Review for WWE American Nightmare - The Best of Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes is a second-generation Superstar, son of WWE Hall of Famer The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, he was given a slightly elevated status (as many second generations stars such as Randy Orton and The Rock do) and it seemed he was destined for greatness. Sadly, this was not the case. Debuting in 2007 he was given a little fanfare and later teamed with Randy Orton and Ted Dibiase Jr as part of The Legacy.
Though his performance was always impressive, it was never memorable and even work as Stardust, teaming with his brother Dustin Rhodes aka Goldust was about as memorable a character as he ever got. He was a multi-time Tag Team and Intercontinental Champion, but he never seemed to raise beyond the mid-card throughout all this time.
However, it wasn’t until Rhodes asked for his release in 2016 that his career took off. Wrestling for almost every ‘independent’ company such as Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, NWA and New Japan picking up multiple championships including World Championships in ROH, IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship in New Japan and the same NWA Heavyweight belt his father had first won in 1979. This all cumulated with the creation of WWE’s current biggest competitor AEW which (much like WCW) has lured many previous WWE stars to their shores such as Dean Ambrose, Rusev and CM Punk.
It seemed like Rhodes was happy in his role, having won lots of critical success becoming AEW’s first TNT Champion and with two Five Star matches and a PWI Match of the Year under his belt, but then in 2022 he shocked the world. At Wrestlemania 38 he returned to WWE to face Seth Rollins as the mystery opponent in a move that no one would have ever expected.
This set features fifteen matches of his WWE career from his debut in 2007 to 2105 and then two of his matches from 2022 since returning. All of the matches are watchable and that is a good sign. His debut against Randy Orton is fine as are many of the matches, especially the tag team matches where he excels, but very few are memorable. The Hell in a Cell tag between him and Dibiase against DX is a great match and definitely a highlight, though this was during the ‘DX burying everyone’ era. The Wrestlemania matches are fine, a Triple Threat against Dibiase and Orton could have been so much more and his match against Rey Mysterio was exciting, but again nothing memorable.
The three matches with him tagging with brother Goldust against The Shield and Rybaxel are fine, but again they just exist and even his match as Stardust against Goldust could have been so much more. One of the more entertaining matches was him teaming with King Barrett against Neville and star of TV’s Green Arrow Stephen Amell which was actually a pretty good match that I did not expect at all.
If you are a fan of Randy Orton he appears four times here which seemed like a little overkill, but the fact of how few genuine main eventers he seemed to work with shows just how low on the card he ever was. His return two matches, both against Seth Rollins are fabulous and the pop at Wrestlemania was just insane.
Now considering his story, who he was and what he had done, I expected at the least this set to include words from Cody Rhodes about certain matches and points in his career. Instead, yes you guessed it, match match match. No interviews, no thoughts, opinions or even comments before eor after. Even if they had just included his interview with Stone Cold that he did for his Broken Skull Sessions it would have been something.
That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of content here that’s enjoyable. It is. However, so little of it is memorable, with only his recent Five Star match in Hell in a Cell against Seth Rollins worth watching again. This is the kind of lazy creation that makes me wonder why they bothered making it at all. Obviously, if you are a fan of Cody Rhodes you will no doubt enjoy this set, but if you are looking for more than just matches then this is not the American dream it should be, instead it is (as the box suggests) a nightmare.
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