YMMV / Cody Rhodes

  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Went from underwhelming to this in ROH. Initially the only people interested in his presence were those who felt he had been "misused" by WWE, with his promos and debut match failing to impress most ROH fans. There remained a vocal segment of the fan base who conspicuously had very little to say about Cody, not really caring for him or his push, with most of his fans ending up being those who liked him by association after Cody was revealed to be a member of Bullet Club. However, there are a lot of Bullet Club fans who attend Ring Of Honor shows and buy ROH merchandise, so Cody has about as strong a following as he could hope for.
    • Became this even moreso in February 2018 thanks to a Twitter spat, of all things, with a prominent YouTube wrestling commentator. When asked if he thought Vince McMahon holds people back unfairly in WWE during one of his Twitter Q&A sessions, Cody claimed that Vince doesn't hold people back and that he simply sees flaws in certain talents that fans don't wish to recognize. Many who read Cody's response expressed their view that it was responsibly diplomatic at best, primary among them being one Jeff "Schlegdaddy" Schlegel of OTRSCentral (when he himself was asked about Cody's comments). These critics cited events that would indicate to the contrary, including testimony from other talent who worked there when Cody did as well as a prior written post from Cody himself explaining why he asked for his release from WWE; this led to the two sides going back and forth with each other, but it was a standard fare disagreement at that point. The situation escalated when Cody, having found a Tweet addressed to Schlegel with derogatory criticism of Cody's blatant Foe Yay with Kenny Omega in their Being The Elite storylines, claimed that the person who sent this tweet was Schlegel himself using a dummy account, ostensibly accusing Schlegel of both homophobia and using sockpuppet accounts. Despite the other Tweeter's profile claiming for years that he hailed from New Zealand, Schlegel vociferously attacking Cody's allegation as a baseless lie, and even other spectators of the debate asking Cody for evidence, Cody continued to maintain his claim as fact but has yet to produce anything that would verify it. This has caused many who notice the situation to completely wash their hands of any respect for either Rhodes or Schlegel depending on whose accounting they believe.
  • Breakup Breakout: In regards to Legacy, he has fared much better than Ted DiBiase, who in 2013 left the company. After the split Cody became Dashing, while Ted was given his father's gimmick, which didn't help him much. He then teamed with Cody again during Cody's disfigurement gimmick, only to grow tired of the "undashing" Cody's abuse, turn face and develop the DiBiase Posse gimmick, and it looked like he would avert this. Sadly, injuries in the middle of a push halted all this and he ended up leaving WWE after a year of not being used. Cody, meanwhile, at least got two tag team title runs with his brother Goldust before calling it quits in 2016.
    • His stock has risen since he left WWE. He participated in the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles, appeared at Wrestle Kingdom 11, won the GFW NEX*GEN Championship, NEW Heavyweight Championship, WCPW Internet Championship, and ROH World Championship, and is an increasingly important player in Bullet Club.
  • Broken Base:
    • There are fans who prefer Cody Rhodes and there are fans who prefer Stardust. The man himself is a case of his own — although he initially felt the need to finish Stardust's story after his dad's passing, his written statement about his release a year later clearly shows that the man himself prefers Cody Rhodes.
    • Since leaving WWE, some say he's adapted really well to working New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and the independent circuit, with both very solid ring work and a determined character. Others say his matches are nothing to write home about, his charisma is lacking, he only looked good in comparison to some of what WWE was pushing, and he only exists in the business because WWE wanted to give Dusty's son a chance.
    • How good is he as a candidate for the next leader of Bullet Club? Is he a bad choice to replace Kenny Omega because he's not as spectacular a wrestler as Omega? Should Omega not be removed at all because the Elite brand has produced a merchandise bonanza that will then be missing from Bullet Club? Is he great for the role because of his ability to draw heat and maintain a heelish demeanor even among the pseudo-babyface Elite contingent, with his merely being a good wrestler actually working in his favor because he won't be praised to kingdom come like Omega? Or would Tama Tonga be better for the same reasons plus being one of Bullet Club's original founders and a NJPW loyalist without the "taint" of brand association with the Elite?
