Cody Rhodes, sporting a shiner, at Wrestlemania 25's Fan Axxess event in Houston. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
With an extended family tree that includes father Dusty Rhodes, half-brother Dustin Rhodes, uncles Jerry Sags and Fred "Tugboat" Ottman, and godfather Magnum T.A., there’s a wealth of experience and knowledge available to Cody Rhodes as he continues to cement a future with World Wrestling Entertainment.
Born Cody Runnels on June 30, 1985 -- one year before his father captured the NWA World Heavyweight Championship for the third time -- Rhodes was a successful high school wrestler before joining the professional ranks. Attending Lassiter High School in Marietta, Georgia, he won the Georgia State tournament at 189 pounds in both his junior and senior years. As a sophomore, he placed sixth at 17 pounds.
Using his real surname, he began training in 2006, under the tutelage of his father and former WWE wrestler Al Snow. Debuting in June, he quickly formed an alliance with Elijah Burke in Ohio Valley Wrestling, before first striking out on his own, and then teaming with Shawn Spears to defeat The Untouchables (Deuce and Domino) to win the OVW Southern Tag Team Titles on two occasions -- October 18 and December 20. That team didn’t last that long, however, as Runnels and Spears showed signs of dissension in the proceeding weeks, with Spears notably jealous of Runnels’ success in the singles ranks following his defeat of Paul Burchill for the OVW Heavyweight Title. In response, Spears won the OVW TV Title, but on April 11, 2007, the team lost the Southern Tag Team Titles to Charles Evans and Justin LaRoche. That began a feud during which Runnels won the TV Title from Spears on July 6.
Just days later, Rhodes (having adopted the name) appeared on his first Monday Night Raw, in a segment where Randy Orton slapped WWE Hall of Famer Dusty. This prompted a match between Cody and Orton one week later, which Rhodes lost, which was also the scenario in a similar match on July 23.
After beginning a winning program with Daivari, Rhodes got involved with Hardcore Holly, who defeated him in three consecutive matches. With the idea that he had gained Holly’s respect in their bouts, however, they formed a team and vied for the WWE Tag Team Titles with champions Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, including losing a title match at the Survivor Series. They did finally take the belts, however, on the Raw 15th Anniversary show in December.
At this point, Ted DiBiase Jr. began involving himself in Rhodes and Holly’s business, threatening that in his own debut bout in the WWE, that he’d win the World Tag Team Titles. It was all a ruse on Rhodes’ part, as he turned on Holly during their Night of Champions bout, siding with DiBiase and taking the titles with him.
DiBiase and Rhodes quickly lost the titles in August to John Cena and Batista, however, while the latter were engaged in a feud. That led to DiBiase and Rhodes winning the titles back one week later.
During a forgettable title feud with Cryme Tyme, the pair became linked on television with Randy Orton, who applied some stern mentorship while he recovered from injury. The advice did not immediately seem to work, however, as Rhodes and DiBiase dropped the belts again in October, to
and Kofi Kingston. On the January 12 edition of Raw, Rhodes was formally inducted as a member of the Legacy group with Orton and DiBiase, as he declined the chance to attack Orton, and instead turned on ousted members Sim Snuka and Manu instead.
Jan. 10, 2014: Family always on Cody Rhodes' mind
Dec. 21, 2013: Cody Rhodes was born to entertain
July 19, 2012: Tweets and knees of concern to Cody Rhodes
July 13, 2012: Cody Rhodes aims to use Money In The Bank to climb to the top
Mar. 18, 2011: "Dashing" Cody Rhodes ready for his Mania moment
Aug. 8, 2009: Rhodes bringing real Legacy to Calgary
Of the DiBiase-Rhodes team, fans appear to believe that DiBiase will be a breakout star down the road, with Ted Jr. getting 81% of a vote, versus 19% for Rhodes.
- compiled by Brian Elliott
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