Five years, ten months and eleven days after being released, Cody Rhodes is back in WWE.
After missing out on the Raw Tag Team Titles alongside Kevin Owens in early March, Seth Rollins embarked on a frantic quest to land a spot on the card for WrestleMania. It was a quest which saw him lose to Owens, AJ Styles and trash an episode of Raw, before being granted a match by Vince McMahon.
The caveat being that his opponent would be hand-picked by the WWE Chairman, and wouldn’t be unveiled until he was stood in the ring.
Fast-forward to April 2nd, and as promised, Seth Freakin’ Rollins took his place in the middle of the squared circle in a typically ostentatious outfit, and expectantly gazed back up the ramp.
Pyro scorched up the rampway before the whole building was plunged into darkness. As the crowd reached fever pitch, “Kingdom” by Downstait thundered around the stadium and Cody Rhodes rose up from under the stage to a breath-taking ovation.
— WWE (@WWE) April 3, 2022
By the time that Rhodes made it to the ring, huge Cody chants serenaded the two combatants as a stare down ensued.
As the match finally began, Rhodes soaked up the atmosphere, repeatedly locking up with Rollins, and emerging victorious from each exchange. However, as the match continued, the two stars countered each other with frightening ease which resulted in Rollins being suplexed from the ring to the floor, but he didn’t go easily, taking Rhodes down with him.
Feeling confident and in control, the American Nightmare took to the top rope looking for a cross-body, but ended up being taken out mid-air by a dropkick. This naturally led Rollins to target Rhodes’ ribs for the remainder of the match.
However, despite a Buckle-Bomb on the outside and a barrage of punishment back in the ring, Rhodes was not to be defeated. The former AEW star countered out of the Stomp twice, before delivering the Cross-Rhodes, but to the shock of everyone in attendance Rollins kicked out.
Not only that, he rallied once more, hitting a huge reverse suplex from the top rope, before surviving a Cody-Cutter. Rollins even scored with a Pedigree. But not matter what he pulled out of his arsenal, he couldn’t get the elusive three count.
When the end came, it was emphatic. Rhodes hit two successive Cross-Rhodes and landed his father’s signature bionic elbow, followed by one more Cross-Rhodes to finally earn the win.
Cody Rhodes Journey To WrestleMania 38
From the moment that Cody Rhodes announced that he had left AEW on February 15th, he had been linked with a return to WWE. However, despite the rumours and speculation, concrete information regarding Rhodes’ future was in short supply. At one point it was suggested that talks between the two sides had broken down altogether.
Cody Rhodes began his wrestling career with WWE back in 2006, initially appearing in developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling. After remaining in OVW for a little over a year, Rhodes made his main roster debut July 2007.
The second generation star remained with the company until May 22nd 2016, when he was released after asking to leave. Although Rhodes was a former Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion, he had grown frustrated with his role within WWE.
After leaving WWE, Rhodes went on something of a world tour, taking in the independent scene, while working for the likes of Ring of Honor, IMPACT Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling. This eventually led him to the formation of AEW in January 2019, where he became one of four Executive Vice Presidents.
Rhodes left AEW a three-time TNT Champion.
Read the rest of the WrestleMania 38 Saturday results in full.