Follow TV Tropes


Wrestling / Cody Rhodes

Go To
The Prince of Professional Wrestling.
The American Nightmare.

"I'm the least Rhodes of the Rhodes, but if you give me a pair of boots, I've got the basics."
AEW Double or Nothing 2019 PPV Promo

"Wrestling has more than one royal family."

Cody Garrett Runnels Rhodesnote  (born June 30, 1985) is an American professional wrestler who is currently working for WWE. He is the half-brother of fellow WWE veteran Dustin "Goldust" Rhodes and the son of WWE Hall of Famer "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes is a one-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, two-time Intercontinental Champion, three-time World Tag Team Champion (once with Hardcore Holly and twice with Ted DiBiase Jr.), and three-time WWE Tag Team Champion (twice with his brother Goldust and once with Drew McIntyre), one-time ROH World Champion, one-time ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champion (w/The Young Bucks), one-time IWGP United States Champion, and three-time - and inaugural - AEW TNT Champion.

In 2016, after working two years under the alternate persona Stardust, Rhodes asked for and was granted his release from WWE. He has since embarked on a busy indie career, making appearances in Evolve, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, TNA, and various other indie promotions under the names Cody or Cody R (due to legal reasons, he could not use the Cody Rhodes name outside of WWE until November 2020, when he was introduced again as Cody Rhodes at Full Gear). He was announced to be the newest member of the Bullet Club in New Japan Pro-Wrestling as announced by the group's leader Kenny Omega, and made his debut for the faction in the January 4, 2017 Tokyo Dome show. Afterwards he, Omega and the Young Bucks became known as The Elite and eventually split off from Bullet Club.

Since then, describing his post-WWE career as "prolific" has been an understatement. Cody has since been traveling all across the world, increasing his stock, and becoming one of the biggest names in Independent Wrestling, winning World Championships and (alongside The Young Bucks) being behind All In, one of the most ambitious shows in all of Professional Wrestling. With each passing success Cody has had, it seems like the sky is the limit for him. Most recently, he and The Young Bucks co-founded All Elite Wrestling with financial backing from the owners of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, with the first shows run in 2019.

In 2022, after having been working AEW shows without a contract for the past few months, it was announced that Cody would be leaving AEW, alongside his wife Brandi, making him a free agent. At WrestleMania 38, he has officially come back to WWE, facing Seth Rollins in his return match.

"Adrenaline, in my soul, every trope out of control":

  • The '80s: Strongly evoked by his entrance theme, "Smoke and Mirrors", until it got altered in 2011.
  • The Ace: Cody, more or less, is fundamentally good at everything a wrestler needs to succeed. He's strong enough to lift Braun Strowman on his shoulders, athletic enough to do top rope high-flying and routinely run half-hour matches, apparently made of adamantine, very photogenic and marketable, and amazingly charismatic. As much as his first WWE run didn't really display it, Cody's staggering list of accomplishments in the time since stands as the living proof of just how excellent he is at the family business.
  • Action Dad: He has a daughter, born on June 2021, with Cody even mentioning her during his return promo to WWE on the Raw after WrestleMania 38.
  • Affably Evil: As "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, he wanted everyone to look as good as he did; the only thing stopping him from being a good guy was his narcissism.
  • Always Someone Better: To Seth Rollins upon his WWE return in 2022. Rollins lost three straight PPV matches to Cody. The last one was especially blatant considering how much it favored Rollins, at it was in Hell in a Cell, while Cody was suffering a torn pectoral muscle. Rollins still lost, effectively establishing Cody as his overall superior.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Texas bullrope was described as this in his Hell in a Cell match with Seth Rollins, with Corey Graves openly calling it a "rite of passage" in the Rhodes family. Both Cody's father and brother competed in dozens of bullrope matches, and while Cody himself doesn't have their experience, he was very well-trained in its usage. Rollins couldn't even touch Cody when they were attached by a bullrope at Cody's insistence and subsequently got his ass kicked.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Rey Mysterio, which started when Rey accidentally broke his nose when performing the 619, and caused Cody to turn slightly insane.
    • Randy Orton; the two have not seen eye to eye since the break up of Legacy.
    • Triple H; by default in Legacy because that was who Orton was feuding with. Has become a thorn in his side when he was fired after not winning a match against Orton and then basically going after the Rhodes family.
    • Stephen Amell of Arrow; Stardust became convinced that Amell, an actor, is really Oliver Queen. So, he taunted him until Amell agreed to fight him in SummerSlam. Cody, however, regards Amell as a close friend, being featured on an episode of Arrow and inducting him as a Guest-Star Party Member of the Bullet Club.
    • Seth Rollins became Cody's enemy following Cody's return to WWE. While originally it seemed a case of wrong place, wrong time (Rollins had sought for weeks to have a match at WrestleMania, and Mr. McMahon apparently saw fit to pit him against Rhodes, who had just returned to the company), Rollins would later elaborate that, having turned himself into a WWE main eventer during the time Cody was away, he was absolutely seething with hate at the idea that Cody in the meantime built something that threatened WWE's hegemony, only to be graciously welcomed back. Rollins' hatred of Cody would only grow when he proved unable to beat Cody at all in a one-on-one match, no matter how much the circumstances favored him over his rival.
  • Ascended Meme
    • According to The John Cena Experience DVD, even John Cena loves singing "Smoke and Mirrors". It becomes even funnier when you hear Chris Jericho joining in.
      John Cena: Woooooooah-oh! You're only Steve Lombardi! Woooooooah-oh! There goes Cody Rhodes!
    • Wade Barrett credits Cody for having created the "Bad News" gimmick while hamming it up in the locker room about how Wade was so much older than him and how he remembered watching Barrett wrestle in the late '80s as a character who liked to give bad news to people, even doing the "I'M AFRAID I'VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS…" lines. The story eventually got to Vince McMahon himself who thought that it was hysterical and demanded that it become an actual gimmick, to the delight of everyone.
