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Published On: Sun, May 27th, 2018

Cody Rhodes May Be The One To Finally Compete With Vince McMahon

All of the mainstream media outlets are abuzz with the news of the WWE’s extremely lucrative new television deals. But within the professional wrestling world, all eyes are on ALL IN. The brainchild of Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks, ALL IN is an event that is at its very core a gesture of rebellion against the old guard in the industry. Where so many of the names from the history of professional wrestling are currently critical of the industry’s popularity and the money it can draw these days, Cody and the Young Bucks are proving them wrong.

Born in response to a comment from pro wrestling reporter Dave Meltzer, when he essentially said no one but the WWE could sell out a ten thousand person venue any time soon, ALL IN sold out the Sears Center in Chicago in a half hour. Without a single match announced, no card at all. There is no promotion brand to identify with the event and no storylines associated with it. The only thing the fans knew was that Cody and the Young Bucks were putting on a show and putting up the money to make it happen. Now an entire holiday weekend destination is building around this September 1st spectacle, including the podcast convention Starrcast. Only one match has been announced thus far, Nick Aldis (c) vs. Cody for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship. If Cody wins, he and his father will be the first father-son duo to ever hold the title.

Although he is the son of the legendary Dusty Rhodes, Cody has never behaved as though the industry owes him anything because of his name. And through his humility and passion for learning, he has earned an immense amount of good will throughout the professional wrestling world. He knows just about everyone in the business, and has since childhood. And just like his father before him, he is full of big ideas and the gusto to be his own man and make his dreams a reality. When Cody left the WWE in 2016, many criticized the decision. He could have a job for life in the biggest professional wrestling promotion in history, as long as he was willing to be what the WWE wanted him to be. Many voiced their opinions over the internet that walking away from a lucrative contract with WWE was a bad decision and that he would not find the money on the independent circuit that he was used to. Cody decided to take a risk and bet on himself, and the gamble has paid off. With the support of his wife, Brandi Rhodes, Cody took the indies by storm. He put his goals to paper and posted them to social media, and then embarked on a journey to control his own destiny in the professional wrestling world.

Marty Scurll, Cody Rhodes, and Adam Page at Ring of Honor’s Honor Reigns Supreme event in Concord, North Carolina on February 9, 2018. photo/ Mike Kalasnik from Charlotte, USA

While many see Cody’s immense popularity as a path back to the WWE as a top guy, that may not be the path Cody is on, or should even think about. Pulling off an event like ALL IN is going to teach Cody and the Young Bucks a lot, and they’re going to learn some lessons the hard way. But on the other side of this is a changed professional wrestling landscape. A show put on by wrestlers, not a promotion, sold out without a card and with no local marketing. It was all accomplished with social media. This is where Cody and the new generation of talent have a distinct advantage over the old guard. Where some thought it couldn’t happen without a promotion backing it, or local radio and television promoting it, they were slapped in the face with technological reality. The internet isn’t the enemy of professional wrestling anymore.

When the internet became prolific, information surrounding the wrestling world became more accessible than ever before. Backstage news, spoilers, and all manner of information regarding the secrets of the industry became available at the fan’s fingertips. The internet became the bane of the industry, and a thorn in Vince McMahon’s side. As the internet and how we use it has evolved, WWE is the only major promotion left that saw success during that time. Now the WWE uses the internet like any giant, global corporation. Their internet presence feels similar to any other corporate brand, with their social media akin to Pizza Hut, Coca Cola, or Wal-Mart. The WWE Superstars use social media but come off as distant and disconnected, seeming more like Hollywood stars with little personal interaction with the fans. But who can blame them? With corporate standards of behavior enforced on their activity, it’s better to just post some gym selfies and then stay away rather than risk getting involved in something on social media that could get them in trouble.

Cody, The Young Bucks, their stable The Bullet Club, and the rest of the new generation of wrestlers coming up through the independent circuit are different. Their social media game is as good as it gets, with the Bullet Club’s Being The Elite channel on YouTube boasting well over two hundred thousand followers. They engage their fans on Twitter and other platforms, and use social media to promote themselves. The need for the old guard and their use of local television and radio to get their promotion on the airwaves has become moot. The promotions now look to social media to contact the talent and book them, because they are all building their persona and putting themselves out there in ways that didn’t exist twenty years ago. They’re selling storylines on social media and bringing back the elements that allow fans to suspend their disbelief. Rivalries play out in front of everyone on the internet and the shows become the place to see the culmination. Which is exactly what we’re starting to see with ALL IN. After Cody announced the match between himself and Nick Aldis for the NWA title during a livestream press conference, Aldis responded on Twitter.

Now Aldis has teamed up with Mark Haskins and faced the Young Bucks, just as the social media posts would portend. As both Cody and the Young Bucks are under exclusive contracts with Ring of Honor, this has brought the Ring of Honor debut of Aldis. Cody and the Bucks pulling off ALL IN with these exclusivity contracts brings what is probably the most interesting part, as Cody confirmed on Edge and Christian’s podcast that they are paying Ring of Honor for their help with infrastructure, which one would take to mean the ring, stage, monitors, etc. And if Ring of Honor is willing to work with Cody and the Bucks on an event that is not Ring of Honor branded, especially if it does end up being broadcast through pay per view or on the internet behind a paywall, that means they believe in what the boys are doing. Ring of Honor is ALL IN with the boys.

Through all of this Cody Rhodes is learning more and his star is rising. He is only 32 years old and has plenty of time to continue learning and build his legacy. He has big ideas and the nerve to take the risk on them. He has friends all over the industry and kindred spirits in his inner circle. He has a supportive wife who believes in him, the power of which should never be understated. But most of all, Cody has seized the attention of the wrestling world and none who looks can turn away. The resume is stacking up and if he continues on this path, Cody Rhodes could be the most sought after commodity in the business. And if he decides to supply what wrestling fans are demanding, which are alternatives to the WWE product, he could find himself a pivotal figure in the state of the business. He has proven that he is not only tuned in to the contemporary fanbase, but has the courage to do what it really takes to compete with the best. To chase impossible dreams.

About the Author

- Greg Bowen is a writer, musician, DJ, political activist, and wrestling mark who still has Macho Madness to this day.

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