January 27, 2013
Doctor's Orders: January 27, 2013 - Royal Rumble Chaos Theory
By The Doc
Oct 11, 2012 - 10:57:07 AM
You think know about life until you’re introduced to death. Nothing is the quite the same after that. Something simple like a phone call and hearing a unique voice on the other end when you’re traveling up and down the road is, looking back on it, a part of your existence that you took for granted.
Cody Rhodes sat watching old movies that he and his dad had once enjoyed countless times together, sipping a glass of white wine, an occasional tear running down his cheek. There was one film that used to trigger a multi-hour quote competition and one that had always – without fail – prompted his dad to turn to him and recite the line as if it perfectly applied to himself.
Those are the moments that you miss when you lose your father. Life can never be the same after you do.
It’s funny…who ever thinks that the death of a loved one can be a motivating factor? Isn’t it supposed to make you crawl into a hole? That’s not the way that Cody looked at it. He saw an opportunity to manipulate the masses and, subsequently, reach new heights in the wrestling business. Odd as it may seem, he understood that people don’t like him very much these days, BUT that they certainly could sympathize with him in this situation.
“What an evil mind,” you might be thinking? Perhaps, but it will serve to commemorate his father’s name more than anything else he could do if he honored his dad by regaining the World title…or so conventional wisdom would have you believe.
That was four weeks ago. The Royal Rumble was a far off spectacle. The Road to Wrestlemania was not on Cody’s mind when he sat on the airplane, dad’s ashes in tow, watching Cody-and-Dusty-favorites on his portable Blu-Ray (nobody appreciated Van Damme movies like the Rhodes boys). Yet, the battle royal with the title shot on the line was precisely what was on his mind, as of the end of his trip. Nothing else really mattered, after the fact. Two bottles of chardonnay after spreading the ashes put Cody out like a light on that night, into a deep and confusing sleep that inspired a vision. Emotionally scarring as the entirety of the siesta apparition may have been, the result was what mattered. Everything that he’d quietly been piecing together since the self-conversation yielded a master plan sure to fool everyone in the WWE Universe and the locker room, alike, has happened exactly as he had dreamed it.
On the final Raw before the Rumble, Cody had the audience eating out of his hand. Everyone was firmly behind his intention to win the match in his father’s name and go on to Wrestlemania to win the gold. Ric Flair shook his hand (backstage) afterward. CM Punk gave him a hug. Eve kissed him on the forehead (and, later, elsewhere).
If they only knew the anger that he was keeping hidden behind the heavy steel door that he’d built in front of his heart. Cody’s dad was in his sixties. He wasn’t supposed to pass that soon. He was never going to be able to have another face-to-face conversation with him again. So, all these people with their condolences and their prayers and their God-awful sympathy cards and their comments about remembering the good times can take all of that crap and shove it. If they only knew what was coming. Oh, Cody was going to win the Royal Rumble and he was going to win the World Championship; make no mistake about it. He hoped to rush backstage afterward, just so he could catch a glimpse of all the boys’ faces when they saw how he had pulled it off. Then, he’d rush to the hotel so that he could sit back and absorb all the internet backlash and watch all the fan reactions on YouTube. They’d feel betrayed, of that he was sure, but he knew that the cloud of hatred would be strong enough to support his weight as he ascended above all of them and reached the zenith in the wrestling business.
Cody thought it was funny, watching Sheamus, Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, and Randy Orton battling it out in the ring as the 2013 Royal Rumble entered its climax. They had all been the stars of the match, entering at numbers 5, 10, 12, and 14, respectively. At every turn, they had all persevered and, with just two entries left to walk the aisle, they had to have all been thinking ahead a little bit. Assuredly, they all knew that Cody was still one of the two, but they collectively had been burned by him in some way over the previous few months, so they likely thought that they had him under control. Cody could not help but think about a college football game that he’d once watched years prior. He’d always gotten along well with Jim Ross and had helped get “JR” into texting during the 2006 CFB season. Oregon was taking on JR’s Oklahoma Sooners. Cody was in Ohio, having completed the day’s training, and was communicating with JR during the game. With OU up 13, JR finished off their texting session, getting on the road to head to Toronto for the next night’s PPV (Unforgiven). Ross thought his Sooners had it all figured out, but he turned out to be dead wrong. The Ducks came flying back and won the game by 1 point after being down 13 with ninety seconds left.
