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Cody Rhodes Discusses Famous 2011 WWE Champions Photo – “It Could Tell Fortunes”

Cody Rhodes

Cody Rhodes has discussed the famous photo which shows him alongside his fellow champions in WWE and says there’s something “special about it.”

In 2011, a select band of wrestlers held all the gold there was to hold in WWE. Backstage they got together to take a photo that has become an iconic image of that generation of wrestling.

Pictured are World Heavyweight Champion Bryan Danielson [Daniel Bryan], WWE Champion CM Punk, Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes, US Champion Matt Cardona [Zack Ryder], Divas Champion Beth Phoenix, and WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and Matt Sydal [Evan Bourne].

Speaking on FITE TV’s Fite In Focus, The American Nightmare discussed the photo that has resurfaced in recent days after it was posted on social media once again by Matt Cardona:

“That picture’s been floating around the last few days and I know Cardona put out a post about it. I didn’t. I chose not to. I’m pretty much off social [media] at this point, but I chose not to, only because — I don’t know, in my heart, I didn’t want to cheapen that day.”

“But I will never forget Punk getting everyone together in Philly. I know exactly where it was, it was over by catering, and to take that picture for the reason of we didn’t know how long it would be that way and that was a really good call on his part.”

“I do challenge people, I wish someone, maybe from WWE, if you’re out there, any of those photographers who we worked with, if anyone has the actual professional photo, I would love to see it because I just have the one that was tweeted afterward, which was taken on a cell phone but man, that picture was definitely, it could tell fortunes, there was something special about it.”

The photograph is all the more remarkable a decade on given what the men and women pictured have achieved in the wrestling business and how much it has changed.

CM Punk walked out of WWE in early 2014 beginning a seven-year exile from the wrestling business that ended in August 2021 when he joined AEW. Bryan Danielson went onto main event WrestleMania 30 and capture the WWE Title for himself as the hottest act in wrestling. After a brief retirement, Danielson returned to WWE before joining AEW himself just a month after Punk.

Matt Cardona has surprised many with his career choices since leaving WWE. Long Island Iced Z appeared briefly in AEW before finding a home in IMPACT Wrestling. It’s been in independent promotion GCW that Cardona has made the biggest splash however, at one point winning the GCW Title from deathmatch king, Nick Gage.

Beth Phoenix was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2017 and could be found for several years behind the commentary desk on NXT. Phoenix recently walked away from that job and has appeared by the side of her husband Edge in his feud with The Miz and Maryse.

Matt Sydal was one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions with Kofi Kingston before his WWE exit in 2014. Since leaving the company Sydal has appeared in NJPW and won the IMPACT Wrestling Grand Championship during his time in that company. The high-flying star is also currently a part of AEW.

Kofi Kingston is the only person in the photo who, ten years later, still competes full-time for WWE. Kingston reinvented himself with The New Day alongside Big E and Xavier Woods before KofiMania ran wild in 2019 when Kingston captured the WWE Title at WrestleMania 35.

This leaves Cody Rhodes, the final person in the picture who has made something of an impact since leaving WWE, to say the least. Rhodes was at the forefront of the groundswell of support alongside The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega in what would become All Elite Wrestling. The American Nightmare has held the ROH and NWA World Championships as well as the IWGP US Title and is a three-time and current TNT Champion in AEW.