Posts Tagged ‘Cody Rhodes’

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: WWE 30 Day Challenge Pt. 3

September 1, 2018

WILPW

9 – Favorite Entrance

It might be cheesy and it might sound a little like a cop out but I have to choose the entrance for “Dashing” Cody Rhodes from years ago. Until he was Dashing, Cody had not shown much of the spark he would show later (and currently). He was like a Create A Wrestler in one of WWE’s video games but everything set on “default”. As he evolved, he started to develop more character and sure the character has been done before and since. He was the arrogant pretty boy who went berzerk when somebody so much as brushed up against his face. It eventually led to one of his best gimmicks in the WWE. First, the song “Smoke and Mirrors” was about how he was the real deal and his opponents were nothing but an illusion. The song is catchy as heck but it also kind of annoyed me at the time because it was just infused with his as yet undeserved arrogance. However, the reason why this entrance leaped to mind as my favorite entrance is that it used the screens at the top of the ramp in ways that few other performers have been able to do. He pauses next to one of the lower panels and a mirror appears and his face is projected live to the crowd as he admires himself. The crowd hated him for it (but a lot of us secretly loved it). There have been so many opportunities to use those lower panels to greater effect but they constantly pass it up. I would love to have that explained to me.

Runner-up: It has to be The Undertaker. Granted, this is only probably the runner-up only because I have been exposed to him for so long and the edge has worn off a bit. However, when that gong hits and he walks out slow and methodical, I still get chills. His music has always been a perfect reflection of his character. He also consistently had the best special effects for his entrances because he is a legend. It is hard to pick just which entrance of his is my favorite. I have a special place in my heart for his entrance at the 1998 King of the Ring. (Which, I could not find on YouTube unfortunately but the one above is from the same time period.)

10 – Favorite Entrance Music

Again, as a matter of personal preference, I am going to pick probably an unpopular choice. I pick Dolph Ziggler’s “Here to Show the World” entrance music. I was recently watching a pay per view from eight years ago and Dolph had not settled on his current music. However, eventually, he picked the current song by Downstait (the same band that did the Miz’ theme). The music is so high energy and, whether he is a babyface or a heel, it always fits his particular brand of arrogance. I have been listening to it lately to fire myself up for the gym and tabletop sessions and I have absolutely fallen in love with the lyrics. “If you ever doubted me, you don’t have a clue.” “Go check the scores again, I come out a perfect 10” And then there is the messy breakdown two-thirds in. It may sound ridiculous but I never seem to get tired of this song. It does not hurt that I have often been on the Dolph Ziggler bandwagon as he is a great worker and a great character. Currently, the WWE is adding a record scratch sound to the beginning of it and each time I hear it I cannot decide if I love it or hate it but it definitely is getting a reaction from me.

Runner-up: I have to go with Shawn Michaels theme “Sexy Boy”. This was a song that at one point I listened to on loop but with headphones on. I did not want anybody at school or my family to know how much I liked a song called “Sexy Boy”. However, now that I have grown and evolved a bit, I will freely admit that I still love this song. While the lyrics are not all that clever, they tell the exact story that the Heartbreak Kid always wanted to tell since he first became a singles star. It was absolutely an excellent choice to have Shawn himself sing the song. It is definitely touched off by an awesome beat and dynamite cheesy guitar riffs (and screaming girl sounds). Unfortunately, it was things like these that drove the homophobic crowds of 1996 – 1998 crazy.

11 – Favorite Match of All Time

Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H vs. Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Booker T vs. Kane
Ellimination Chamber match at Survivor Series 2002.

I am a big fan of elimination-style matches mostly because it allows performers to get plenty of finishers in without ending the match right away. The tension of a match is seeing the drama and the damage unfold while waiting to see what the finish is going to be. In the Elimination Chamber match, there are five finishes so it’s a bit like Christmas for me. For those that do not know, the rules of the match are this: Two people start in the ring, surrounded by a metal cage. Built into that cage are four pods into which four other competitors go in. Periodically, those pods are opened and a new person enters the match. If somebody gets pinned or submits, they are eliminated from the match. This keeps going until there is only one person left. Anyway, this match blew my mind when it happened. The match just flows so well. The match has both Shawn Michaels and Triple H who had such great chemistry whether they were teaming up or fighting each other. Jericho always made anybody look good. Kane may have never been the greatest wrestler but he definitely always knew how to tell a story. This is probably my favorite Booker T match of all time. Finally, Rob Van Dam provides the crazy, extreme moments which are just great seasoning on an already great meal. There are so many false finishes and fun story elements that I was on the edge of my seat until the end.

