The recent WWE return of Cody Rhodes saw him coming back to the company a changed man. Rhodes left in frustration years ago when requesting his release and wanting to prove his worth on the free agent market. Incredible success in New Japan and Ring of Honor played a role in AEW launching using the momentum of The Elite.
Cody had a polarizing AEW run that added more shock when he chose to leave after his contract expired. WWE believed Rhodes was worth the financial figure that he wanted and did not receive from AEW. The incredible return as a top star makes it more amusing to look back at old times. Cody had quite a few weird moments that fans have forgotten about with all the changes.
10 Facing Himself in Tag Match
Cody Rhodes holds an interesting fun fact as one of the few wrestlers to be on both teams in a tag team match. The veteran/rookie combo of Hardcore Holly and Cody won the World Tag Team Championship as Rhodes’ first noteworthy role.
Ted DiBiase Jr. debuted as another second-generation rookie and vowed to have a partner when challenging them for the tag titles. Cody turned on Holly and revealed he was DiBiase’s partner to win the gold together. No other wrestler has won and lost tag titles in the same match.
9 Mocking Big Show’s WrestleMania History
WWE was inspired by Edge disrespecting Mick Foley’s WrestleMania history when recycling the angle with Cody Rhodes and Big Show. Despite being in WWE for almost 15 years, Big Show rarely had strong moments led to Cody mocking him for it.
Rhodes even aired ads highlighting all of Big Show’s embarrassing moments like getting knocked out by Floyd Mayweather or losing a sumo match to Akebono. Big Show eventually got revenge by beating Cody for the Intercontinental Championship, but the trolling by Rhodes peaked the feud.
8 Unique Ladders During Ladder Matches
Cody Rhodes took part in quite a few ladder matches in WWE since the mid-carders often had that match for the Intercontinental Championship or Money in the Bank. The Stardust gimmick was used during Cody’s ladder matches at WrestleMania 31 and WrestleMania 32 for the Intercontinental title.
There were too interesting spots where Stardust brought his own unique ladders into the match. The first one was a sparkly ladder that Rhodes put a lot of thought into. Cody honored his father the following year when using a polka dot ladder to honor the recently passed Dusty Rhodes.
7 Losing Tag Titles To New Age Outlaws
The tag team run of Cody Rhodes and Goldust was arguably the high point of Cody’s first WWE run. An emotional storyline saw the Rhodes family bonding together to stand up to The Authority with Cody and Dustin winning tag gold as the payoff.
WWE unfortunately gave up on this act faster than expected when having Rhodes lose the belts to the New Age Outlaws. Road Dogg and Billy Gunn were older backstage employees that had no business winning titles at that point, so it came off weird and confusing to sacrifice Cody and Goldust.
6 Facing Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler In Tag Match
WWE booked Michael Cole in his first match against Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase in a strange creative decision. The original Raw match was advertised as Jerry Lawler and Jim Duggan challenging the disrespectful youngsters for tag gold.
Duggan was forced to the back with the news of Cole having to team with his commentary partner Lawler in the match. Cole decked Rhodes to try to get away, but Cody hitting his finisher on the commentator ended it.
5 Getting Bumped From WrestleMania 29
Most fans forget that Cody Rhodes was bumped from a match at WrestleMania 29 just minutes before he was supposed to go out. Cody, Damien Sandow and the Bella Twins were set to face Brodus Clay, Tensai, Naomi and Cameron in an eight-person match. The Undertaker vs CM Punk match went long causing WWE to make a judgment call.
WWE had a lot of time dedicated to the entrances and hype video for the John Cena vs The Rock main event. Total Divas showed the moment of the ladies being told the match was cut, but Cody also took it personally. WWE made it weirder by not even announcing or explaining why an advertised match didn’t happen.
4 Forming Cosmic Wasteland
The Cosmic Wasteland is barely remembered since the trio never felt important. Cody Rhodes had a lot of creative input in trying to get The Ascension over with him as Stardust in backstage segments together.
WWE spotlighted the new act in those backstage segments with cryptic promos inspired by superhero villain characters. The promos went over many heads and just felt weird, especially since The Ascension were lower card acts at that time.
3 Facing Seth Green In Tag Match
Cody Rhodes has a more unique list of opponents on his resume than the average wrestler. Seth Green was the first celebrity name to host Raw during the era that would see dozens of other names having the same role after him.
The main event of that night featured the comedian Green wrestling a tag match. Triple H, John Cena and Green defeated Legacy. Rhodes had a few funny interactions with Green during the story of a non-wrestler trying not to get painfully hurt in a match.
2 Challenging Stephen Amell To Fight
WWE allowed Cody Rhodes to work a match with his friend and famous actor Stephen Amell. The popular Arrow show featured Amell playing the lead character, but he had dreams of doing something in wrestling as a diehard fan.
Rhodes and Amell becoming friends in real life led to the idea being approved by WWE for Stardust and Wade Barrett to face Amell and Neville. The wild moment of Stardust getting into it with Amell ringside was an unexpected moment to set up the bigger match.
1 Throwing Water On Booker T To Start Feud
One of the most overlooked aspects of Cody Rhodes’ WWE career was Booker T having his last major feud against him. Booker returned to WWE after his TNA run with the goal of moving into broadcasting since he loved color commentary.
WWE utilized that by having Cody throw water on Booker to goad him back into the ring. Booker had a solid storyline with Rhodes, but the unusual aspect of a legend facing a mid-card heel was risky. Cody winning to retain his Intercontinental Championship certainly helped his status at the time.