    • His super hearing from the BTE skits, while memetic by itself, becomes canon in the official WWE TikTok.
  • Ax-Crazy: It doesn't always show, but Cody does have a tendency of going completely off the deep end when he loses his temper - even as a Face.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: As the Executive Vice President of All Elite Wrestling, Cody shows up to any event or episode of Dynamite where he's not booked to wrestle in a nice sharp suit, although he's not afraid to start a fight while still wearing it if he has to.
  • Badass Longcoat: Started wearing a pretty fancy longcoat since WrestleMania 28.
  • Bash Brothers: In 2013, he teamed up with his older brother Goldust. The following year, he would almost become his older brother, adopting a similar gold-and-black jumpsuit and facepaint and renaming himself "Stardust".
  • Bastard Understudy: Was brought into Bullet Club by Kenny Omega, but then went on to usurp his position. It wasn't his original intention, but when Omega took a white-flag moment of concern and returned it with a white-flag moment of pettiness, then went on to secretly make moves on his wife, get him branded as a traitor during drunken rants, attempt to poison fellow Bullet Club member Tama Tonga, and even question his and others' involvement in a parody "Invasion of Raw" skit, Cody began to see Kenny as not being a fitting Bullet Club leader. This culminated in Cody laying out Kenny Omega with the Cross Rhodes after Omega lost his IWGP United States Championship at the end of January 2018, leading to a heated feud that lasted almost six months and ultimately got them both along with all their friends in The Elite exiled from Bullet Club.
  • Becoming the Mask: In-universe, he seemed to have lost his original personality to Stardust. It created tension between him and Goldust before he eventually split with him after Goldust tried to reason with him to "bring" Cody back.
  • Berserk Button:
    • As "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, don't slap him across the face… or better yet, do, because the results tend to be hilarious.
      "Dashing" Cody Rhodes: NOT THE FACE!
    • During his feud with Goldust as Stardust, whenever his brother or father calls him Cody. Lampshaded by the audience and a number of wrestlers after that. Opponents have called him Cody to distract him, while the audience tends to shout Cody during his entrance and during matches. While he doesn't go outright berserk at that, he does show some obvious reaction.
  • Big Good: As an executive vice president and one of the most over babyfaces in the company, Cody is this in AEW to a T.
  • Blood Is the New Black: That time Randy Orton cracked him over the head with the ring bell and busted him open legit. The resulting crimson mask was probably the first time in a while that a WWE match made a slight blip on the Muta scale.
    • Subsequently like his dad, some of his big matches have him being busted open.
  • Book Ends: Began and ended his run with New Japan with a match against Juice Robinson, although the outcomes varied. This was more of Juice having taken a level in badass in the two years between those bouts.
    • He also began and ended his AEW run with 5-Star matches. First against his brother Dustin and his last against Sammy Guevara
  • Brick Joke: Cody is in a match with Brandi as his valet. Brandi gets in the ring and confronts one of his opponents for some reason. Cody ends up accidentally attacking Brandi with one of his big moves instead of said opponent. The "Pina Colada" comes on and Joey Ryan prances out as his usual sleazy self. Joey rolls Brandi to the apron and then carries her out to safety.
  • Bridal Carry: To Summer Rae, whom he got behind when she climbed the apron to distract his brother Goldust during his match with Fandango, so she would not get her. While thankful, Summer immediately started acting like she did not like it when Fandango got jealous.
  • Brown Bag Mask: During his masked gimmick, he handed these out at ringside to the front-row fans, as well as placing them over the heads of his defeated opponents, the idea is that he was "doing them a favor" by hiding what he perceives as their hideousness from the world. Randy Orton put one over Cody's head after defeating him in a brutal street fight, putting an end to it.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Did this to The Big Show over his less than stellar WrestleMania record. Big Show is 7ft tall, weighs over 400 pounds, while Cody's 6ft and weighs closer to 200 pounds. Dude, what the hell!? As his father, Dusty said, he poked a Grizzly bear.
  • The Bus Came Back: After he was fired in-universe by Triple H (in real life it was so that he could take some time off and enjoy the married life), he returned to the WWE after he and Goldust defeated The Shield at Battleground on October 6, 2013. They would capture the WWE Tag Team Championship from Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns on the October 14 episode of Raw.
  • Butt-Monkey: While a member of Legacy, Cody would always be the one to end up taking the fall first, taken out of a thing, or seen as the lesser member. After leaving, he alternated between this and Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, before fully migrated into badass with his maniacal beatdown of Randy Orton.
  • Cain and Abel: Became the Cain to Goldust's Abel in the end when they became embroiled in a feud.
  • Camp Straight: As "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, he shaves his legs, wears lip gloss (to keep his lips from drying out, he claims), and paints nails, but otherwise still shows interest in women…when not focused on himself. One time CM Punk said on commentary that Cody Rhodes and Pat Patterson have a lot in common. Keep in mind that Patterson is gay. Or go back and rewatch that segment at the 2010 TLC in which Rhodes was stripped to his underwear by Big Show. On his dress socks he was wearing garters, which were common for men in the early 20th century, but now just seem effeminate.
  • Character Development:
    • Cody's entire WWE run has been nothing but character development:
      • His mentoring of the acrofatic Husky Harris on NXT made Cody realize how good looking he actually was, leading to the birth of "Dashing".
      • A few months later and Rey Mysterio's knee brace breaking Cody's nose, making him go psychotic about how "disfigured" he became.
      • Then some more months later, Orton destroyed Rhodes' protective mask, and the disfigured gimmick disappeared, but he still retained his Darker and Edgier attitude.
      • Then, after a losing streak, he stopped wrestling altogether for several weeks, finally coming back as Stardust. His character development is perfectly summarized in this reddit thread. Stardust has gone from a mask that Cody would wear when teaming with his brother to a full-blown villainous persona to the point that he rejects that he is Cody.
      • Cody's entire post-WWE run from 2016 to 2022 has kept his WWE origins as a constant element of his backstory, mainly as a driving force behind him wanting to prove the company wrong and show he could be a main event player as opposed to just filling the numbers as a run of the mill roster member, although this is a downplayed example which would only be brought up very sparingly. This culminated in his return to WWE with his entire character from the indies and AEW almost 100% retained between his music, entrance graphics and gimmick intact when such a retention is incredibly rare - especially for the man responsible for creating WWE's biggest competition within North America to date, and who even came back before Vince McMahon left the company.
  • Charlie Brown from Outta Town: Fuego Dos is definitely not Cody Rhodes, even with "Dream" tattoed on his left pec.
  • Cheap Heat: At 2010's Tables, Ladders & Chairs event, he got some for remarking that the city of Houston (which was designated America's fattest city) suffers from "irritable jowl syndrome."
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Stardust. Dear sweet mother of god, STARDUST. Goldust has described himself as the "normal" one in the partnership. Think about the implications of that for a second. If you still doubt his lack of sanity, take a look at any of his interviews. When he is said to hail from "The Fifth Dimension", you know something's not right with his mind.
  • Co-Dragons: With Ted DiBiase Jr. to Randy Orton in Legacy.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Cody's a slimy bastard, but he's a cunning slimy bastard. Like the time he proceeded to knock The Big Show silly after stunning him, then handcuffing him to the ropes.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Switches between NJPW, Defiant (formerly WCPW), and ROH. TNA used to be a part of this lineup for awhile.
  • Confusion Fu: His Stardust moveset features virtually none of the moves that he employed in his repertoire as Cody Rhodes. Even though it's been all but acknowledged on-screen that Stardust is (or at least once was) Cody. This may be intentional, as opponents who have come to expect Cody to do certain things in the ring have now been thrown completely off by Stardust's unique offense.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Cody's moveset includes several moves picked up from his former partners:
      • His double leg slam comes from Hardcore Holly's Alabama Slam.
      • His dropdown uppercut is a move picked up from his brother, Goldust.
      • His stomps and knee drops on downed opponents look decidedly Ortonesque. Speaking of Orton, during Cody's tour of the indy scene he started using a springboard cutter type move which, other than the jump off the middle rope, is functionally identical to Randy's RKO.
      • He's used his old tag partner Ted DiBiase's following lariat. Where the guy runs the ropes and Cody immediately follows right behind them with a clothesline.
      • Cody even picks up moves from his former rivals; the Corkscrew Sunset Flip out of the corner was a staple of Booker T during his prime WWE years. He's also been using the Harley Race high knee that was a Triple H signature move.
      • Stardust has, once or twice, broken into a random cartwheel in the middle of the match. While this sort of spontaneity isn't terribly out of character for Stardust, fans with good memories will remember that the cartwheel was an in-ring taunt of sorts used by Cody's old tag partner, Damien Sandow.
    • One that was rarely acknowledged: During the first season of WWE NXT, he was the "mentor" to Husky Harris, the son of Mike Rotunda and grandson of WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Mulligan. Back in the 1980s in Florida, Mulligan, his son Barry Windham and Rotunda were members of Dusty Rhodes' Family.
    • In his WCPW announcement video, both King Ross and Jack The Jobber dressed up as Cody's Dashing Cody Rhodes and Stardust gimmicks. He also tried to use his Dashing Cody Rhodes clear face protector as a weapon when he challenged Joseph Connors for the WCPW Championship.
  • Creepy Monotone: After he went insane, he got this kind of voice going. It got better once he lost his mask.
  • The Dandy: His image conscious "Dashing" character veered dangerously close to Gorgeous George at times.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • With his psychotic character turn, his entrance music has become slower and creepier. It's really just a lower instrumental of his theme song, except it keeps the "WHOOOOOAH", and makes it lower. And creepy.
    • After his mask removal, he got yet another Dark Reprise. The remix is less creepy but more aggressive, with the original lyrics close to being restored ("No one knows and no one cares" however was changed to "I don't know and I don't give a damn").
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Since he's been masked and then unmasked again, almost no traces of his "Dashing" persona show up, even though (in storyline) his face has been repaired. The argument could easily be made that he's better for it.
  • Death Glare: The look he gave his apparently former friend Damien Sandow, whom upended Cody to win the MITB briefcase, was partly this and also one of shock at the seeming betrayal of his best friend.
  • Defector from Decadence: With Ted DiBiase in Legacy. But then it was the decadence that came out smelling like roses!
  • Demoted to Extra: Cody Rhodes was relegated to competing on WWE Superstars while fellow heels such as Daniel Bryan, Alberto Del Rio, The Big Show, Dolph Ziggler, and even Damien Sandow and Heath Slater were getting the spotlight instead of him, for a few weeks before he got better and got back in the spotlight. Unfortunately, in the latter part of his WWE career he served as the jobber to the stars on Raw and SmackDown while occasionally competing on WWE Superstars, before being only mostly featured on Superstars and Main Event.
  • Despair Event Horizon: A losing streak with his brother and partner Goldust from February–May 2014 seemed to have pushed him over this, as in June he quit wrestling and stood in the back wearing a suit as he recruited all manner of different people other than himself to team with Goldust to win a match, until two weeks later, where he, or should we say "Stardust", partnered with Goldust and finally picked up a win over Ryback and Curtis Axel.
  • Determinator: Not that he wasn't before but a standout example is him taking 10 lashes and still managing to get to his feet at the end of it. That is until MJF intervened.
    • As if the ten lashes weren't enough, Cody showed everyone how far he was willing to go to get to MJF. Facing Wardlow in a steel cage match as per the stipulations set by MJF, Cody dealt in a bloody battle. In order to finish Wardlow off, he scaled the twenty foot tall cage and, without hesitation, leapt off the top with a moonsault onto Wardlow.
    • At Hell in a Cell 2022, Cody faced Seth Rollins in the titular match with a torn pectoral muscle, with his chest looking completely purple as he got into the ring. He still managed to get a hard-fought victory in an absolute clinic of a duel inside the cage.
  • Disney Owns This Trope: Apparently the name "Cody Rhodes" is a WWE trademark, even though Cody himself had been going by it since highschool. Most promotions get around this by frequently mentioning him as the son of Dusty Rhodes, and introduce he and his wife together as "Cody and Brandi Rhodes" because WWE can't claim to own those names. Weirdly though due to Exact Words this doesn't apply to online only distributed promotions like Evolve, where he did use his surname.
    • Now averted; Cody was introduced, very emphatically, as Cody Rhodes at Full Gear 2020.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: During his "Dashing" gimmick, he always stopped to take a look at himself in the mirror, and his entrance involved him stopping at the top of the ramp and looking into a digital mirror, which had a camera behind it so his real image was shown in the minitron.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes started very similar; Mr. Fanservice that have well-rounded wrestling styles, were third-generation Superstars and part of a Wrestling Family, and all wear Underwear of Power. However, Randy's gimmick isn't anything like his father's, is a massive Draco in Leather Pants and has become a multiple time world champion. Ted is an exact Legacy Character copy of his father, who floundering in the lower mid-card before leaving WWE in 2013. Cody is the smallest and quickest, goofiest, has gone as far away from his father (but not his brother) as possible, did quite well for himself on SmackDown, took a "disfigured" psychotic heel character to a prestige-restoring run as Intercontinental Champion, gained two tag team titles with Goldust, became the supervillain Stardust, and went on to fight Stephen Amell in 2015's SummerSlam.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Stardust hates to be called Cody. Cody, likewise, hates being called Stardust.
  • The Dog Bites Back: DiBiase got tired of being treated like crap by Cody and beat the crap out of him, and nearly took his IC title from him.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Under his birth name of Cody Runnels, seconded Dusty for his induction into the WCW Hall of Fame at WCW Slamboree 95, May 21, 1995.note 
    • Also, one of Cody's 'bag attendants' from his masked period was none other than Damien Sandow. Granted, he was sans beard at the time, so it would have been very hard to tell.
  • Easily Forgiven: So, Randy Orton can concuss you, your father, and your best friend, but it's all good in the end and you're willing to join with his new group. Worse still was Orton's treatment of DiBiase and Rhodes in Legacy, which consisted of being outright abusive at times and STILL attacking their family members and such. They did eventually get tired of it…which somehow was a Heel–Face Turn for Randy Orton. It was supposed to be the other way around, but fans decided that they hated Ted and Cody more and made Randy the de facto good guy for kicking their asses. The writers ran with it…until Cody's had time to stew over it, and he came back for Orton's blood.
  • Enlightened Self-Interest: Cody's attempts to help Sami Zayn out against Roman Reigns in 2023 are an excellent example of this. Throughout Zayn's feud with the Bloodline, Cody has always been very respectful to Sami, from raising the possibility that he could wrestle Sami at WrestleMania 39 just as easily as Roman to helping Zayn and perpetual frenemy Kevin Owens cohere together as a tag team. While this is obviously in some sense because both men are faces and he does sympathize with Zayn, it's also because Cody is clever and understands that it's in his interest to have Zayn weaken the Bloodline: Sami's fired-up near-victory at Elimination Chamber made Roman an easier target (and in the event Sami won, Sami would make for a less-intimidating opponent than Reigns) and if The Usos are worn down from having the fight of their lives against Zayn and Owens, then they won't be in a position to help Roman cheat if Cody proves his match.
  • Evil Laugh
    • Whenever he had done a promo during his masked disfigured period.
    • Cody didn't feel that Sanada deserved as shot at his title while he was ROH World Champion. The Young Bucks pointed out that Sanada had beaten Toru Yano, leaving Cody to laugh, for a really long time.
  • Expy:
    • His masked heel incarnation was somewhat like Mankind meets Viper!Orton-lite.
    • He claimed in a shoot the "undashing" gimmick was supposed to be an expy of Mister Sinister from the X-Men, but Big Show called him Cody Von Doom. Marvel has caught on to the comparison and interviewed him. Interview can be found here. Post-heel turn, Stardust once again invokes Mister Sinister, as he's even donned a cape similar to the character.
    • His unmasked gimmick in its later stages became in many ways a tweaked version of Orton's "Legend Killer" gimmick when he started to target established wrestlers in the industry claiming that they were past their time just for the hell of it, such as Booker T, Big Show, and Christian.
    • His "Stardust" gimmick is an Expy of… well, Goldust, as well as a Shout-Out to his father Dusty Rhodes, who innovated the "Stardust" character during the early days of his career.
    • Multiple personalities, each with their own demented and/or bizarre characteristics…are we talking about Cody or the Three Faces of Foley?
  • Face–Heel Turn: Turned on Hardcore Holly to team with Ted DiBiase, who had said he had a mystery partner at Night of Champions 2008, and won the tag team belts with DiBiase.
  • Feigning Intelligence:
    Titus O'Neil: Can you even read?
  • The Fighting Narcissist: Became obsessed with how he looked after NXT, his dashing outfit came complete with a mirror that he could use to look at himself. His un-dashing gimmick did not stop either, even though he thought he was grotesque in appearance he was just as narcissistic.
  • Finishing Move:
    • As Cody Rhodes, Cross Rhodes, a rolling cutter. From his debut until 2009 he used a snap DDT, later christened the "Silver Spoon DDT".
    • As Stardust, he uses a modified version of a reverse STO dubbed "Dark Matter." He eventually went back to using Cross Rhodes again, but as of 2015 now calls it "the Queen's Crossbow" as a Shout-Outnote  to Oliver Queen from Arrow.
  • First-Name Basis: Since leaving WWE, he has dropped Rhodes from his ring name in bigger name promotions (such as Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and New Japan Pro-Wrestling), as "Cody Rhodes" is supposedly owned by the company. (Supposedly, that is, because he'd legally changed his name to Cody Rhodes back when he was 17 years old, but this wasn't widely-known at the time and he's not willing to take them to court over it.) That said, he has found certain ways around it: for example, as his wife Brandi has worked under her married name post-WWE, Cody can on a technicality be referred to as a Rhodes through her, sometimes collectively billed as Cody and Brandi Rhodes. However, he is billed as a Rhodes in spite of this: English commentary for Wrestle Kingdom 11 acknowledges his familial ties as well as his brief ROH feud with Steve Corino. Additionally, outside of those bigger name feds, he is fully introduced as Cody Rhodes with no problems. This lasted until November 4, 2020, when he announced at the end of an All Elite Wrestling Dynamite taping that he is finally legally fully allowed to go by Cody Rhodes again, which he immediately proceeded to take advantage of at the 2020 Full Gear three days later.
  • Four Is Death: The fourth time he and Darby Allin faced each other, after a tie in their first match and two wins by Cody in the next two, Darby finally got one over on him, winning the TNT Championship off him.
  • Friend to All Children: Cody is nothing if not friendly towards the younger fans. His notable examples include allowing a boy dressed as Orange Cassidy to pin him on air in the ring, and recently giving a child a $100 bill to prove he had a briefcase of money. His returns to WWE he gives his belt to younger fans.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Cody wasn't exactly a "nobody" during his time in WWE thanks to his legendary family legacy, and he accrued a fairly decent resume there, but he was never given a chance to make it above the midcard and ultimately left because he knew he would never fulfill his potential if he stayed. On leaving, he worked his way up through the indies and other leading promotions like ROH and NJPW to become a big name, until eventually becoming one of the founders and the top babyface of AEW, putting him squarely in the top tier of the industry. He's become the standout example of a wrestler leaving the monolithic WWE machine to become a far bigger star outside of it than they ever could have come within it.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Although not a serious injury, his broken nose that he suffered in 2011, which made him miss Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, and his shoulder/back injury in November 2012.
  • Game Changer: Cody managed to change the way wrestling was presented since leaving WWE in 2016. He not only become a top star in Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling, but also one of the catalysts of the foundation of All Elite Wrestling alongside Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks. When he returned to WWE in 2022, his presentation has remained intact and is treated as the top star he is now.
  • Genre Throwback:
    • His gimmick, outfit, music, and wrestling style is a throwback to the eighties.
    • Even his "Dashing" grooming tip vignettes are a throwback to the 80s era, when they used to be a component of establishing a character outside the ring (i.e. Mr. Perfect being "perfect" at every sport). Nowadays, vignettes are primarily used for debuting wrestlers before they make their first appearance.
    • In Hell in the Cell 2011, Cody dumped the current Intercontinental Championship belt in favor of the classic white Intercontinental Championship.
  • Graceful Loser: After being pinned for a shocking 3 count by Darby Allin at Fyter Fest 2020 and losing the TNT Championship to the young up-and-comer, Cody was initially shocked and angry, snatching his belt from the referee, but maintained his composure enough to kneel and offer it to Darby himself, before raising the young man's hand in victory, rather than punching him in the dick like some people might have expected. Pity about Team Taz running in to attack them both, though.
  • Groin Attack
    • The Big Show hit a spear on a leaping Cody at WrestleMania 28 that was a slight botch in timing. Show was aiming for Cody's abdomen but his shoulder hit a little bit lower. Ouch!
    • Cody used one to defeat Jay Lethal at Final Battle.
  • Happily Married: To fellow wrestler Brandi Reed Rhodes since 2014.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Got cheated out of the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank briefcase by his former best friend, Damien Sandow. The following night on Raw, Rhodes attacked Sandow after Sandow lost to Christian.
  • Heel Realization: He explained his furious anger against Sandow after being cheated out of the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank briefcase in July 2013 as not being about just getting outwitted in a match, but about having this as a result of Sandow's smugness.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Cody and Brandi have a pair of dogs. One of them, a husky named Pharaoh, has even shown up to some events with them.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Attacking Randy Orton with his mask for a second time didn't end too well.
    • Then the following Monday, he insults Triple H, which ends up with him defending his Intercontinental Title in a 10-Man Battle Royal.
    • He started making fun of The Big Show's less then perfect WrestleMania record, i.e that he lost more than he won. Big Show was not happy, had a talk with Teddy Long about a match with Cody at WrestleMania for the Intercontinental Title. He got it. Whoops. This off course didn't stop him from bullying Big Show on a weekly basis up till WrestleMania, where Big Show was the victorious one and won the Intercontinental Championship. Double whoops.
    • Oh, geez, if he had just kept his mouth shut at Over the Limit, he'd still have his title. Christian won a Battle Royal where the winner had the right to challenge for either the IC or US Title that night. Christian won and immediately appeared to choose Santino Marella, the US Champion. But Cody just 'had' to go mouthing off to Eve Torres about how the match wouldn't have been close if Christian had chosen him. Unfortunately, Christian overheard the conversation, changed his mind, and then beat Cody for the IC Championship.
    • Cody trying to unmask either Sin Cara or Rey Mysterio, has cost him some matches as he's been to focused on the unmasking than the actual match.
    • In story, there was a very good reason for Rey Mysterio injuring him, as Cody had been fiddling with Rey's knee brace in order to do more damage, shifting its position for the inevitable 619.
  • Honor Before Reason: Vowed that if he lost his match with Jericho then he would never get another opportunity to win the World Championship, as he feels that becoming a champion while being part of management could become a conflict of interest.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Made fun of Tony Chimel for being a comic book fan, while in Real Life, Cody is a huge fanboy of comic books.
  • I Am Not Pretty: After getting his nose broken accidentally by Rey Mysterio's kneebrace, he didn't think he was this anymore, making such a big deal when there was no noticeable change in his looks. Then again, knowing how his "Dashing" gimmick liked to be a picture of perfection, it's very likely that something in his looks changed, but it was so minor only he would notice.
