen star clearly knows what he’s doing at this point.

After all, wielding a golden shovel in the Atlanta Street Fight against Andrade El Idolo wasn’t exactly a subtle reference to comparisons to Triple H. It’s also why he keeps performing a double hook as an allusion to the finisher. of the WWE Superstar, the Pedigree, only to deliver a Tiger Driver 98 instead. Even more, his ostentatious entrance and his patriotic ring seem to become more and more obnoxious with each passing contest.

Surely, no one is this obtuse, and the 36-year-old is far too obsessive to be so dumb. He even deliberately went out through the heel tunnel after his exchange with Guevara on December 8 and quickly turned around to take the correct path. These are the movements of a man who knows what others think of him.

Specifically, these are the actions of someone who knows that many of his detractors believe he has become what he claimed to hate. The perception is that Rhodes is a cadre who reserve to compete in high profile locations on the map and beat the newcomers. Plus, he’s apparently not the revolutionary he describes himself, as he’s just a hypocrite who co-founded AEW as a place to make himself and his friends the top priority.

On the surface, this review of the EVP may seem valid, but it is not that simple. Rhodes helped make other stars like Darby Allin, Ricky Starks, Eddie Kingston and MJF during his tenure with AEW. However, this shot remains prevalent online due to questionable optics or confusing decisions like her prolonged feud with Malakai Black.

Still, it doesn’t matter whether this is true or not, as perception often trumps reality. Rhodes is smart enough to understand that professional wrestling is at its best when it blurs the line between the two. He’s going to keep giving us glimpses of what we want to be true and wrench it out of us masterfully at the last minute. It’s a classic bait and switch.

The burden of truth

Logically, that would suggest that Rhodes has been a heel for quite some time. Knowing that there are aspects of his character that will make viewers boo him, but doing it anyway is a villain’s trait, isn’t it?

In fact, the three-time TNT champion even worked his matches as the antagonist for weeks, taking absurd penalties to resounding cheers. Re-watch the Street Fight with El Idolo from the December 1 episode of Dynamite. This time, pay attention to how many times The American Nightmare tries to lead the way for his hometown crowd and his opponent rewards them by making him pay for his arrogance.

The Atlanta native even addressed it all in an incredible promo October 28. Addressing the audience, he revealed that he had broken his vow to never fight for the AEW World Championship because it was the easy way out and he would never turn on his heels. The crowd at the Agganis Arena booed in disapproval, but you could say that this very act was a turning point.

A babyface wouldn’t knowingly refuse to give fans what they want, right? To confuse you further, Rhodes proved during this speech that he always knows how to collect both cheers and taunts. He can divide, but he has a great spirit for this business. This promo sounded like the proverbial bifurcation of her character and what seemed like a definitive answer was anything but that.

Honestly, there is only one person who knows his true intentions and that is the newly named face of TNT. Time will tell if he is what it seems or if he has quietly played us like a violin.

Kenny Omega left a void for the next big villain and The American Nightmare has enough heat to do it. There are other credible contenders, such as MJF or Adam Cole, but Rhodes undoubtedly possesses more power than the two and has recently received stronger boos.

The verdict

Perhaps now is the right time for the Prodigal Son to take his rightful place as AEW’s top heel, but it’s hard to say he has done so just yet. The ambiguous nature of his character and his ties to professional wrestling history might make him the most compelling main antagonist society has seen in some time. Yet, this is not even his final form.

It’s going to be an interesting year for Rhodes, but he’s not yet a top villain. We could have a very different conversation at the end of the year, but for now, it’s fun to follow all the breadcrumbs he leaves behind and analyze all of his matches and segments.

The same ambiguity that makes a TV so engaging also makes it difficult to call it a real heel right now. There’s a good argument that he’s not a face either, and he skillfully breaks the lines between the two roles. The American Nightmare is famous Rust Radio Ring (h / t WrestlingSee) that he no longer believes baby faces and heels exist in 2017 during his time with Ring of Honor.

His current character could be what the second generation wrestler sees as the evolution of professional wrestling storytelling. Still, it’s not a traditional heel, at least not yet. So we can’t call him the cream of the crop but his current run with the TNT title could possibly change that.


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