The Best Matches From Cody Rhodes’ Career Before Signing With AEW

Published 01/19/2021, 1:26 PM EST
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 04: Cody Rhodes makes a surprise appearance during the All Elite Wrestling panel during 2019 New York Comic Con at Jacob Javits Center on October 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for WarnerMedia Company)

Cody Rhodes has had a very decorated career in wrestling, fitting of the last name he carries. The grandson of a plumber, the son of the late great Dusty Rhodes, has lived up to his family legacy.


Article continues below this ad

From his WWE run to his matches in NJPW and ROH, the American Nightmare has put on some iconic performances, which has won him many titles. These are the best matches from his pre AEW career.

The Rhodes Brothers vs the Shield: WWE Battleground


Article continues below this ad

Cody Rhodes did not team up with his brother frequently, but they needed to join forces to take on the Shield. The Rhodes brothers had fallen on the wrong side of the Authority, and both lost their jobs after losses to the WWE Champion Randy Orton.

At Battleground 2013, Cody and Goldust had to take on the WWE Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns in order to get their jobs back. They fought the match at a fast pace and saw Goldust dig into his bag of tricks to keep the Hounds of Justice at bay.

Dusty Rhodes was in his sons’ corner for the duration of the match. The American Dream even busted out the Bionic Elbow on Dean Ambrose. After 13 minutes of brilliant wrestling, Cody nailed Rollins with the Cross Rhodes to get the brothers back in the WWE.

Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio: WrestleMania 27

ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 03: Rey Mysterio and Cody Rhodes battle during their WWE match at ‘WrestleMania 27’ at the Georgia World Congress Center on April 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images)

The Dashing Cody Rhodes was WWE’s most underrated heel. His work on SmackDown in 2011 was second to none and warranted a wonderful run with the Intercontinental Championship. His magnum opus was a frantic WrestleMania showdown with Rey Mysterio.

Both men lit into each other from the opening bell, busting out some fascinating moves. Rhodes targeted Rey’s knee, disabling his ability to fly around the ring. The target on the knee factored into the storyline as well, as it was Rey’s knees that damaged the dashing visage of Cody.

After about 12 minutes of back-and-forth action, Cody nailed Mysterio with a match-winning Cross Rhodes. That was Rhodes’ WrestleMania moment, one that the American Nightmare will never forget.

Cody vs Kota Ibushi: Wrestle Kingdom 12

TOKYO, JAPAN – OCTOBER 08: Kota Ibushi and Cody compete in the 3 Way match between Kenny Omega, Cody and Kota Ibushi during the King of Pro-Wresting at Ryogoku Kokugikan on October 8, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

On a night where Kenny Omega wrestled Chris Jericho and Kazuchika Okada defended the heavyweight belt against Tetsuya Naito, the mid-card showdown between Cody and Ibushi often goes unnoticed.

Cody made his Wrestle Kingdom debut in 2017 against Michael Elgin, but his match with Ibushi properly introduced him to NJPW. Rhodes brutalized Ibushi, even nailing him with a terrifying Cross Rhodes from the apron to the floor.

Despite what Cody threw at him, the Golden Star of Japan fought his way back into the match. He hit a spine-shattering Last Ride to pick up a big win. Ibushi might have walked away the victor, but Cody was now a star on the international stage.

Kenny Omega vs Cody Rhodes: ROH Supercard of Honor 2018

TOKYO, JAPAN – OCTOBER 08: Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi vs Cody during the King of Pro-Wresting at Ryogoku Kokugikan on October 8, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by New Japan Pro-Wrestling/Getty Images)

After turning heel and splitting the Bullet Club, Cody Rhodes and Kenny Omega faced off in the main event of ROH’s biggest show. At WrestleMania weekend, Cody vs Omega was the most eagerly expected match.


Article continues below this ad

Omega was the best wrestler in the world and was the talk of the town in every city he wrestled. Because of this, Cody’s jealousy turned into hatred as he tried to ruin Omega completely. It culminated in a fantastic showdown at ROH Supercard of Honor.

For almost 40 minutes, both superstars destroyed each other completely. Omega looked like he had the match won, only for the ref bump to take place.

The Young Bucks interfered and looked to help Omega, but ended up super-kicking him by mistake. Cody hit the Cross Rhodes and picked up the win.


Article continues below this ad

These matches set the tone for his career in AEW, and his amazing matches he put on against the likes of Darby Allin, Brodie Lee, and Chris Jericho. Did we miss out on any match? If we did, let us know in the comments below.


Nathan Fulgado

848 articles

Nathan Fulgado is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Having published close to 1000 professional wrestling articles, Nathan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier's College. He has previously worked at Free Press Journal as a local journalist.