Runner-up:

Mankind vs. the Rock
Raw – January 4, 1999

I have posted about this match before as it was filmed on my birthday the year before and it is a very famous match. As I have written about on multiple occasions, I am a big Mick Foley fan. At this point in his career, the character of Mankind had kind of morphed into a tough but lovable muppet. Meanwhile, the Rock was at the height of his powers as an arrogant but entertaining heel. The story of the match was that The Rock and the McMahon family had screwed Mankind out of winning his first heavyweight title. So Mankind forced The Rock into an impromptu title match in the main event of Monday Night Raw. The match was no technical masterpiece but it was definitely enjoyable to watch. First, the chemistry between Foley and The Rock was always hard to beat. Second, at ringside was D-Generation X 2.0 and The Corporation, two of the most fun factions of that time period. Also, there’s probably the biggest cheer that Steve Austin ever got in his career. It has a feel of something that should not have happened but it does and it felt so good.

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Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Real Wrestlers 2

May 28, 2016

WILPW

So I have been thinking about doing this post for a while but it takes a little more research than most editions of What I Love About Pro-Wrestling. I love the storylines of sports entertainment but sometimes the stories behind the scenes can be just as entertaining. We live in a new world where we can see farther behind the curtain than we ever could before while carefully maintaining suspension of disbelief. I am not comfortable with the term “Amateur Wrestling” because it implies that what they do is lesser than Professional Wrestling. While professional wrestling is incredibly impressive athletically, it is scripted and improvised with full cooperation between “opponents”. I do not use the term “amateur” and instead, I call them “real wrestlers”. So here’s another list of sports entertainers who were real wrestlers before their careers took off. The premise here is that real wrestling helps to make you a better athlete and therefore a better performer. It is one part of a three-part equation.

 


Xavier Woods

I have known of Xavier Woods as a performer for quite a long time. I first noticed him when he showed up in the Total Nonstop Action promotion as a young and eager performer. He wrestled under the name Consequences Creed, originally so he could pair with Ron “The Truth” Killings for a tag team with an obvious name. He later teamed with Jay Lethal and wrestled on his own as a high flier with an Apollo Creed kind of gimmick. The next I saw him, he had shown up in NXT under the name Xavier Woods. He still had that high energy and great work ethic but he had embraced his geeky side. He yelled “It’s Morphin Time!” on his way to the ring and had “Over 9000” written on his tights. Now he’s one-third of the mega-popular tag team The New Day and helps to come up with the geekiest ideas in sports entertainment today. However, back in the day, he was a real wrestler at Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia. He was reportedly the best at his school and actually had a high school feud with the next guy on the list. Obviously, the conditioning and technical know-how have stayed with him into his career and helped him to the top.

 


Cody Rhodes

I have spoken of Cody Rhodes before in this blog but it has been a while. Cody is the son of a son of a plumber as his father is the legendary Dusty Rhodes and he is also the brother of Goldust. Cody recently transformed his on-screen persona into Stardust, a creepy and insane version of himself that mixed his father’s legacy, his brother’s persona and a lot of additional creativity. He is one of the strongest workers in the business as he has done nothing but improve his skills over the years. Just this week, Cody decided to end his employment with the WWE and become probably the hottest free agent in the business in a long time. Whatever he decides to do, he will be excellent at it. I am sure of this because he has a strong work ethic and undying loyalty to whatever he is doing. Part of that comes from his history in real wrestling back in high school. He got up before dawn and started working out in order to be the best his high school had at the time. He has glowing words for the sport of Greco-roman wrestling and was appropriately a local hero of Marietta, Georgia. He also credits the sport with reuniting his family after a period of estrangement between his dad and his brother.

