Is Cody Rhodes Winning The Royal Rumble Too Predictable For WWE?


Since Cody Rhodes tore his pectoral muscle ahead of Hell in a Cell, WWE fans have assumed he’d win the Royal Rumble. Is that too obvious, though?

WWE fans have had Cody Rhodes written in as the Royal Rumble winner since his WrestleMania 38 return, and it’s an opinion that is jotted down in pen for most. There’s a lot to like about this possible angle, of course. The prodigal son returns—yes, we know the parable, Cody—home to win a championship that always alluded his father. It’s a Hollywood script playing out in real-time, and WWE has to know that. The Roman Reigns and Bloodline saga will wind down between now and WrestleMania 39, leaving a massive hole at the top of the card on Raw and SmackDown. Most audience members assume Cody Rhodes will fill this spot, starting with a win at the Royal Rumble.


The outcome almost feels too obvious, though. It’d be one thing if The American Nightmare surprised everyone by showing up at this weekend’s premium live event, entered at No. 26, and swiped the main event of WrestleMania away from someone like Seth Rollins. Yet that doesn’t seem to be the play WWE is making with Rhodes. Cody tweeted out the number 3 before his Royal Rumble return was confirmed on Raw, so it looks like he’ll be entering the event early and trying to go the distance. Another heroic performance would befit Rhodes after what he put his body through at Hell in a Cell. His winning and going on to WrestleMania 39 after missing the last several months feels too easy of a solution for WWE. So much so that it could be setting fans up for a swerve at the Rumble this weekend.

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The Royal Rumble Could Send Cody Rhodes In Another Direction Entirely

 Cody Rhodes enters The Nightmare Factory to prepare for his WWE return at The Royal Rumble.

Early betting odds for the Royal Rumble favor Cody Rhodes, so Vegas sees things playing out the way the fans do. It behooves them to get odds like this right, and the house usually wins for a reason. With The Rock reportedly not being available for the Showcase of the Immortals, that only increases Cody’s chances, at least on the surface. Rocky would have been the biggest obstacle for anyone hoping to head to ‘Mania in the main event spot. And it’s not like WWE would bring The Rock in just to lose in Texas this weekend.

Again, the path to a Cody Rhodes victory almost seems too clear. Like there’s some cruel ambush waiting for the hero once he walks out onto the rope bridge and exposes himself to danger. He’ll be in an upper card slot at the show of shows, but the match doesn’t have to be for the WWE Championship he so badly craves. Any number of legends could show up to do a three-month program with Rhodes en route to WrestleMania 39. Seth Rollins could once again be a thorn in his side, pitching him over the top rope as ring rust rears its ugly head.

It could be any number of people. The point is that any of the 29 other men in the match could set off a feud by eliminating fan favorite Cody Rhodes as the fight winds down. This would be especially effective if a different babyface—hello, Sami Zayn—wins after Cody is pitched to the outside by a heel. If done effectively, the elimination could kick-start a red-hot feud for WWE to build on in the coming months.

Cody Rhodes’ Story Deserves More Time To Slow Burn

The timing of Rhodes’ injury was brutal. His match against Rollins at Hell in a Cell was likely the end of that feud, freeing him up for a fresh storyline. It’s impossible to know what that might have looked like, but WWE could have given his title chase the slow burn it deserves over the last eight months. How enormous would Cody Rhodes Vs. Roman Reigns feel if that was the clear direction the company was heading in toward WrestleMania. Imagine it’d been Cody in the ring over the last few months, fighting back against The Bloodline instead of (or alongside) Kevin Owens.

That extra build would have made a Rhodes championship win at the biggest show of the year feel like the big deal that it is. WWE still has time to build to that fight if it wants to, but this championship chase is a one-time chance for body Cody and the company he returned to tell a unique story. The months between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania might not be able to contain the emotionality of it all. Rhodes might not have enough time to handle storyline setbacks, thus causing fans not to react as positively as they would have otherwise.

Then again, the man did just push through an extensive and hellacious rehab process. There’s a debate about whether WWE did a good enough job shining a spotlight on Cody Rhodes’ pectoral rehab over the last several months, but that’s a moot point now. He’ll be in the Royal Rumble, vying for a spot at WrestleMania 39 to achieve his father’s dream. It’s just tough to shake the feeling that the line between those two events is too direct for Triple H and WWE. After all, the money is in the chase, and winning the Rumble and automatically getting that title shot now seems too simple, given everything Cody Rhodes has dealt with to get to this point. Call it a hunch, but WWE has something up its sleeve for The American Nightmare this weekend.

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