Has Cody Rhodes Become The New People”s Champion In WWE?

Recently, there have been a lot of heated discussions online about the whole Cody Rhodes situation we”re seeing. Many believe it was wrong to take him out of his main event spot against Roman Reigns in favor of The Rock getting this spot instead. For his part, Triple H seemed to be ready to move forward with Rhodes/Reigns at WrestleMania 40. Then CM Punk was injured and Brock Lesnar had to be removed for, well, “reasons” that WWE would rather not talk about.

It made sense to add more star power to the WrestleMania event. Therefore, adding The Rock was a smart move in many ways. The problem is how they went about doing it. While WWE might try to play all of this off as some elaborate “worked shoot” move that they did to fool us all, that would be total BS. More than likely, WWE was trying to see how invested people were in Cody finishing his story.

Basically, would they be okay with him finishing it at another event this year or even at WrestleMania 41? Would they be cool with The Rock taking the main event and having a match with Roman Reigns? After all, fans clearly have wanted to see Rock/Reigns for a long time. WrestleMania is a great time and place to have this type of match as well. With Punk and Lesnar out, Seth Rollins needed a top-level opponent for the show anyway. By having Cody decide to challenge Rollins instead, you effectively kill two birds with one stone.

As in, you fix most of your problems in one move. The issue is that WWE needed to see if fans would buy into it. To us, that is why we saw what we saw on SmackDown last Friday.

The Unexpected Reaction

Cody Rhodes - #WantWantCody Signs
[Image via WWE]

WWE knew, they had to, that fans were going to react online. WWE effectively gave us Cody Rhodes winning the Royal Rumble, pointing at Roman Reigns, and then told us we now were not getting that match. There was absolutely no logic in this, which is not the type of storytelling Triple H has been known for. According to Fightful, when Cody was asked to go out and deliver the promo he gave on SmackDown, he was not happy about it.

He reportedly told WWE officials that they “would not get the reaction they were hoping for” with The Rock. Rhodes was then said to have been in a “somber mood after” he went to the back. WrestleVotes then claimed that while WWE heavily leaned into the viral reaction to Rock”s return, certain people were “totally thrown off” by the now infamous “Rocky Sucks!” chants on WWE RAW this past Monday.

More than likely, these certain people were possibly Brian Gewirtz, who has been part of WWE”s creative team in the past. Gewirtz wrote a lot of The Rock”s promos with him and was so good that he became part of Rock”s team at Seven Bucks ProductionsPWInsider claims he will be with WWE at the upcoming Elimination Chamber PLE in Perth, Australia and he”ll be at every show for the build-up to WrestleMania 40.

The Rock himself is potentially also shocked by how fans have reacted toward him as of late, especially the recent tribalistic nature fans have taken.

Cody knew that this move would cause a ton of problems for WWE, and he was correct.

The Unconnected:

Yet if the move was about testing the waters, then WWE should now clearly know that Rock/Reigns is the worst move they could make. While Cody”s ideology was correct, this had to be proven to the TKO Group Board.

The TKO Group Board of Directors is rumored to be the most shocked of anyone. They expected fans to be completely into this move. The problem was two-fold though. First, the setup for how The Rock is getting his match with Reigns is completely nonsensical. We”re also seeing Cody give up on his dream after winning back-t0-back Rumbles just to get to this point. He then literally points directly to Roman, and then suddenly decides he won”t fight him.

Now his story is about taking everything away from Reigns when that was never the plan or intended goal of the story beforehand. This just does not make any sense, so it”s not shocking that fans have pushed back.

Yet this TKO Group Board is filled with people who know the world of Boxing and MMA, as well as sports in general and technology. They understand the idea of making the biggest fights possible as often as they can. It makes sense to give bigger names title fights at random, because you know they”ll sell more PPV buys. Yet you cannot run the WWE like one runs the UFC, as the models are completely different. This is why the TKO Group Board does not need to stick their nose in areas they have no business messing with.

They were shocked by the reaction fans had to Rock/Reigns because they don”t understand professional wrestling. The rest of us completely understand how we got here.

The People”s Champion Who Does Not Care About The People

The Rock - Football Game
[Image via John McCoy/Associated Press]

The Rock calls himself “The People”s Champion,” a moniker the great Muhammad Ali once used for himself. While Ali did give this to Rock to use, the difference is that Ali remained the champion of the people his entire career. He constantly took up for the little guy, pushed against unnecessary wars, and fought back against racism as often as he could. Ali was, without a doubt, a champion of the people. To be fair, The Rock has done a lot of good things for people too.

However, when it comes to the people of WWE…the wrestling fans….he”s seemingly been more about himself than us lately. There have been rumors that The Rock wanted to make Cody Rhodes a bigger babyface, and this whole thing he has done was to ensure that would happen. The issue here is that The Rock sticking himself into a match with Reigns does nothing for Cody.