 


James Storm

I first saw James Storm in the mid-2000s through the Total Nonstop Action (TNA) promotion which was still kind of in its infancy. He was part of the tag team America’s Most Wanted for a long while and was a mainstay on the roster. Storm gained even more popularity during a singles career and also in the awesome tag team Beer Money. He was a little bit of a high flyer but, as his career progressed, his became more of a brawler and more of a technician. He projected an aura of toughness that was both blue collar and roughneck. However, every move felt like it was perfectly timed and executed with a high level of skill. He had a lot of legendary (but poorly attended) matches that were long and brutal. We can owe a lot of this skill and conditioning with the same attitude that put him on his high school wrestling team. Those lessons stick with you for the rest of your life, especially if you are an athlete. Unfortunately, Storm decided to remain a star in the constantly ship called TNA rather than make the jump to the WWE. It’s a shame but he’ll continue to be a star wherever he is.


Alberto Del Rio

I never followed the early career of Alberto Del Rio who got his start in Asistencia Asesoría y Administración but it is hard to see Mexican promotion’s matches in this country. He is the son of Dos Caras and the nephew of Mil Mascaras. While I have heard a lot of criticism of Mil Mascaras, I do know that all three men are part of one of the most famous sports entertainment families in the world. Del Rio comes from the world of Lucha which is a pretty different style from traditional United States styles. Eventually, he made the move from Mexico to the United States when he debuted in the WWE where he has had a lot of success as both a heel and a face. Arguably, he’s a better heel than he is a face but it cannot be argued that he is a great technician in the ring. He took a break from the WWE and headed south once again and eventually found himself in Lucha Underground as Alberto Patron. From what I’ve read, he decided to take up real wrestling for a challenge as a kid and to prove that he could hang in that world. He was part of the Mexican national team and would have gone to the Olympics but Mexico could not afford to send him that year. Still, that training is clear in a lot of his movements, especially his vaunted cross arm breaker hold.

 


Matanza Cueto

The man who plays Matanza Cueto (Jeffrey Cobb) on Lucha Underground is a monster of a man. He is not extremely tall but he is thick, muscular and explosively fast. I honestly do not know much about his career but I do know that it has not been a long one so far. He has really just started under the Matanza Cueto gimmick but he has made an immediate impact, taking their big championship by defeating several men in one match. He has also shelved or matched some of the best competitors in the company in a very believable fashion. He is extremely athletic and did I mention that he is deceptively fast for a big guy? His reflexes, strength and size do a lot to let him portray a monster who used to be a man. Cobb is actually the first person I have heard who is listed as Guamanian which means he is from the tiny nation of Guam. It was in Guam that he began his career as a real wrestler where he learned the skills needed to become an International competitor. He competed in international tournaments and eventually went to the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Unfortunately, he finished nineteenth out of twenty-two wrestlers but just to compete on a stage that huge shows that he was skilled as Hell. I look forward to seeing just what this guy can do with those skills and all of the new skills he is probably learning.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling Episode: Cody Rhodes

February 13, 2015

WILPW

Being a young talent in the world of sports entertainment can be really difficult.  Pro-wrestling promoters are always hesitant to rely on young talent over established stars.  More often than not those same established stars are afraid to give an inch to these new guys in fear of losing their spot and their paycheck  Also, we fans are usually critical of new talent, almost immediately judging whether they have a future or not based on first impressions.  All of this can easily crush the dreams of a new performer before he or she can establish a proper fan base.  On a larger scale, this can lead to the product growing stale and revenue dropping off for everyone involved.

Now, being crushed by the system isn’t always the fate of the new guy.  In an earlier episode I talked about CM Punk who defied the odds and the backstage politics and became a white hot superstar.  Today, I’d like to talk about somebody different who defied the odds and became a future hall-of-famer (yeah I’m calling it).  Cody Rhodes showed up in July 2007 and,  although he was athletic and well-trained, he was less than impressive.  He was the son of Dusty Rhodes and the brother of Goldust but that didn’t win him any points.  If he wasn’t going to wow us then he could be the lovechild of Ric Flair and Jake Roberts for all I cared. Instead, when he first showed up he looked and acted like a default Create-A-Wrestler in a video game.  No charisma, pretty boy appearance and very athletic without an interesting list of moves.