  • Iconic Item: For his Intercontinental Championship run, Cody brought back the "New Generation" era IC belt (early 90s, before the Attitude Era), complete with its white belt and rectangular plates.
  • Idiot Ball: 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. And continues to antagonize Big Show anyway. Honestly, Cody, what the hell's going through your head?
  • Improbable Weapon User: He used the mask he wore in his post-"Dashing" gimmick to attack other people.
  • Informed Attractiveness: While as "Dashing" Cody Rhodes he was said to be the best looking wrestler on WWE's roster, there's stiff competition from Randy Orton, John Cena and John Morrison for that title. He beat all three of them in a poll by the Divas to see who the best looking Superstar was.
  • Informed Deformity: As "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, he hated Rey Mysterio because Rey's knee brace maimed Cody's face so that Cody was no longer dashing. Of course, he looks exactly the same. This is all highly intentional, as Cody is playing a psychotic heel.
  • In the Hood: Fairly often since his 'masked' gimmick and almost always since unmasking, he got to wear a hooded longcoat.
  • Irrational Hatred: Screwing Datlon Castle so Bullet Club can get the ROH Six Man Tag belts? That makes sense. Deny Castle when he accepts your open challenge for an ROH World Title shot. Questionable but not unusual. Screwing him out of a chance to win the television title belt held by KUSHIDA, when he was going to pin a member of a rival stable to do it? Not only is that pointless to the point of being counterproductive, it's also denotes a pattern. Cody hates Dalton Castle…for some reason.
  • Jack of All Stats: He has very even attributes as a high-flyer, brawler, and technical wrestler, and a relatively average build (not too big, not too small) for pro wrestling standards.
  • Jobber Entrance: Got one on the last SmackDown of January 2014, though in a subversion, Cody actually defeated Road Dogg.
  • Large Ham: His "Absolutely DASHING!", Stardust, and "Bullet Club is MINE" heel runs are this personified.
  • Latino Is Brown: Averted to the point of hilarity. His mother is Cuban, but when the WWE was doing a Hispanicevery Heritage photoshoot during his first run, everyone was confused why he was there.
  • Laughably Evil: Yes, as "Dashing" Cody Rhodes he was a goof with a enormous ego, but his narcissism was so massive that any slight, perceived or otherwise, would send him into a psychotic rage. Very much averted afterwards with his psycho heel persona; he's way more of a legitimate threat, and he's actually kind of creepy at times.
  • Laughing Mad: When he was masked and "disfigured", he would break into psychotic laughs. Again as Stardust, though those veered more into "Batman villain" laughs.
  • Leitmotif: All of his songs since the breakup of Legacy have started with almost identical vocalizations of "WHOOOOA-OOOH…" to the point where it's now associated almost exclusively with him.
  • Legion of Doom: As a bonafide supervillain as Stardust, he formed the Cosmic Wasteland after joining forces with The Ascension. Bonus points for the fact that the Ascension were seen as expies for the tag team who was also known for the name "Legion of Doom," The Road Warriors, comparison the Ascension had fully embraced by the time they joined Stardust.
  • Light Is Not Good: Ever since unmasking, Cody's taken to dressing in mostly white ring gear.
  • Made of Iron: Cody legitimately tore his right pectoral completely off the bone in a training accident ahead of Hell in a Cell 2022. In spite of being in literal tears at points, he not only wrestled Seth Rollins regardless, he did so for 24 minutes and won.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: Played with. The effect was sort of lost since the mask was clear, but the malevolence was there in spades.
  • Mask of Power: His mask that he had after breaking his nose.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: After Cody defeated Kenny Omega for the "leadership" of Bullet Club at ROH Supercard of Honor XII with the accidental help of The Young Bucks, who intended to superkick Cody in the first place, he threw a "Leadership" party on the ensuing episode of Being the Elite. However, none of the BTE members were truly happy nor interested in celebrating and everyone just left Cody to himself. A few seconds later, Cody realizes that without the support of any Bullet Club member (as even OG members Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale refused to throw their support behind either side of the aisle), he'll never be accepted as the true leader of Bullet Club, and thanks to his heelish manipulation of the others prior to Supercard of Honor XII, he's all by himself.
  • Mind Screw: Because he was revealed as Ted DiBiase's secret partner in the same match where he teamed with Hardcore Holly only to turn on him, he technically simultaneously won and lost a match to himself.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: What drove him to his psychotic heel persona. Rey Mysterio's knee brace broke his nose, which isn't exactly the worst thing that can happen to a WWE Superstar.
  • Mooks:
    • During his masked period, Cody was usually accompanied ringside by a group of nameless "attendants"/"baggers", who distributed his paper bag masks for him.
    • As Stardust he had two full-time Mooks in in The Ascension, who called themselves The Cosmic Wasteland.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Pushed as such thanks to a Divas poll, though Jerry Lawler repeatedly denied it on commentary.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Buffalo Bill Cody, if a remark Dusty made on commentary is to be believed.
  • Nightmare Face: Just LOOK at him in his Stardust persona.
  • Not in the Face!: Almost a catchphrase for him during his "Dashing" gimmick. In fact, after taking a hit in the face during his match at Survivor Series 2010 he freaked out and jumped out of the ring, to look in a mirror and make sure that his face was still dashing.
  • Older Than They Look: He looks much younger than he is clean-shaven.
  • Only Sane Man: In his partnership with Goldust. Well, that was before he became Stardust…
  • Parts Unknown: As Stardust, he's billed from "The Stars of the Milky Way" and "The Fifth Dimension".
  • Pornstache: Came back from a month-long hiatus sporting… well… this. It immediately got its own chant. He lampshades this calling it a lovestache. He would later get rid of it after turning face.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • For about a month due to a series of injuries.
    • In September 2013, he was fired in-universe so that he could take some time off and enjoy the married life.
  • Pyrrhic Victory:
  • Red Baron: "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, early in his career. JBL has taken to calling him "the son of a son of a plumber," referencing his father's gimmick. As of his affiliation with Bullet Club, he's also now known as the "American Nightmare", contrasting with Dusty's moniker, the "American Dream". It was also a nickname used by pre-Goldust Dustin Rhodes.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Stardust had perpetually red irises.
  • The Rival: Darby Allin is probably his biggest rival in AEW, an opponent he repeatedly tangles with and sometimes teams with but always respects. Cody usually has the edge, but Darby was able to beat him when it counted at Full Gear 2020.
  • Rogues Gallery: Rey Mysterio, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Booker T, The Big Show, Christian, Sin Cara, Damien Sandow, JBL, Triple H, The Shield.
  • Rules Lawyer: A seed planted by Colt Cabana, but Cody hired an actual rules lawyer to argue the case that he was the real ROH World Champion on the grounds his figure four leg lock counted as a pin on Lethal, which he had locked in before Christopher Daniels landing on Cody with the best moonsault ever. Daniels has won matches by stealing other people's pins in such a matter, but they didn't have lawyers to force a rematch.
  • Sanity Slippage: Oh yeah, so, so much after he broke his nose, and he considered himself not dashing any more, he went off the deep end. He eventually regained his sanity back, only to lose it again as Stardust.
  • Ship Tease: Had one with Kaitlyn, who was the only one in the company, besides Sandow, that weren't mocking him for his moustache. This was afterwards dropped for unknown reasons.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: On the December 10, 2012 episode of Raw, the night of his return from a brief injury. After he and Damien Sandow win a tag team four-way to earn the chance to face Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara in a #1 contender tables match over the tag titles, The Miz gets them on his "Miz TV" talk show segment for the sole purpose of mocking Rhodes' mustache, making Ho Yay jokes, and trying to break up Rhodes Scholars by lecturing Cody on not standing out and saying Sandow said it — the same way John Cena successfully did to Miz himself and R-Truth over a year ago. After calming Sandow down from his outrage, Cody comes right back at Miz and gives him a piece of his own medicine by openly referencing his Badass Decay before ending the interview then and there.
  • Sore Loser: Many fans, as well as JBL and Damien Sandow, felt Cody was this after losing out on MITB, and that it doesn't justify Cody's actions against Sandow. This notion wouldn't ring so hollow on Sandow's part if he hadn't constantly been touting their bonds of friendship, claiming to be intellectual and professional equals and each man promising not to stop the other from achieving success on their own. Sandow really didn't help his stance by offering Cody to be "Keeper of the Case" for Sandow, essentially defining Sandow's view of their friendship in which Cody is his lackey rather than his equal. The premise of the feud itself is definitely sound. The disconnect seems to be in the execution, as WWE jumped the gun by having the commentators rush to declare Sandow a traitor immediately after he pushed Cody off the ladder and Cody try to take Sandow's head off the next night on Raw before having the promo confrontation where Sandow showed his true colors on the lesser-watched SmackDown. Had they had the promo done on Raw and then had Cody and the face announcers fully regard him as a traitor afterward, it's very likely this trope wouldn't even be discussed here. Seems to have been cleared up when Cody finally explained himself under tough scrutiny. His anger at getting cost the briefcase wasn't all that severe, but it was enough to get him to look at Sandow competitively, at which point he could no longer ignore what a Smug Snake he's been hanging out with all this time.
  • Spectacular Spinning: Cross Rhodes, as mentioned below, along with Beautiful Disaster, a springboard kick to the opponent's head. The latter involves spinning, because he usually runs into the corner/towards the ropes, away from the opponent, before spinning 180 to hit the opponent.
  • Start My Own: After a long, decently decorated tenure with WWE and a shorter but even more decorated tour through the indies and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, threw his name into the promoters' ring in 2019 with the formation of All Elite Wrestling along with The Young Bucks.
  • Stuck Items: In The JBL and Cole Show, Cody won JBL's hat but when he put it on, it got stuck.
  • Stepford Smiler: Don't let the grin he flashes fool you - this guy's not all there in the head. Especially as Stardust.
  • The Star Scream: As the American Nightmare, Cody occupies the place of second-in-command of Bullet Club. His volatile relationship with Kenny Omega and his own ambition to run the stable leads him to constantly snap at the leader's heels for a sign of weakness. He finally follows through with his ambitions by attacking Omega in January 2018, at The New Beginning in Sapporo.
  • Super Senses: Since joining the Bullet Club, he's had some very super hearing, as shown on Being the Elite.
  • Take That!: His theme song after leaving WWE, "Kingdom", is an extended Take That to WWE and Vince McMahon. Adding to the irony is that he is currently signed to the WWE using this exact same theme song while being one of their top stars currently.
    "You took it all away, I gave it all away,
    Can't take my freedom.
    Here to change the game, a banner made of pain,
    I built my kingdom,
    Now you bow to me,
    You took my dreams but not my name!
    You tried to tell me what to do,
    I saw the door and kicked it down,
    I stepped right over and right through,
    And you can never stop me now!"
  • Technicolor Eyes: Stardust's eyes are red with some yellow along the iris. Ups the odd factor.
  • That Man Is Dead: On the February 16, 2015 edition of Raw, during his feud with Goldust, Dusty visits the locker room to try and get his sons on the same page again. Stardust proceeds to make a long, drawn-out rant about being in his father and brother's shadows, concluding with "Cody Rhodes is dead, and so is my father!" Made Harsher in Hindsight as this would be Dusty's very last appearance on Raw before passing away for real almost four months later, and Cody would actually not appear again in WWE before he requested his release from WWE in May 2016.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • In frightening fashion. Cody was largely played as a joke since becoming "Dashing" … That is, until he attacked Rey Mysterio, knocked him into his mirror (the stage screen) and tore his mask off. Yes, Cody Rhodes, the same one who played Butt-Monkey for Legacy, who threw a tantrum when you hurt his face and who gave you tips on how to be "dashing", beat the hell out of one of the top faces in the WWE.