Rhodes had a little miracle in store, himself. He wondered if JR, who was on commentary for the Rumble match, would think of that game, too, after Cody was finished tonight…
The audience was engrossed in Sheamus and Wade Barrett’s brawl, as there were just four men left in the ring awaiting #29 and #30. Sheamus winning the Rumble for a second straight year after all the hell that he’d been through in the previous nine months would have been a good story. So, too, would Randy Orton, making his comeback after what had happened at Hell in a Cell, emerging victorious. Daniel Bryan could certainly use the financial support that winning the Rumble and main-eventing Mania would bring – Beth Phoenix was becoming more ruthless by the trimester and intended to go after D-Bryan for everything she could. Being a headliner at Mania would be exactly the final slap in the face to Vince McMahon that Barrett and his Union had been hoping for all year.
“Too damn bad, gentlemen,” thought Cody as he got out of his seat. The crowd counted down in anticipation for the second-to-last entrant and his heart started racing as he considered the possible reactions to come.
As the Nature Boy’s signature theme began, exciting the thousands in attendance and the millions watching around the world, Cody thought back to Wrestlemania XXIV. He was not on the card, but he sat backstage with his dad watching Flair’s final match in the WWE. It was an awesome weekend, as the two got a chance to reminisce about so much that had happened over the course of Dusty’s wrestling career. Cody had absorbed it like a sponge. His dad always had a special place in his heart for Flair and, thus, so did Cody. “Woo” was one of their frequent texts to each other once Dusty learned the electronic craft.
No sooner than the Hall of Famer appeared on the stage, Cody blind-sided him with a steel chair. The four men in the ring immediately stood in attention, looks of confusion spreading across their faces as they wondered what, if anything, they should do. The crowd, at first shocked, began to incessantly “boo.” They actually started throwing debris in Cody’s direction. After a few feeble attempts to corral the perpetrators, the security in the front floor rows either gave up or had too hard a time taking their own attention away from Rhodes. Cody was fast and efficient in his annihilation of Flair, following the initial chair shot with three more quick strikes to the head. “I never needed your sympathy,” Cody thought to himself as he stood over Flair’s broken body.
A minute passed.
The clock appeared on the Tron to start the countdown to #30, but Cody walked up to a camera, which proceeded to zero in on his face, and simply shook his head as if to say, “No.” The clock immediately stopped at “3.” Members of the audience and the men in the ring alike looked around at each other, all wondering what was going on. The crowd seemed unsure whether to boo or sit on their hands; they didn’t know what to do. Uncertainty became the theme of the moment. The perplexity of the situation continued when Rhodes sat down in his bent up chair amidst a slew of medical technicians tending to and removing Flair from the arena.
As the focus shifted back to the four men in the ring, Rhodes sat at the top of the ramp with a look that told the story of a mental chess match. Just before the in-ring action resumed, you could see him studying the faces of each obstacle and each obstacle studying his face. It took a matter of seconds for Rhodes to win the psychological game with Sheamus. In his volatile state of mind, the Celtic Warrior was easily distracted by the situation, allowing Wade Barrett to once again doom his hopes of regaining the World Heavyweight Championship. It must have annoyed Sheamus, in all his rage mixed with disappointment, that as he was staring a whole through him on his way to the locker room, Cody completely ignored him and kept his gaze on the other three.
Barrett and Daniel Bryan paired off and jockeyed for classic battle royal position, leaving Cody’s old mentor, Orton, alone with his thoughts as he pondered what calculated move to make next. Rhodes did not give him much of a chance to be the aggressor, instead forcing him to be the reactor as he left his seated position and headed down to the ring. He got on the apron and Orton slowly approached, though neither man gave much clue as to their intentions. As Orton drew closer, he began to bounce on his heels, almost anxious, but still cautious in his desire to get his hands on the man that had not only put him out of action for months, but embarrassed him in the process. He’d lay awake at night dreaming of what he’d do the next time he got his hands on Rhodes. In the back of his mind, he heard his wife pleading with him to leave Rhodes alone – not because she doubted her husband’s ability to defeat Cody, but for fear of what Rhodes might do in retaliation.
Cody made his move. He knew just the way to rile up Orton the most…
…He spit in his face.
By now, you should know that look that Orton gets when someone plants a wad on his grill. It’s a mixture of unbelievable anger, acceptance that it could be partly karma for his having done the same thing to so many legends in the past, and of being awe struck that a human being would have the gall to do that (to him of all people). Rhodes hightailed it in the other direction and waited for the desired response.
