At a Cross Rhodes by Jake Draper

TJR Wrestling

We, as fans, sometimes tend to look at a situation through only our own eyes and never walk a mile in someone else’s proverbial shoes. I say proverbial, because if you literally walk a mile in someone else’s shoes then that’s just theft and you’re a bad person. Seriously, whoever took my shoes, please bring them back.

All things considered, WWE is in a pretty good place right now. Coming out of this week’s Raw we have a suddenly revitalized Divas division, a Brock Lesnar who’s on a war path, ongoing feuds for both midcard titles and the tag titles, and some very clever rebuilding of Rusev as a threat. However, sliding under the radar for the night was one of the guys we were most excited to see: Cody Rhodes.

We haven’t seen or heard from Cody since the tragic passing of his father. We were so amped up to see him…and then he came out, in full Stardust garb, and we picked up with him exactly where we left off. How anticlimactic. He tried to make us boo him because that’s his job, but I can’t help but somehow feel like WWE missed the mark with him. I’m not alone in this sentiment, as it seems that Twitter and Facebook are echoing the phrase, “Please give us back Cody.”

I understand this yearning to return Cody to his proper form, rather than a cheap knockoff of his older brother, but we have to look at this situation through the eyes of the WWE in order to understand it.

stardust yo

Before taking a hiatus, Stardust was planting the seeds for a feud with Stephen Amell, who you may know is the actor who portrays Oliver Queen, AKA The Green Arrow on the hit show Arrow. I say “hit show,” but I actually mean it, unlike when Michael Cole says it about every show ever in the history of television because they’re doing some cross promotion with WWE. This is a rather high-profile feud, considering how much WWE loves celebrities being involved with their product in order to keep themselves relevant to TMZ.com.

Last night before Stardust’s “triumphant” return to the ring they aired a special comic book-based banner that depicted both competitors in comic book art. It was cheesy, but it clearly is reestablishing the idea of Stardust being a comic book-y character who’s going to take on another comic book character, ala The Green Arrow, at SummerSlam. Or SummerFest. Whatever floats your boat.

Now comes the debacle faced by those behind the scenes in WWE: Stardust is the comic book-y villain who has to take on the comic book-y hero, AND they don’t want to book a celebrity as the heel in their events. We can’t have a villainous Green Arrow trying to start shit with our returning hero, Cody Rhodes. We are going to boo their big celebrity cameo and hope for Rhodes to topple the dastardly plans of the man who came after him while he was attempting to carry on the legacy of one of the most important names in the history of professional wrestling.

Whatever shall they do?

Fear not! I have come up with the solution that you can send straight to the writers of WWE and they can ignore it because it’s too complicated for them to do. God, it’s a thankless job to act like you can do someone else’s job better than them.

neville stardust comic

The theme of a “comic book” character is what requires that Stardust stick around for a little longer, much to the dismay of the viewers at home. WWE has firmly established that their 3-4 million viewers are far less important than their TMZ headlines. I ask this: Why can they not reach a compromise with us here?

Consider the comic book villain known as Venom. Venom, in his original and best incarnation, was a man named Eddie Brock (LEEESSSSNAR), who was really just a guy really down on his luck and he blamed your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Peter Parker for said bad luck. In a turn of events and probably one of the best Spider-Man arches ever, Peter shed the black symbiote that had been granting him greater power at the cost of his own moral code being broken on several occasions. As it turns out, the symbiote was manipulating Peter’s dark thoughts and making him into a villain against his own will. He finally triumphs over it, but not before it bonds itself to Eddie and BAM, we have ourselves one of my personal favorite comic book villains ever when Venom is born.

Underneath, Eddie is a spiteful and angry man, but he’s essentially not an evil person, but merely being manipulated by Venom. Once the symbiote is finally taken from him he continues to hear the voice of Venom in his head, as if something was left behind and at any moment he would snap and resume his mantle as a supervillain with a thirst for…Carnage. Comic book fans just went, “Oooooh…I see what you did there. You sly, sly son of a bitch.”

In case you didn’t add 2+2 yet, Eddie represents Cody Rhodes, and the symboite (Venom) is a metaphor for Stardust. Clearly “Stardust” despises the crowds “Cody!” chants because he, in exactly the same way as Venom, seeks to completely eradicate any traces of the man he used to be. He wants to stand on his own as a felonious monster who will stop at nothing to wreak havoc everywhere he goes. Stardust is the villain, but Cody is the morally challenged hero buried deep down inside who has allowed himself to be engulfed by his Stardust persona, only to return with the help of his support group (the 3-4 million viewers formerly mentioned). The seeds for a “Cody is still in there, somewhere” story have been planted for months, dating back to Stardust and Goldust’s initial feud when their father, the late, great Dusty Rhodes himself, tried telling Stardust that he’s a man named Cody Rhodes, only to enrage the villain to a point where he attacked his own brother out of anger.

It’s beautiful, no?

Why not have a week where Cody finally overcomes Stardust and becomes a babyface once more, but, in a cray cray turn of events, Stardust reemerges again in another week, showing how hard it is to truly get rid of the evil that he is carrying with him every week. This makes Cody essentially both a heel and a babyface who can, in essence, feud with anyone on the roster that they need him to feud with at any given time. It injects a lot of energy into something we’ve long tired of, without taking away this comic book dream feud that WWE is clinging to, and it allows us to have Cody Rhodes once again on our television. Even better yet, when Cody finally completely rids himself of Stardust for good he’s established as a strong-willed babyface that we want to get behind.

It seems complicated, but, despite your or my thoughts on the Stardust character, the promo that he cut before his match with Neville on Raw was full of passion and talent. I challenge anyone else on the roster to do what Cody has done with such a strange character, and what he’s done with several other characters in the past. He’s a character actor and I firmly believe that he is more than talented enough to pull off such a unique and fun angle.

What do you think? Probably that I’m a nerd. Well, whatever. You watch professional wrestling. And read about it. You’re a nerd, too. Nerd. Hit me up on Twitter @JakobDraper or just find me on Facebook by searching my name (Jake Draper) and you can tell me about it. Or just like my pictures of my dog. I’m not being picky here. Or, if you so desire, leave a comment below and spark some kind of a debate so everyone can think really hard about something that probably won’t ever happen.