On this week’s Monday Night Raw, Cody Rhodes returned to the ring a month after unexpectedly losing his Hall of Fame father, Dusty Rhodes. Unfortunately, some fans were disappointed that Cody returned fully in character as the villainous Stardust, rather than as himself, or perhaps a new character that paid tribute to his legendary father. The atmosphere in the arena was awkward, and the online reaction to the return of Stardust got downright nasty at times.
Yesterday, Rhodes and his wife Brandi (WWE announcer Eden Stiles) addressed the critics and tried to explain why Cody chose to return as Stardust. Brandi tackled the situation on her blog…
“Last night my husband returned to RAW to finish what he started and some “fans” were peeved with him, ANGRY because they wanted something else. They wanted him to use what happened to his father as a “stepping stone”. Not for Cody, but for themselves. Maybe that’s to feel better about everything or maybe they are just that selfish. But to publicly crap on the most courageous thing someone in this position could do, which was pick up and carry on and do it brilliantly, shame on you.
Now I’m not saying it’s wrong to send love and condolences. I’m just saying that unless your situation was the exact same, you do not know how it feels. I DO NOT KNOW HOW THAT FEELS. I am very happy for the true-blues and the die-hards. Patience is a virtue and we all are guilty of internet complaining from time to time. But when you take a step back and look at THE BIG PICTURE oftentimes we find that there are reasons for everything. The world is not against you because something on TV didn’t go your way. Trust me, things could be far worse.”
Cody also addressed the reaction to Stardust, posting the following on his non-WWE Twitter account…
“Troubled seeing some people think I’d allow or be comfortable w/the worst thing that’s ever happened to me be exploited on TV for a ‘return.'”
Cody also went into why the Stardust character is more meaningful than you might think. The first time Cody stepped into the ring as a referee, his father gave him a shirt with “Stardust” written on it. Stardust was also something of a nickname for Dusty himself back in the day.
Honestly, I see where both sides are coming from. As a fan, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself with the fantasy booking, to set your heart on that cathartic payoff, but what you want as a fan isn’t necessarily what’s right for Cody and his family. Realize that whatever sadness you felt about Dusty’s passing was magnified a thousand times for Cody. I unexpectedly lost my own father a couple years ago, and making your day job a constant reminder of that terrible event sounds like the purest hell imaginable. If I were Cody, I’d be incredibly grateful that I basically had a superhero alter-ego I could use to forget reality for a while.
Maybe one day Cody will be ready to tackle his dad’s legacy in a more direct way, but for now, he’s Stardust, and that’s probably for the best. Let’s see where this road takes us.