THE RANT: Cody Rhodes' Boos in AEW Are More Like Hulk Hogan in WCW than Jeff Jarrett in TNA

Posted By James Walsh on 11/02/21


Many fans are calling Cody Rhodes to AEW the Jeff Jarrett to TNA Impact Wrestling. Fair, and not for the reasons you would think.

First, when TNA started, it was a somewhat shoe-string budget. They had some money but most talent were not under long deals. Therefore, who do you put the World Title on? A talent that could leave tomorrow or someone rooted in the company who also has a well known name and is a fantastic wrestler? I had people as rooted in Southern Wrestling as "Rock & Roll Express" member Ricky Morton tell me Jeff needed to get out of the way in TNA... And I, with him, respectfully disagreed just as I do now.

When AEW started, Cody was probably the best all around performer for the Americna audience of anyone there. Kenny had not figured out how to work an American style and while I still see signs he hasn't figured it out yet, he's gotten a least a little better with it. But, unlike Jarrett, Cody has never been World Champion. In fact, in wrestling tropes, he can't challenge for the World Title. So, there's a difference.

If one was really going to make the apples to apples argument, Cody would be more like Hulk Hogan in 1996. While some will lie and say Hogan never got over as a babyface in WCW, that wasn't true. When he first came in, he was cheered. It was around the start of Nitro in 1995 when the perfect storm hit. His stories got to be stupid and hokey - Apples to apples... Anthony Ogogo feud with Cody over UK versus US was just as bad as Hogan calling "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Lex Luger, and Sting "little dogs nipping at his heals" in a babyface promo, in front of Savage and Sting, at World War III 1995... And, the feud with the motley crew of undercardsmen in the Nightmare Factory headed up by QT Marshall was as bad if not worse than the Dungeon of Doom and Hogan going into the woods and ending up in the nether with Kevin Sullivan and his father, "OUCH! IT'S NOT HOT!" We can debate if Rhodes to the Top or Go Big Show are as offensive as Santa With Muscles. Hell, thinking out loud, Cody even had his "they're reacting to you wearing black" moment. Cody came back with dark hair to defeat Mr. Brodie Lee in 2020 and no one got why he was all dark. Hogan had his face shaved in 1995 and came out the next week all in black long before "Hollywood" was a thing and the audience took a big steaming poop on that as well.

The fact is Cody wants to be a babyface because when the company first started, he was the guy as the babyface. But, that isn't going to happen. The running off to film this show and that show and leaving wrestling behind has made the wrestling fans feel differently about him. I do not believe for a moment it has a thing to do with people disliking that he's patriotic. That's an excuse by those with a political bias trying to justify their world view. But, Cody's best work in ROH was as a heel. And, instead of turning away from the skid, Cody needs to turn into it. That is not to say he's letting the audience determine the story. It is simply listening to the tone of the situation - Reading the room and the climate. Cody is seen as having gone too Hollywood, as having too many roots in classic wrestling for this audience, and is seen as someone who uses his stroke. He's got everything he needs to be an ACTUAL heel that will ACTUALLY be a believable heel champion. I mean, Kenny Omega dresses up like a Ghostbuster or a Street Fighter character at will. Imagine if a serious, classic wrestling based Cody Rhodes played up all the aspects of himself that the AEW crowd have come to boo him for? He could be Hollywood Hogan 2.0! And, I think we all know that worked out pretty well for WCW for a number of years there.