Cody Rhodes First WWE Title Defence Confirmed

Cody Rhodes WWE Promo Championship

Cody Rhodes appeared on WWE SmackDown to announce when he’ll make his first televised defense of the Undisputed WWE Championship.

At WrestleMania 40 Sunday in Philadelphia, Cody Rhodes proved to be a man of his word because he was the man who defeated Roman Reigns to become the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. That victory by Cody put an end to The Tribal Chief’s 1,316-day reign as the Universal Champion who also held the WWE Title for two years.

On WWE Smackdown in Detroit, Cody Rhodes started the show with a promo and received a huge ovation from the crowd that loves their new champion. After Cody addressed his lingering issues with The Rock, he talked about WWE’s next Premium Live Event called Backlash on Saturday, May 5th from Lyon, France.

There were two triple threat matches on Smackdown to determine Cody’s first WWE Title opponent. In the first match, LA Knight beat Bobby Lashley and Santos Escobar when he pinned Escobar after hitting the BFT. There was interference from Escobar’s Legado Del Fantasma group and Lashley’s friends The Street Profits, but Knight managed to get the win.

In the main event of Smackdown, AJ Styles beat Rey Mysterio and Kevin Owens in an exciting triple threat between former WWE Word/Universal Champions. Styles won with a Styles Clash on Mysterio off the middle turnbuckle that saw him land on Owens on the mat. Styles pinned Mysterio to win.

That means that LA Knight will face AJ Styles next week on the April 19th edition of Smackdown to determine who gets to challenge Cody Rhodes for the WWE Title at Backlash France on May 5th. Knight beat Styles at WrestleMania 40 so Styles will be looking for revenge while Knight will try to prove he is the better man.

Cody Rhodes Made Unique History At WrestleMania 40

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter shared an interesting stat following the WWE Championship victory of Cody Rhodes.

“From an historical standpoint, Rhodes became the first person to hold the WWE, NWA and ROH titles.”

“While his NWA title is obviously far less meaningful historically than an NWA title prior to 1994, the only NWA and WWE champions in history were Rhodes, Ric Flair, Buddy Rogers and A.J. Styles, the latter of whom would be the only WWE, IWGP and NWA champion combination.”

As for WWE’s long term plans for the American Nightmare, it’s certainly possible that Cody will be against The Rock at WrestleMania 41 in one year’s time, but a lot of things can change between now and then.