Cody Rhodes (real name Cody Runnels) announced today that he has asked for his release from the WWE, bringing his ten year career with the wrestling promotion to a close. Rhodes is the son of deceased wrestling legend Dusty "the American Dream" Rhodes and the brother of WWE Superstar Goldust. After wrestling under several gimmicks under his normal ring, Rhodes adopted his brother's painted look as the supervillain-themed wrestler Stardust. As Stardust, Rhodes got his biggest mainstream exposure to date as he feuded with Arrow star Stephen Amell for months, which culminated in a match at last year's Summerslam event.
Although Rhodes was never a main eventer, many wrestling fans appreciated his hard work inside the ring and his respect for "kayfabe", the portrayal of the staged events in and out of a wrestling ring as real. As Stardust, Rhodes rarely broke kayfabe and even conducted interviews for mainstream media "in character".
Since Rhodes is only 30 years old, he still has a long life ahead of him. Here's five possibilities for the next step in Rhodes' career:
Pursue a Career in the Indies
Whenever a wrestler either quits or is released by the WWE, many fans immediately presume that he'll continue his career at one of the many independent wrestling circuits in the US or abroad. As an established wrestler (and as Dusty Rhodes' son), most promotions would welcome Cody with open arms either as a permanent roster member or for a one off appearance. The two obvious promotions that could use Rhodes' help are Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling. While Ring of Honor has plenty of young talent, they lack a major draw at the moment and have suffered some stagnancy in their storylines. New Japan, on the other hand, recently lost some major talent to the WWE and has yet to replenish their roster.
As Rhodes is only 30, he still has plenty of time to revitalize his career outside the WWE. Most wrestlers don't reach their "primes" until they hit their mid-thirties, so Cody's best days as a wrestling star could still be in front of him.prevnext
A successful wrestler is half athlete and half actor. Many wrestlers have gone on to have successful television careers after wrestling. While you wouldn't know it when he plays Stardust, Rhodes is actually a pretty attractive fellow, with both the physique and a handsome face perfect for a stint on television. Rhodes actually had a guest role on Warehouse 13 a few years ago, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him continue his acting career if he's finished with wrestling all together.
Given his ties to Arrow star Stephen Amell and his love of superheroes, we wouldn't be surprised to see Rhodes pop up in some sort of guest role on a comic book show sometime next season.prevnext
Considering Rhodes has borrowed costume ideas from supervillains like Mister Sinister and Archangel, it shouldn't come as a shock that Rhodes is a big superhero fan. Rhodes is an established X-Men fan and has also named the Inhumans as some of his favorite characters. Luckily, Marvel seems to love hiring wrestlers as writers, and currently has ex-WWE wrestler CM Punk on staff as the co-writer a Drax the Destroyer comic series. Rhodes clearly understands the mind of a supervillain and Rhodes would bring a secondary audience of wrestling fans to any comic book he writes.prevnext
Roddy Piper, Goldberg and the Rock are just some of the many wrestlers who successfully transitioned from wrestling to becoming a successful Hollywood star. So what's stopping Cody Rhodes from becoming the next big name in Hollywood? As the son of a wrestling legend and having spent the last decade on television, Rhodes already has some name recognition. Plus, Rhodes has spent the last three years playing a character on television, so he clearly has a bit more acting talent than the average wrestler.prevnext
Teaching the Next Generation of Wrestlers0comments
Although Cody's father Dusty Rhodes had a celebrated career inside the wrestling ring, many wrestling insiders appreciated Dusty's behind the scenes roles and responsibilities. Rhodes was a well-known booker for WCW, planning out storylines and innovating the "Dusty Finish", a false finish when a wrestler pins his opponent while the referee is knocked out. When Dusty returned to the WWE in 2006, he became involved with the WWE's developmental program and eventually became a writer and trainer for NXT. Rhodes was a key mentor for Kevin Owens, Bayley, Paige and countless other wrestlers who came up through the WWE developmental system.
After Dusty passed away last year, Cody seemed to take a bigger role in promoting his father's legacy. Cody announced the "Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic" tournament for NXT and helped unveil a statue in Dusty's likeness last month at Wrestlemania. Cody could continue his father's legacy by opening a wrestling school or becoming a trainer for the next generation of wrestling. A Rhodes Family School would allow Cody to pass on the lessons that his father to many more wrestlers and keep the Rhodes family name synonymous with wrestling for future generations.prev