Craig Wilson, John Carbery, Brian Damage and Jamie Lithgow
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we decide if we Book or Cook Cody ‘Stardust’ Rhodes.
Craig: Straight off the bat, cook Stardust. But as for Cody Rhodes, I say book but not convinced he has that much longer before the powers that be really think he is dispensable.
I would be staggered if we didn’t reach an early consensus on the fact that he is wasted as Stardust. I always thought it was pretty naff and it’s really not gone anywhere. Cody is a credible enough midcarder but Stardust isn’t much above a jobber. It has to go.
It’s quite surprising that Cody is only 30 years old – that’s two years younger than Kevin Owens, a year younger than Sami Zayn and four years younger than Finn Balor. So, let’s not kid ourselves that Rhodes is winding down. Plenty of gas left in that tank.
The problem, though, is recovering from this daft gimmick and getting things back on track. I liked ‘The Legacy’, ‘Dashing’ Cody Rhodes was great as was Team Rhodes Scholars. Since then, it’s not been great. And worryingly Team Rhodes Scholars split up, for the final time, in 2013.
He needs a change of fortune soon, doesn’t he?
John: I’ve always rated Cody as a wrestler. He’s reinvented himself multiple times and I’ve enjoyed each iteration with my favourite probably being his masked Patrick Bateman/Doctor Doom “disfigured” period. I actually enjoy Stardust too, I just think its probably run its course as a gimmick. In fact I think a good way to end it would’ve been around the time Dusty passed. They could’ve done a fiery babyface turn much like The Dream’s initial switch against Pak Song.
The problem with the Stardust character is that it doesn’t have any legs beyond being a Goldust spin off. I love the promo work Cody’s done under the paint, especially his stuff about no government in the world believing that Stephen Amell was not in fact the Green Arrow etc. Saying that, the Stardust run probably should’ve ended when his team with Goldust split.
If he were to switch back to Cody and use the name “Stardust” Cody Rhodes it’d be a nice tribute to his dad and allow a transition period. I’m sure he’ll be able to come up with something new for himself to do. He’s a good wrestler with his prime years ahead of him, WWE really should be thinking about positioning him at least in the upper midcard for the next year or two.
Another thing that can’t be discounted either is his strength as a tag wrestler, Legacy, The Rhodes Scholars and his tandem with Goldust were all cracking teams that got over. They could easily pair Cody with someone like Austin Aries or Tyler Breeze and get a great new team out of it to feud with the Bullet Club etc.
I wish the guy all the best and hope that after the Stardust cycle ends they allow him to shine again.
Brian: Ah yes…Stardust. Where do I even begin with this character? First off, Cody Runnels is indeed being seriously wasted as this poor man’s version of Goldust. There is nothing that makes him stand out and be different from his brother…especially the early years of the Goldust character. That was truly a unique character for its time period, but Stardust is really just generic.
I saw some hope when it looked like they were starting some sort of faction with the Ascension in Cosmic Wasteland, but that too was just a waste. This is certainly not a knock on Cody, because he does the best with the little material at times he is given. That says a lot about Cody’s talents. There just isn’t any more mileage in Stardust.
Jamie: Believe it or not I like the current incarnation of Stardust. However, I do not like how he has been booked. A also agree that the character has done nothing for Cody and it has run it’s course, at least for now.
Let me justify that first statement by saying that I really like what Stardust should be – like how Tyler Breeze should be a wrestling Zoolander – but WWE just do not seem to get what the character is. Stardust is a supervillain, but he’s shit at it. He’s Megamind! If you’ve not seen Megamind – which is actually pretty good – he’s a supervillain who is so crap at being evil that he ultimately becomes a sympathetic character before finally defeating an even superer-villain. That should have been what happened with Stardust, only he is booked to be perpetually shit and nobody feels sorry for him because nobody understands his plight. Stardust is the kind of character – like Tyler Breeze – that needs time and attention, so people can figure out what he is supposed to be. I can’t help but feel that the character would have done better in NXT…
Anyway, that’s what should have happened, but it didn’t. Stardust needs to be canned and the beauty of the character is that fans are in on this one. If Cody just started wrestling as himself tomorrow WWE would barely need to explain a thing because even in kayfabe Stardust is Cody Rhodes. Obviously it would be handy if WWE did find a reason to switch him back to being Cody, but it would be easy to get him back on track.
Brian: Excellent analogy by Jamie on the Stardust character. While I feel a return to Cody Rhodes is inevitable. Sadly, I don’t think he is still viewed as “main event material.” That in itself makes me angry considering the abundance of talent Cody has as both a wrestler and as a personality.
I think he has languished so long on the mid card that he is an afterthought to be a top tier guy. Of course, Cody could win the Money in the Bank briefcase this June and this will all be moot, but as for right now, he is stuck in his own mid card wasteland.
Craig: Jamie is right, the Stardust character would more than likely have done a lot better had it been on NXT rather than on the main roster. The time and energy wasn’t invested, there was no real explanation of why Stardust existed. Instead, we were just given the character and had to make do. It’s a problem across the board for the WWE. They don’t invest time and energy into showing why we should care about a particular character. Instead, we’re lumped with the character and left to get on with it. That’s undoubtedly hurt Cody.
Sadly, Brian may well be right too. Maybe Cody is destined to just languish in his wasteland. I’d love to see him shake off the shackles of the Stardust gimmick and establish himself as a top talent but has that just passed him by now?
Jamie: I like Cody. The rest of you seem to like him too. I get a vibe from WWE crowds that they like him, or want to like him at least. We just don’t like Stardust. Cody may not ever be the guy but with just a little bit of effort – like winning MITB for example – he could join the likes of Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens and Cesaro as perpetual cult favourite who hovers just under the WWE Title. In this day and age of WWE that’s about as good as gets anyway. My vote is to cook Stardust but book Cody.
Craig: I’d agree with all of that including the cooking of Stardust but the booking of Cody.
Brian: It is unanimous! Book Cody and cook Stardust…it is long overdue!
So there is our take. Cook the Stardust character and then do something what Cody.
What do you think? Would you book or cook Cody Rhodes and/or Stardust? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.