Of course, Cody Rhodes was a Real Wrestler and he had the ability to adapt and change, he just had to work on his charisma problem.  That would apparently have to wait as his character decided that he would rather be successful than loved.  He turned on the fans who, like me, probably didn’t feel all that betrayed.  He teamed with a fellow second generation up and comer, Ted Dibiase and they started to run roughshod over opponents.  People started to care about Cody Rhodes but they hated him for what he was.  He was the son of a legend and he was in front of a camera, expecting everyone to love him with no accomplishments under his belt.  People started to hate him because people hate entitlement.

So they gathered up all of the second generation stars and formed a team known as the Legacy.  But what’s better than being an entitled asshole?  Being an entitled asshole who betrays his friends.  Teaming up with Randy Orton was a shot in the arm for Cody’s career.  He was part of a faction now and under the leadership of a ruthless man and it started to rub off on Cody.  He started to develop more of a personal style and added to his move set which included taking at least one move from his mentor or partner.  Orton, Rhodes and DiBiase were dominant for two years where all three of them were able to hone their craft more.  Randy became a little less boring, Cody became more interesting and Ted was OK.  Finally, it came time for Cody to leave the nest.

They decided to make Cody into a singles wrestler and take him in a somewhat new direction.  He became “Dashing” Cody Rhodes and he finally got to talk more.  Really, a wrestler who can’t talk is mostly doomed to lingering just short of the top of heap.  Thankfully, Cody could talk and Cody could piss people off and create rivalries between himself and his opponent.  He loved the way he looked and was not afraid to tell the world that he was better looking than anybody else.  So we now had a pretty boy who was arrogant, entitled and backstabbing.  I do believe that’s considered a hat trick.  He started to evolve even more and grow in the new space he was allowed.

By a stroke of luck, Cody had an unlucky incident.  He got his nose broken legitimately by Rey Mysterio Jr.  and had to take a little time off to get it fixed.  He returned with a darker character, devastated and psychologically twisted by the loss of his good looks.  He looked just the same as ever but the character believed he was hideous now.  He became a dark figure who wanted to scar the world and grind it under his boot.  He became “Un-Dashing”.  In the process, he became an even better performer.

Eventually they teamed such an annoying pretty boy with the self-proclaimed smartest guy in the company, Damien Sandow. Team Rhodes Scholars was great for Cody and Sandow.  It allowed both of them to work more on their mic skills and develop their characters a little more.  They also seemed to learn a lot from each other’s in ring styles.

After a while, the two big egos eventually feuded with Cody finally becoming a good guy again after all this time.  His bright lights shined until he hit a brick wall named Randy Orton and the Authority.  At which point, his character was fired.  He returned alongside his brother Goldust and the two worked together even though they had not encountered each other much in their careers.  They worked together well and Cody was able to reconnect with his family and become a bit of a fan favorite.

Eventually the two brothers ran into some trouble and it looked like we were finally going to see the two sons of Dusty Rhodes go at it one on one.  Alas it was not to be but what we got was even weirder.  Cody reforged himself as a counterpart to the Goldust character.  He was now known as Stardust and he became manic and just as unconventional as his brother.  The two of them continue to fight side by side to this day.  Every so often they tease the feud that I would enjoy so much.

So that’s a little retrospective on Cody Rhodes career.  It can only go up from here and I predict that, unless something goes wrong, he’ll be in the Hall of Fame.  He might even win the Heavyweight Championship.  Only time and the stars will tell….

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: I Love it in Spite of Myself

June 19, 2014

WILPW

Stuff I Loved In Spite of Myself

No company in the history of man has ever done everything right all the time.   Sports entertainment companies are no different and I’ll definitely be posting on the truly terrible mistakes in a future episode.  Sometimes though, a company comes up with an idea so weird that I can only shake my head and go “Alright, let’s see where this goes.”  Sometimes I’m disappointed and sometimes I’m rewarded for my patience but these moments never fail to entertain.

Doink the Clown

Yes. You read that right.  Doink is a wrestling clown.  Doink was originally portrayed by Matt Osborne in 1992 but was also played by eight other men.  When Doink debuted I was definitely intrigued and I have continued to be interested in the following 22 years that “he” has appeared.  Even though one of Doink’s strength’s are his facial expressions, his make up allowed for pretty much anybody to play him.   I preferred Osborne’s Doink who was a villainous clown when he first showed up.  He was dressed so festive but looked so unhappy and would often play cruel pranks on babyfaces (good guys).  Later he even briefly added a “twin” and did the mirror gag that Lucille Ball and the Marx Brothers made famous.  He lost some of his shine when he became a good guy, largely due to Osborne getting fired.

The Spirit Squad

So in 2006, five young wrestlers were brought up from Ohio Valley Wrestling which at the time acted as the WWE’s developmental promotion.  All five guys were pretty much novices in the business but thrown together, they could possibly cover each other’s weaknesses.  What gimmick were they given?  They were a male cheerleader squad.  You would think they would give this gimmick to a group of female wrestlers but no.  I rolled my eyes but they kind of grew on me.  They were committed to their gimmick and they were all pretty athletic.  For some reason, the evil Vince McMahon decided to use them to enforce his despotic ways.   He would pit all five of them against one of his enemies.  The five to one advantage would pretty much always win out until they faced the reformed DX.  After that, it was fun to watch them get their asses kicked.  The only one left with the company is Nicky who became Dolph Ziggler.

Santina Marella

I realize that this choice might be controversial.  Now, I have been a fan of Santino Marella for some time ever since he changed from a generic hero to the people to a comical immigrant character that reminds me of Chico Marx.  He is definitely a performer who quickly embraced his role as the company’s comic relief.  He kind of went off the deep end when he decided he wanted to compete against women a la Andy Kauffman.  When that didn’t work, he cross-dressed and spoke in a comically high-pitched voice and claimed to be his twin sister Santina.  The wrestling was admittedly not very good but the backstage comedy bits could be priceless.  He wore revealing dresses and did not bother to cover up his distinctive tattoos or shave body hair.  You never saw Santino and Santina in the same place at the same time although he did pretape an interview with himself.  It was all ended by Donald Trump of all people and everybody shrugged and carried on.

Damien Sandow: Master of Magnetism

Damien Sandow has been a bright spot ever since I became aware of him.  He is a pretty good physical performer but his skills on the mic are great.  I consider myself to be pretty smart and well read.  Sandow’s character takes that several steps farther and names himself the intellectual savior of the masses (his actual words) and combines that with a brutal offensive style.  When Hugh Jackman showed up on WWE programming the first time I was wary but he pulled it off nicely.  Prior to his recent appearance I heard that he was a really big fan of the product so when he appeared again, I looked forward to it.  Damien Sandow stepped out in a certain costume that looked handmade and pathetic while being simultaneously pretty accurate.  I urge you to watch the above video.  It ended up being just perfect.

Brodus Clay: Funkasaurus

Brodus Clay originally debuted as a monster.  He was a wall of a man who stood in the way when Edge was facing the villainous Alberto Del Rio.  He brutalized Edge’s “brother” Christian over and over just by being difficult to knock down.  He went away for a while after that feud was over and when he came back things were really, really different.  Suddenly he had back up dancers and lights and catchy, poppy music.   It was a huge change and I was very confused especially since Clay could never actually dance well.  He was supposed to be chock full of funk but could only do the T-Rex arms bit from Thriller, the electric slide and the Gangnam Style dance.  He later added other lame moves.  Still, he kind of grew on me.  It didn’t hurt that he continued to tear his opponents apart.

The StarDust Debut

There is not much to say on this one yet as the character just debuted on Monday.  Cody Rhodes might just warrant a whole episode of his own in the future.  Cody is the real life  younger brother of Dustin Runnels aka Goldust.  In order to continue their tag team, Cody has now adopted his brother’s bizarre gimmick.  Time will tell on this one but I’m willing to ride it out.


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