There is one major difference between what Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins are doing and what everyone else is doing on WWE Monday Night Raw.
Cody Rhodes’ attention to detail is what sets him apart from his contemporaries in WWE, and it’s taking his feud with Seth Rollins to a different level compared to everything else on Monday Night Raw. The American Nightmare isn’t the most athletic performer on the red brand, and he’s certainly not the strongest. He was never Vince McMahon’s chosen one, and he had to leave for more than half a decade to carve out this version of himself.
Now, however, he’s being treated as a must-see attraction on WWE Raw, with the brand going so far as to roll out a “Countdown to Cody” clock at the opening of every show. Moreover, the early returns on that timer are that it actually brings eyeballs back to Raw as the second hour runs into the third—a real testament to what Rhodes has managed to capture since making his surprise return at WrestleMania 38.
Rhodes developed this confidence and character while working in other promotions as he went on a learning excursion of sorts, similar to what Young Lions go through in NJPW. They’re asked to go to different promotions and bring back aspects of their wrestling style to New Japan. Rhodes left WWE and learned to convey something that is relatively commonplace on the independent circuit but rarely seen in wrestling entertainment – and that’s attention to detail.
In AEW and before that in NJPW, the likes of Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks were spinning intricate stories that spanned a YouTube series, multiple federations, and dozens of social media posts. There were breadcrumbs everywhere, and fans ate it up. Rhodes has brought that aspect of AEW back with him, and it’s shown multiple times over the last several weeks on Raw. His willingness to hold Rollins’ tights to win at WrestleMania Backlash was a small but revealing detail. Yes, Rhodes is performing as a traditional face, but if a heel tries to cut corners on him, he’s got no problems cutting them right back. It doesn’t tell the whole story, but it adds layers to what would otherwise be a pretty straightforward professional wrestling feud as Rollins attempts to regain the spotlight he feels has been stolen from him.
Audiences were treated to Rhodes’ eye for particulars again during the May 23rd edition of Raw. Rollins interfering in Cody’s match against Miz could be seen from a mile away, but it’s what happened after that gave fans more insight into Rhodes and what makes him tick as a character. In a well-done bit of writing, Rollins swiped the weight belt that Rhodes had given to a child prior to the match with Miz and then proceeded to whip him with it. After a few moments of selling the post-match attack, The American Nightmare scooped the belt up off the floor, limped over to the kid, and handed the belt back to him. That creates a depth of character few performers on Raw possess for both Rollins and Rhodes as their Hell In A Cell match approaches. In turn, it’s that attention to detail that has not only gotten Rhodes over with WWE fans but will also keep him over for the foreseeable future.
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