  • Designated Hero: During his Heel–Face Turn and feud with Damien Sandow. Cody is treated as justified because Sandow "betrayed" his friend to win the MitB briefcase... except the two openly agreed that it was may the best man win between them when it came to the match. It's even worse when you consider a similar storyline has been used before with Rey Mysterio Jr. & Batista, but Batista is seen as the bad guy for being petty and snapping at his friend for not letting him win.
    • Corrected when Cody revealed the double-cross only upset him enough to question Sandow, and what set him off was realizing at that point that his best friend was such a major conceited ass.
  • Ear Worm: "WOOOOOOOAH-OH! YOU'RE ONLY SMOKE AND MIRRORS!
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: A couple of people have pointed out that his long jacket (which is white and a bright red) opens right at his trunks, drawing far too much attention to his groin area.
    • More generally, others have noticed that the cut of his most recent style trunks make them look like Underoos, and when combined with his wiry build and very youthful appearance, creates something of an uncomfortable image.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • Both in and out of kayfabe for Rhodes' retool into a psychotic heel. He spent the first part of his WWE career in a stable led by arguably one of the best psychotic heels on the roster. He has already shown himself to have charisma (arguably more than Orton), and probably picked up a few tips on how to play that sort of part well - to say nothing of him being a second-generation Superstar. In kayfabe, Orton's character should have been more of a loner, and his relationship with Rhodes likely wouldn't have worked if Rhodes didn't have this side to him to begin with. Makes even more sense in the wrestling style of DiBiase and Rhodes during Legacy.
    • Regarding the specific self-perception that he lost all his Informed Attractiveness when he got his nose broken by Rey Mysterio, which is what caused his character to go insane at the time. Perhaps the fact that he had to get reconstructive surgery meant to him that his face was no longer pure, which to him made it ugly and garbage as a result. Think of a mix of Death the Kid, Patrick Bateman, and Mankind. He's even hinted at this in an interview about the neo-classic Intercontinental title belt where he was called out on his obsession with appearances, saying that people are hideous inside and out and that he himself was "untarnished" until he was "mauled" and lost "the one thing [he] had over everyone else."
    • When Cody assaulted Damien Sandow near-immediately for pulling a competitive double-cross in the every-man-for-himself Money in the Bank ladder match, a lot of people thought there was no way he should be taking it that hard. Then he revealed that he actually didn't, but it caused him to look at Sandow objectively and thus what really got to him was seeing Sandow for the ego-maniacal prick he really is. Looking back at the difference between the aftermath of that incident and various other similar ones really highlights what Cody was talking about. Rey Mysterio wasn't exactly happy about the fact that neither he nor his best friend Batista won the world title four-way at Bragging Rights 2010 before Batista turned on him viciously for having broken up a possible pinfall. When TNA's Frankie Kazarian pinned his best friend Christopher Daniels in a tag match where they were on opposite sides just days before MITB'13, Kaz did celebrate winning, but quickly hashed it out with Daniels to where they were back on the same page within a minute. Sandow merely looked down at Rhodes with this pompous grin on his face and didn't even really speak to him at all. It screamed You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.
  • Fridge Logic: The commentators and wrestlers made a lot of noise about "Dashing" Cody shaving his legs...but...doesn't every single other male wrestler in WWE have shaved legs?
  • Genius Bonus: The name "Stardust", for fans of Dusty Rhodes' independent "Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling" promotion in the early 2000's, where Cody was a ref under the nickname "The Stardust Kid".
  • Growing the Beard: While the "Dashing", "Undashing" and Stardust gimmicks let Cody show off as being more than a generic wrestler, Cody's heel turn in ROH and American Nightmare gimmick have finally proved that Cody can be a main eventer.
  • Ham and Cheese: Up to Eleven as Stardust.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Stardust's last public words to his father were, "Cody Rhodes is dead. And as far as I'm concerned, so is my father." Dusty Rhodes died less than four months later on 6/11/15. Whoops. Adding to the punch, Cody Rhodes never returned to WWE either. Despite the man's best attempts to make it happen behind the scenes, he was stuck as Stardust even through 2016 as the character treaded nowhere, prompting him to ask his release.
    • Cody's new theme "Kingdom" features the line "You took my dreams, but not my name", and then WWE filed bullshit legal action to stop Cody using his surname on the independent circuit.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Did several commercials for Gilette razors in 2009. In 2013, cue mustache.