Keep in mind, despite fan reaction, it has been reported that Rock/Reigns is still 100% the plan for WrestleMania 40. Therefore, if Rock was trying to “help” Cody, this match would not be taking place. It darn sure would never have been put into action randomly like this either. If this was all planned out, then whoever wrote the plan for it needs to be fired.

Rock was clearly not getting a lot of love over this past weekend. Cageside Seats reported that during the height of the heated discussions online, Rock reposted the video of him giving UFC Fighter Themba Gorimbo a house. That only came off as sort of cheap, especially for him. He also posted several videos showing the reaction from fans when he came out on SmackDown. All of this right as the #WeWantCody hashtag was trending #1 worldwide.

The Rock Oddly Ignores His “People” A Lot:

Rock then began to get a lot of heat on his comments, causing some editing to be done to cut out a few less savory comments. There was a lot of stuff people did not get to see from those comments because it was just so flooded with negative reactions from fans. This became so massive that Dwayne Johnson, not as “The Rock,” would later write on his Instagram:

“FEEL the mana ✨ So f#%king blown away by this insane energy from the People. Undeniable – and one of the loudest ovations I’ve ever experienced in my career. Thank you Birmingham, Alabama, thank you WWE, thank you to the man himself, Cody Rhodes – and most importantly, thank you to the People.

Our connection is unbreakable and our bond is ELECTRIC.

~ People’s Champ

ps, tough skin, love the passion”

To most, this came off as completely clueless. Then he ends it with “tough skin, love the passion,” as if to say that he likes that fans are passionate. At the same time, he does not care what we have to say about this match. Is there any wonder why fans chanted “Rocky Sucks!” during the show on Monday?

Cody Rhodes Has Taken Over As The People”s Champion

Cody Rhodes - SmackDown Entrance
[Image via WWE]

One weird thing people are saying on social media is that The Rock helped to make Cody famous. Others say that Rock made Cody the biggest babyface in the company. Meanwhile, others claimed that Rock”s move helped to make Rhodes the clear face of WWE going forward. The problem with all of these statements is that they are a load of crap.

The reason? The Rock did nothing technically. Cody Rhodes was already over and already beloved by fans. The reaction online was not from random new fans. Rather, it was from people who were already big Cody marks. Johnson did not make Rhodes “famous” because he already was. In fact, the reaction to Cody Rhodes online actually showed us how much WWE fans love this guy.

This was already known if you bother to listen to the reactions he gets when he comes out each week. He did not need any help with this, especially not through some convoluted situation with The Rock. Effectively, one thing has happened though. The people have chosen Cody Rhodes over The Rock. No one is in the arena chanting “Cody sucks!” at all. This isn”t AEW, as this version of Cody Rhodes is one of the most beloved people WWE has had in years.

The company knows it too, which is why he has been used at the top of the card. Smartly, Triple H has not booked him to be a champion all year long. Knowing that the story Cody wants to finish will give him the title. Therefore, we”re getting an organic push and use of a figure as a top guy. Fans love him, so it isn”t forced like we were force-fed John Cena and eventually force-fed Roman Reigns for a long time.

“The Codissance Era”

Cody Rhodes - 2024 Royal Rumble Win
[Image via WWE]

There are some online calling this era of the WWE “The Renaissance Era.” The name is sensible, as we”re getting a major comeback. The WWE has been better overall in the last year or two than it was prior. That is all thanks to Triple H and his vision. During this time, WWE has seen record-breaking merchandise sales, attendance figures, and overall profits. Not to mention the massive television/streaming contracts. If the shows were not any good, none of this would be in play.

At the top of this entire era so far has truly been Cody Rhodes. Making this basically “The Codissance Era” as well, as we”re getting a new version of Cody. Obviously, we have seen various versions of him from being a “Dashing One” to Stardust.

Due to WWE being better than it has been in years, fans have even started to come back and watch. This is huge to see for WWE. On top of this, people are seeing Cody at the top of this era looking better than he ever has before. His promos and in-ring work are the best they have ever been, and he is the star his father (Dusty Rhodes) always said he could be.

The fan response for Cody to finish his story is immense right now. Only making his fans even more vocal, while others on the fence have now fully backed Cody. Rhodes said after RAW on Monday to the live crowd:

“Ever since I was a little boy, who grew up loving everything, for you to want me is special. Because I have always wanted you!”

Oh, To Feel Again:

If that does not pull on your heartstrings, you”re simply heartless.

The fact that Cody has made fans feel again, for the first time in years, should tell you how impressive he is. The man is a workhorse who only ever wants to give us what we want. This is the same man who wrestled a Hell in the Cell match with a torn pec. This is the same man who brought prestige back to the WWE Intercontinental Championship many years ago when it desperately needed it. Cody has made history by winning back-to-back Royal Rumble matches now, something he probably never thought he”d do.

We have been given so much by this man, and the people are loving him for it. This is why The Rock can no longer lay claim to the “People”s Champion” moniker. The “people” have chosen a new champion, and that is Cody Rhodes. It does not feel good when someone takes something from you, does it, Dwayne? Except Cody actually earned this.