In a possible stroke of ingenious, WWE has initiated its plans for Cody Rhodes’ return. He is apparently the subject of a ‘multi-part series.’
The American Nightmare was last seen inside the ring at the Hell in a Cell event. Despite picking up a serious pectoral injury prior to his showdown against Seth Rollins, Rhodes finished the match and garnered massive respect from the WWE Universe. Rated 5 stars by Dave Meltzer, Cody gained a lot of credibility as a babyface with his heart.
Cody Rhodes’ return was rumored to be for the 2023 Men’s Royal Rumble Match. However, the 37-year-old megastar insisted on an earlier date after undergoing surgery. His interviews in late 2022 also hinted at a full recovery, but WWE didn’t pull the trigger on his grand comeback due to its strict injury policies and fixed long-term plans.
One of the favorites to win the Rumble, Cody was expected to be a surprise entrant at this year’s signature multi-man Battle Royal. It is “absolutely not” the case as it turns out. According to Dave Meltzer of WON, Cody Rhodes’ return will be built-up through a series of videos aired on WWE’s weekly programs.
“So I had always figured that Cody Rhodes’ return would be a surprise at the Royal Rumble, but it is absolutely not going to be. They’re doing a multi-part series, building up his return. He’s evidently slotted in a high place at WrestleMania.”
On the January 2 episode of RAW, WWE aired a vignette labeled a ‘special look at Cody Rhodes’ road to recovery.’ A To Be Continued sign in The American Nightmare’s font flashed at the bottom of the screen.
Rumors of Cody Rhodes winning the Royal Rumble, and headlining WrestleMania 39 with Roman Reigns are a common theme. However, such a scenario wasn’t in the original idea when Vince McMahon ran the creative. More on that here.
How could WWE plan Cody Rhodes’ return at Royal Rumble 2023?
Leading up to the January 28 event, the vignettes on the upcoming RAW shows could culminate with a solid promo by the megastar himself. Cody announcing his return at Royal Rumble would be surreal, made all the more interesting by his supposed revelation of being the first competitor.
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Rhodes winning the Royal Rumble match after entering at No.1 would be a slight mockery of Roman Reigns ahead of WrestleMania. The undisputed champion attempted the feat in 2016 and almost managed to pull it off if not for a surprise entry of Triple H.
Protecting Rhodes until the end will be a difficult task. One way WWE could stall his participation is by allowing Seth Rollins to ambush the babyface prior to his entry. Both active participants can indulge in a brawl at ringside till the climax.