Welcome to the return of Strange Things In Wrestling. As a refresher, this column intends to highlight anything from the world of wrestling with odd, unique, quirky, or possibly bizarre qualities because that’s what makes them stand out.
We’ll dive deep into a handful of different things, stories whose strange nature is something that should be featured. Keep in mind – weird much like anything open for discussion, is subjective. Remember, one person’s odd is another person’s completely acceptable. And I’m not saying they can’t be both; I’m just saying I really should stop talking because it’s a whole new edition full of tears, sadness, and criticism. Unlike previous editions, most of the items being covered this month are all over the place as wrestling tends to be. Typically, February is a time for love with Valentine’s Day, and here in Ontario Family Day, but in wrestling, strange knows no bounds.
This month, we see the exit of an Executive Vice-President, a former WWE United States Champion, becoming a champion of one of the most recognized promotions in wrestling history. We then hear of an upset former champion bothered because a company didn’t show concern for his divorce along with a champion flow across the world not to defend their title only to lose it anyway. Was that a mouthful or what? Here are strange things in wrestling this month for February 2022.
Cody’s Out of AEW
Since his departure from the WWE, Cody Rhodes was a journey. That journey was one of not only harvesting his father’s legacy but hoping to establish his own. So when it was reported earlier this month that Cody left All Elite Wrestling, the word shock was an understatement. Fans will recall that the birth of the American Nightmare began from his time in Japan onto Ring of Honor and the emergence of the All In alongside The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. The challenge was how could he make the Rhodes name proud.
How could he do exactly what his father would have stood by and supported? The answer is to blaze your own trail. While many have questioned Cody or supported his quest to start something special with AEW, the end was his departure from the company. While his departure is shocking, the rumors of his impending rejoining of the WWE also suggest that any belief of burned bridges no longer exist. Since his departure, the stories of whether or not he was valued in the locker room range are nothing more than something that would make any tabloid happy to read it.
For Cody and Brandi Rhodes, the two were part of establishing a company three years ago, and whether they are liked or not, it’s impossible to ignore their role in AEW’s history.
Matt Cardona NWA Champion
If anyone has had an incredibly noteworthy year on the independent circuit, it is Matt Cardona. After a year that saw him capture the GCW Championship, the Digital Media Championship in IMPACT Wrestling, he captured a title with an incredible legacy behind it. Cardona captured the National Wrestling Alliance Heavyweight Championship. The same title that Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Dory Funk Jr. won has now been won by “Alwayz Ready” Matt Cardona.
While it isn’t necessarily strange or bizarre for him to capture the title, it is somewhat surprising that the same guy that was getting pushed off a stage while in a wheelchair by Kane is now the NWA World Title holder. He will defend his title in March, and this achievement and its surprising nature may all be for nothing. But for now, the man that is as much in pursuit of X-Pac and Joey Janela in GCW will be the same one looking to maintain the NWA Championship’s legacy against Nick Aldis at the Crockett Cup.
It won’t be decided whether or not this time he will wear a former champion’s inspired ring attire like he did when he wore Christian Cage’s when he captured the NWA sixteen years to the day. Will this just be another championship title win on Cardona’s mantle? Not if Matt Cardona has anything to say about it, and we all know it.
Ric Flair Upset Over WWE Not Reaching Out After His Divorce
In wrestling, it is really a convincing side of a character when they live their persona outside of the ring. For Ric Flair, fans have heard stories as they’ve even been documented of his past exploits outside of the ring. His career was made on having pretty ladies by his side as he rode limousines and flew in jet planes. So when we’ve heard that Ric Flair has married five times, it is no surprise that life was imitating the life inside the ring. The father of five recently ended a relationship with a woman that stood by him in his darkest days.
As he and Wendy Barlow were together since 2018, the two ended their relationship recently. Divorce happens. There is nothing strange or bizarre about that taking place. The peculiar nature of this story is what Ric Flair said afterward. He didn’t share ill words about Barlow but of the WWE. Flair was disappointed that the WWE didn’t reach out to him to share their condolences on his divorce. Now, the story is as bizarre as the request. Barlow didn’t pass away. In fact, she’s fine, and the split seems amicable.
But usually, condolences work when someone passes away…not when a relationship passes away. Maybe for Ric, the marriage is another life unto itself. Like his on-screen relationships. Were should those receive some sort of post mortem outreach by a former employer that you manage to have an on-again-off-again professional relationship with one another? This story certainly falls under the realm of bizarre. For a divorce? I’m still shaking my head.
Bobby Lashley Losing the WWE Title Without Entering the Match
Titles are won and lost. When any reign comes to an end, there are questions about it. In the case of Bobby Lashley, the question isn’t how he lost the title but rather should he have even been defending the title? Fans will recall that Lashley, with the help of Roman Reigns, defeated Brock Lesnar at this past year’s Royal Rumble. While it is great that he captured the title defeating Brock, what isn’t great is what happened during the match. It was reported that after the match, Lashley had an injured shoulder facing Lesnar and was hurt going into Elimination Chamber.
While injuries are a part of wrestling, usually a storyline is made up to justify the title loss. For Lashley, he was under ‘concussion protocol,’ which is real, so why fake a legitimate concern wrestler’s face when he was injured in another way? Add to that; he was flown to Saudi Arabia to be in the match that he wasn’t going to win seems like a lot of time and effort to bring him out just to lose that way. We aren’t suggesting the altitude would have affected him anymore or less, but it felt peculiar to fly someone to the other side of the world just not to have them compete when having him stripped of the title could have happened too.
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