American wrestler Cody Rhodes is currently with WWE and held an executive VP role in AEW. The son of the legendary "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes has crafted his own legacy as a 2nd generation star over the past 15 years. Let‘s take a closer look at the life and career of the man known as the "American Nightmare".
From a Famous Wrestling Family
Cody Garrett Runnels was born in Marietta, Georgia on June 30, 1985. He is the son of WWE Hall of Famer Virgil "Dusty Rhodes" Runnels and half-brother of Dustin "Goldust" Runnels. Wrestling was in Cody‘s blood from an early age.
After graduating high school, Cody began training professionally under his father Dusty at Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling school. He made his in-ring debut in 2001 at age 16 and spent several years honing his craft on the independent circuit.
Spirit Squad and Intercontinental Champion (2006-2007)
In 2006, Cody signed with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and was called up to the main roster at just 21 years old. He made his television debut as part of the Spirit Squad faction. During their reign as World Tag Team Champions, Cody first showed flashes of his potential.
After the Spirit Squad disbanded in 2007, Cody re-debuted under his real name. He quickly captured his first singles title, the prestigious Intercontinental Championship. This marked the beginning of big things to come in WWE for the young star.
Legacy with Randy Orton (2008-2010)
In 2008, Cody formed the popular faction Legacy with Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase Jr. They feuded with Triple H‘s D-Generation X stable over the WWE Championship. Cody won the World Tag Team titles twice with Ted as part of Legacy.
Throughout 2009-2010, Legacy was involved in high-profile feuds with stars like Triple H, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Batista, and others. Orton‘s mentorship helped elevate Rhodes to the next level during this period.
Breakout Singles Star (2011)
After Legacy disbanded in 2011, Cody embarked on his first major singles run. He feuded with Rey Mysterio in a heated and memorable rivalry. Following this program, Cody requested his release from WWE to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
Returns and Final Run (2016-2018)
Cody returned to WWE in 2016 with a disfigured "undashing" gimmick. He eventually reverted to his natural charismatic persona and even teamed with his brother Goldust for an emotional tag title run.
Frustrated again with creative direction, Cody requested his release from WWE in 2018 to help form a new wrestling promotion. His final feud involved teaming with The Miz against The Shield.
All Elite Wrestling
In 2019, Cody and The Young Bucks founded All Elite Wrestling (AEW) as the first viable competitor to WWE in decades. Rhodes serves as an on-screen talent and Executive Vice President for the company.
Some of Cody‘s highlights so far in AEW include:
- Defeating his brother Dustin at the inaugural Double or Nothing PPV
- Becoming the first ever AEW TNT Champion
- Headlining numerous AEW pay-per-views
- Feuding with legends like Chris Jericho and Shawn Spears
Cody‘s contributions behind-the-scenes have been invaluable in establishing AEW as a major wrestling promotion.
Cody Rhodes‘ Legacy
Despite coming from an iconic wrestling family, Cody has succeeded in creating his own legacy in the sport over a 15 year career. His accomplishments include:
- 2x AEW TNT Champion
- 1x WWE Intercontinental Champion
- 3x WWE Tag Team Champion
- 1x ROH World Tag Team Champion
Some of Cody‘s classic matches and moments include:
- His rivalry with Rey Mysterio over unmasking
- Faction wars with Randy Orton in Legacy vs. DX
- Emotional tag title run with brother Goldust
- Moonsault spot off the top of a steel cage
Known for his gritty, physical style and natural charisma, Cody has become one of the most popular and accomplished stars of his generation. At only 38 years old, his career is far from over. It will be exciting to watch as the "American Nightmare" continues his family‘s wrestling legacy for years to come.