Cody Rhodes Remains Royal Rumble Favourite With Sooner-Than-Expected Return Likely

Cody Rhodes, WWE Hell In A Cell 2022

Despite suffering an injury of alarming magnitude, Cody Rhodes is still on track to return in time for the 2023 Royal Rumble and probably book his spot in the WrestleMania 39 main event with an emotional victory.

The American Nightmare has been a revelation since making his surprise return to the WWE ring at ‘Mania 38 in March, and his trilogy with Seth Rollins brought the very best out of both of the veterans. The third of those saw Rhodes suffer a torn pectoral muscle at Hell in a Cell back in June, with WWE’s medical experts predicting a nine-month layoff for the former AEW chief.

However, others, notably John Cena back in 2007, have experienced a similar and returned within six months. The Doctor of Thuganomics returned after just four months at the Royal Rumble as a surprise entrant, going on to win the event and earn his place on the top of the WrestleMania billing.

And the likelihood is that Rhodes will follow a similar path, and for those betting on sports like WWE events, the outright markets have confirmed that the 37-year-old is the most likely victor at the Rumble. He is priced as the 4/9 odds-on favourite, with Rollins (4/1), Bobby Lashley (7/1) and Riddle (10/1) also thought to be in the frame.

The online betting tips columns will also note that Rhodes features heavily on the promotional materials for WrestleMania 39, and the precedent set by Cena – Rhodes even has an extra three months of rehab time – suggests that the smart money is going on an American Nightmare win.

Much will depend on how well he recovers from his sickening injury, which was so bad that WWE medics allowed him to battle Rollins at Hell in a Cell for the simple reason that he could not sustain any further damage. But Rhodes could feature in the Rumble without taking any risks whatsoever – he could even win the main event without eliminating anybody if two or more opponents propel each other over the top rope instead.

The son of Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes has recently tweeted a fan to say there’s ‘hopefully the best is to come’, which would suggest his recovery is going well.

With a hot crowd lapping up his every move, surely not even WWE can miss the open goal of handing Rhodes a route to WrestleMania via a Royal Rumble victory.

Familiar Faces

Mind you, such plans could change if Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque gets his way. The new head honcho has wasted no time in putting his own stamp on the WWE roster, bringing back the likes of Karrion Kross and Johnny Gargano after their contracts were allowed to run down by Vince McMahon.

It has been rumoured that Levesque has also sat down for talks with Windham Rotunda, aka Bray Wyatt and The Fiend, about a sensational return, while a slimline Braun Strowman has also enjoyed a comeback on Raw having initially been released from his WWE contract.

It’s likely that both will be promised a significant push heading into Rumble and ‘Mania season, with Wyatt as short as 14/1 in the betting to mark his revival with victory at the show, which is rumoured to be heading to San Antonio in Texas on January 28th.

It’s thought that Kevin Owens and Riddle are another pair of stars that Levesque is a big fan of and planning to push, so a Royal Rumble victory – and sensational WrestleMania headline slot – are not an absolute given for Rhodes as he plots his long-awaited comeback.