    • While he and Goldust were Tag Team Champions, during one of the semi-frequent Q&A's he does on Twitter to pass the time in airports or long car rides, someone asked him if he planned to get new gear so they would match. His response was something to the effect of "No, and having us match doesn't seem all that important." Cue mid-2014...
    • The shorter, dark-green version of his entrance hoodie which he used when he first teamed with Goldust as the Brotherhood could almost be reminiscent of a Green Arrow outfit. Come 2015 as Stardust, he finds himself in a SummerSlam celebrity feud with Arrow lead star Stephen Amell. Then, just about a month and a half after SummerSlam, Amell's version of Oliver Queen finally becomes the full-on Green Arrow complete with sleeveless hoodie. He then later did a guest role on Season 5 of Arrow with an original character powered by a drug called Stardust, once again fighting Amell. And then in late 2017 Cody himself would induct Amell into the Bullet Club.
  • Ho Yay: As a member of Legacy. One of their Fan Nicknames was "The Ambiguously Gay Trio", due to their constant close contact and inability to ever wear pants.
    • YMMV on this, but his tag team with Damien Sandow, Team Rhodes Scholars, has taken to celebrating their victories by giving each other full-body hugs. Keep in mind that they've just finished a match, so they're sweaty. Actually, the subtext has gotten so strong that it's discussed in-universe, on Cody's end in particular - and Cody's Camp Straight personality likely doesn't do him any favors, either. For what it's worth, though, he has expressed a passing interest in Kaitlyn, and he and Sandow associated with the Bella Twins for a while...
    • Considering Cody is so young looking and Sandow has a full Badass Beard going on, growing his "love-stache" started looking a little like a little kid who wants to look like his older brother.
    • His explanation for turning on Sandow almost sounds like someone realizing how much of a douchebag their significant other was after being too in love to notice.
  • Memetic Molester: As Stardust.
  • Memetic Mutation: His mustache.
    • "WHOOOOA-OH..."
    • Fuck the Revival!note 
  • Moral Event Horizon: Removing Rey Mysterio's mask on national television for breaking his nose - which he's mostly responsible for by removing the protective padding around Rey's knee-brace.
  • Narm Charm: "Smoke And Mirrors V1". It's so 80s it hurts, but you can't help but love it.
  • Older Than They Think: He was giving "Dashing" tips way back in the middle of 2009 on WWE.com during a promotion by WWE partnering with Gillette called "Be a Superstar". Now, of course he wasn't referring to himself as "Dashing" and his tips were more serious and not hammed up like they became, but it's a subtle early look at his post-Legacy gimmick.
    • Much like Stardust was originally the name of one of his father's gimmicks, his latest nickname "The American Nightmare" was used by his half-brother Dustin during his late 90s run in WCW.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Some fans have pointed out that the original version of "Smoke and Mirrors" sounds almost like a carbon copy of the Baywatch theme song.
  • Tear Jerker: Said in a blog that his one goal in wrestling was to put the WWE title belt on his dad's shoulder (Dusty only ever held it in a Dusty Finish). That will never happen now.
  • What an Idiot!: Got punched out by Big Show for mouthing off at him over his WrestleMania victories, or lack thereof, minutes after Big Show had said he would knock his lights out if he opened his mouth again.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds/Jerkass Woobie: Both the masked and Heel!Stardust versions of Cody Rhodes have been real jerks, but it's probably worth mentioning that each was brought about by severe mental anguish (a loss of self-esteem from a sudden unwelcome change in appearance, and then a period of being fired, being re-hired, and going on an awful losing streak for his transformation into Stardust). Maybe he'd have been alright if someone just could have gotten him a therapist.
    • One could argue the same is also true of the American Nightmare with his goal of replacing Kenny Omega as the leader of Bullet Club. The man who brought him into the hottest group in wrestling, who he thought was a friend and a frontrunner he could depend on, turned out to be a petty, self-aggrandizing, vindictive prick who returned his concern with a spiteful echo, tried to poison another member for daring to have misgivings, accused him of conniving only to turn around and secretly hit on his wife, and even pulled rank on him when he tried to beat down an enemy like Bullet Club does just because that somebody was precious to Kenny. Disappointed and paranoid both for his position and for the state of Bullet Club itself, he had to do something to "fix" the Omega "problem".
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/CodyRhodes