The protégé got the best of the teacher yet again. Orton hopped right over the top rope and eliminated himself, forgetting about the Rumble, and allowing his rage to take over. Fortunately for Cody, he had anticipated this and was almost immediately surrounded by nameless security, who promptly ushered Orton away from the ringside area. The security remained at the top of the ramp as Cody retook his seat on the stage.
Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan was getting the best of Wade Barrett. Bryan needed this. That’s the bottom line. He had driven himself further into his wrestling hole than he ever had before, desperate to escape the harsh realities of the situation with Beth Phoenix and the decision that he’d made to remove himself from it. Every day, he felt, there was a text message from her preaching about how he had betrayed her and the baby. So, he changed his number. Every other week, it seemed, she would show up at his hotel room no matter how far away the city was from her home, banging on the door and screaming about the baby. He hoped that she would learn to at least understand that he was not going to back down. His choice was made - he could not be a part of her life, even if that meant not being a part of his child’s life. No amount of screaming or threatening or badgering would change that choice until she changed. If she didn’t change, then he could not bear the thought of being anywhere near or having anything to do with her.
If it were not for the camera, he might have showed every bit of the weight he’d been losing from the stress. He had dropped 15 pounds in two months. He was physically sick, emotionally broken, and was scratching and clawing to hang onto what little he had left. He decided that the best thing that he could do was something that the Miz had taught him about rehab – he would “live amends” and be the person that he thought that he could be. He would work as hard as he could to succeed in his career and, accordingly, do good things for the world through the recognition that he gained. Now, if he could just eliminate Wade Barrett…
Cody had studied the entire situation with Daniel and Beth. He knew full well the extent of Beth’s betrayal and, frankly, he quietly applauded Daniel for sticking to his guns, making a tough decision, and living his life the way he thought best. It was progressive, he thought. At the same time, Cody needed an edge on Daniel, so he called Beth and offered his support. He pulled some strings and got her half-brother into the arena for the Rumble, unbeknownst to Daniel, who had made reference to Beth’s awful family to friends backstage. Rhodes overheard and decided to make overtures to the one that he thought best intimidated Daniel.
Just as Daniel seemed to have Wade on the brink of elimination, Cody politely walked a man named Dean Ambrose to the ring. Beth’s half-brother took it from there. Daniel took one look at him and his heart nearly stopped. On this day and right at this moment, how could one of the mortal enemies of his life – someone that had tried behind the scenes to make his existence miserable from near and far without even the slightest knowledge of the true story behind his sister and Daniel’s relationship – show up now. It was like the continuation of a recurring nightmare. Wade took advantage and tossed Daniel right over the top. Daniel, dejected, angry, miserable, and helpless all wrapped up into one horrible package, lay on the padding surrounding the ring with his head in his hands. Ambrose passed by Rhodes, each caring equally little about the other’s presence.
The crowd held their collective breath as they tried to figure out if a winner was crowned. Was Wade Barrett heading to Wrestlemania to face the champion of his choosing? Before even Wade, himself, could figure that out, Sheamus came barreling through the crowd, hopped the guardrail, and jumped back into the ring to resume his war with the Union-leader. It took little time for Sheamus to dispatch Barrett over the top and proceed to pummel him back through the crowd.
Once the Europeans were clear of sight, attention returned to the, perhaps, brilliant man left at ringside. Rhodes walked back up to the camera and, soon after, the previously paused countdown resumed.
#30 was Cody Rhodes. He walked into the ring, mouthed to the referee that what was going down was, indeed, happening, and urged him to call for the bell. The winner of the 2013 Royal Rumble: Cody Rhodes.
The fans, feeling cheated, resumed their barrage of garbage being thrown into the ring; there was nothing that ringside security could do to stop it. As rolled up pieces of tinfoil once containing hotdogs and hamburgers ricocheted off the #1 contender to one of the World Championships, Rhodes couldn’t help but think back to that night in the hotel room and the vision he’d had. This was the midpoint of his dream – standing in the ring with the pyrotechnicians wondering if shooting off fireworks were warranted when the last man standing had not out-wrestled the final members of the field of 30 combatants. Instead, he had psychologically owned them. He had also outwitted the fans around the world, toying with their emotions and ultimately putting them in their place of irrelevance to his plan.
The closing shot of the PPV was a close up of Cody’s face. He was leaning his head back, so the camera may not have been supposed to catch what he said. A tear trickled down his cheek, but a maniacal smile also spread across his face. He said just a single word: