Was WWE Wrong To Let Cody Rhodes Lose at WrestleMania 39?
At WrestleMania 39, wrestling fans were left with a bitter taste in their mouths when Roman Reigns scored the dirty victory over Cody Rhodes in the final main-event of the weekend. Despite all expectations that ‘The American Nightmare’ would dethrone ‘Tribal Chief’, Roman walked away with both championships draped over his shoulders and The Bloodline remains on top.
WWE has come under a barrage of criticism following this result, with many disappointed by their constant desire to place Reigns over every potential challenger and missing out on another big crowning moment for the top babyface. WWE have had this same ending to many Roman’s feuds: Sami Zayn, Daniel Bryan, John Cena and now Cody Rhodes–everybody falls prey to The Spear without fail or hesitation.
The match was structured like any other underdog versus monster match, with much interference and plenty of ref bumps to keep the drama high. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn even temporarily stopped Roman from finishing off his finishers, leading many to believe the end was near for Roman’s reign. Cody hit two out of three finishers before being spiked by Solo Sikoa – prompting a collective gasp from around the globe in disbelief.
On RAW the following night, Cody Rhodes emerged visibly frustrated and fired-up – just like the WWE Universe. But at the end of the night, he was left battered and defeated by Brock Lesnar, seemingly ruling out any chance for a rematch any time soon. Roman continues his turbulent reign without any viable challenger to challenge him and continues to face mounting odds.
So the question still remains: Was WWE correct in booking this deal? In my humble opinion, yes.
Although I do not agree with Vince’s decisions on RAW, the constant rewrites and main-event swerve were awful – this does not guarantee a better experience had Cody Rhodes been champion.
Roman Reigns’ debut segment as a villain was perfectly staged and echoed his post-Mania promo after defeating The Undertaker. It was the biggest and best reaction he’s received as heel champion, with every fan booing him out of the building for the first time since before his return. WWE have struggled to give him that kind of aura since officially turning him heel, as even his most vocal detractors have been won over with amazing character work; therefore, for him to once again become their biggest villain in the company required something special.
Not only that, Cody was one of the biggest babyfaces heading into WrestleMania – but how long do you think he would have remained that way after defeating Roman Reigns? Remember how quickly AEW turned on Rhodes as its top champion/challenger – do you think an extended Cody-run would benefit him in any way? Even a vocal minority could have slowly turned the tides against him over time; now though, his WrestleMania loss was emotionally devastating and now serves as one of wrestling’s greatest stories ever told.
Playing the long game and developing both wrestlers into their best possible versions of their archetypes could make for one of WrestleMania’s biggest championship main-events in history. Roman himself stated during the press-conference that they are in the process of creating something special, and these kinds of storylines require time and patience. Cody Rhodes may spend all year jumping hurdles before facing an even more dominant Reigns at next year’s WrestleMania.
In any good story, even the most valiant heroes must appear weak to the villain at some point. Luke Skywalker was left bloodied and defeated in Empire before his comeback in Jedi; Roman Reigns has done the same with Cody, although with assistance from his cousins. If Cody were to defeat Roman on his first try it would have been sweet but could have done more harm than good for both wrestlers. Now Cody must hone his craft, build upon his winning record, defeat monsters like Brock Lesnar and come back as a completely new opponent when facing off against Roman Reigns for the first time since 2013.
Everyone, the moment is near! All roads lead to glory!