    • Becoming Stardust, complete with an entirely new moveset. It took several months for anyone to figure out how to beat him.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Well, more like "The Ugly Guy's Dashing Son." Have you seen Dusty Rhodes? How on God's green earth was Cody born? This was lampshaded by Daniel Bryan, who noted that looks aren't everything while (unfavorably) comparing Cody to Dusty.
  • Unnecessary Roughness:
    • Most heels will end a beatdown with their finisher. Cody ended the one he gave to Rey Mysterio by raking his face across metal grating, throwing him headfirst into a wall, and then yanking his mask off.
    • Also ended up on the wrong end of this via Randy Orton, the poster boy for Unnecessary Roughness. A Falls Count Anywhere match during their brief feud saw Randy Orton blasting Rhodes across the face with a ring bell, busting him open the hard way and turning his face (ironically) into a crimson mask.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Brandi and Cody love each other, and love participating in each others' schemes.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Underwent one after Rey Mysterio broke his nose. Being an egomaniac who considered himself the picture of perfection, this resulted in him losing his mind and turning into a psychotic heel.
  • Villain Episode: Undisputed Legacy a planned event in 2017 dedicated to Cody, became this at the 2016 Final Battle when he cheated Jay Lethal.
  • Villainous Friendship: Type 1 with Damien Sandow. The two legitimately enjoyed one another's company and considered the other their best friend. Then, Money in the Bank 2013 happened.
  • Villain Team-Up: First with Ted DiBiase in 2008; some time later the two teamed up with Randy Orton to form Legacy. He then teamed with Drew McIntyre in 2010, however, right after they established their tag team moniker, "The Dashing Ones", they split up. Then he teamed up with Damien Sandow, who claimed that Rhodes was the only Superstar he could have an intelligent conversation with, which is hilarious when you consider who Cody's father is. They were officially the "Rhodes Scholars". After teaming up for a couple months, they mutually decided to focus on their singles careers while remaining best friends, going on to resume their team-up a month later while continuing to support each other's solo careers. But then...
  • Warrior Prince: A big part of his characterization following his reinvention as "The American Nightmare": he strongly emphasizes his role as the heir to the Rhodes dynasty, which he often likens to a royal family (hence "Wrestling has more than one royal family"), his entrance theme is appropriately titled "Kingdom", his "American Nightmare" emblem includes a skull wearing a crown, and he calls himself "The Prince of Pro-Wrestling" on occasion. Even his patriotic costume includes a set of gold epaulets that give him a noticeably regal appearance.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Damien Sandow seemingly double crossed him to get his hands on the Money in the Bank briefcase. Was confirmed after Cody assaulted Sandow after his match the following night on Raw and Sandow would go on to try to hash things out with him on SmackDown by…asking Cody to become "Protector of the Case". Finally got his revenge on Sandow by tossing Sandow's briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico on the July 26, 2013 episode of SmackDown . Cody in fact used this as his reasoning when explaining his actions on Raw. While he admits he would've done the same to Sandow if the positions were reversed, Damien's actions allowed Cody to see him as a competitor and not a friend, able to comprehend what an asshole Sandow is, something Cody was naive to as his best friend.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Creeps in at times when Dusty gets involved with a storyline.
  • Wham Line:
    • To a pleading, desperate Damien Sandow right before he flings the MITB briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico:
    • His WCPW announcement has Adam Pacitti saying this:
    "We got him! Sorry Vince."
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • 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".
  • Worked Shoot: After he was fired from WWE, following a loss to Randy Orton, the Pro Wrestling Syndicate announced that Cody Rhodes would be joining their roster as soon as his 90 day no compete clause had expired, with Cody himself confirming it. Of course even if he had really been fired, he was brought back before the clause could run out.
  • Worthy Opponent: Darby Allin in AEW. The two have wrestled each other several times, including Darby's debut match at Fyter Fest 2019 and while Cody usually has the advantage, Darby always gives as good as he gets, eventually upsetting Cody for the TNT Championship at Full Gear 2020. They've even teamed up with each other several times against opponents such as the Butcher and the Blade, and Team Tazz.
  • Wrestling Family: The son of "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes and half-brother to Dustin "Goldust" Runnels. And Dustin/Goldust was married to former Diva/manager and one-time WWE Hardcore Champion Terri Runnels, which made her Cody's half-sister-in-law. Also, his new wife Brandi has had two stints on WWE programming before as ring announcer/interviewer Eden Stiles, before joining him in the ring in TNA as part of their post-WWE world tour.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Despite Cody being his real name and Rhodes being a professional surname coming from his father, somehow WWE owns "Cody Rhodes" as a specific television trademark. So TNA got around this by having Cody be joined by his wife Brandi so they can refer to them as "Cody and Brandi Rhodes", and thinly disguised that intention by having Brandi announce her signing with TNA and then having Cody's vignettes advertising his debut at Bound for Glory separately.
    • ROH would write around it by advertising him with the line "Where we're going, we don't need roads."
    • English commentary aside, New Japan doesn't really bother, as Dusty was never that big a name there and it's common for wrestlers to only have one name anyway.
  • You Have Failed Me: Cody puled this on Ted DiBiase after losing to Randy Orton in 2011. Cody looks at him in disappointment and nails him with the Cross Rhodes.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Husky Harris (Rhodes' former NXT rookie) more or less did this to Cody during a battle Royal that took place on the 2010 Tribute To The Troops. At one point during the match Rhodes raised Husky's arm to praise him and point him out to the crowd, Husky thanks him by throwing out of the ring. All the commentators had to say about Rhodes' actions was something along the lines of "I guess Cody Rhodes supports Nexus."

"I am my Kingdom!"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Stardust


The Rock's Final Question

Note to Damien Sandow: If The Rock asks you a question and its answer is 'Rock Bottom', it's most likely a trap.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / SchmuckBait

Media sources: