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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: October 28, 2012 - Death and Heaven; Life in Hell
By The Doc
Jul 27, 2012 - 12:29:37 AM

(Doc's Note - To maximize the following experience, please watch the opening crawl)

October 28, 2012

How one responds to adversity is one of the defining traits that separate the extraordinary people from everyone else.

Taking it a step further…

How one responds to adversity in pressure packed situations is THE defining trait that separates the truly amazing, undeniable superstar from the other extraordinary people.

Tonight, the WWE Universe went into the October PPV anticipating the manner in which Cody Rhodes handled himself, amidst one of the most trying months of his career in the biggest match of his life. After losing the World Heavyweight Championship to Randy Orton at Summerslam, Rhodes lost his cool. Yet, with his father’s guidance and support, Cody was able to regain the title last month at Night of Champions. Many an issue between the two had been settled in the process and it seemed as though they’d broke new ground in their father-son relationship. When Cody won back the title, Dusty was at ringside for the occasion and sought to celebrate with his son as any father would. Before he could get the chance, though, the American Dream lost consciousness.

Cody was all too familiar with what was happening with his father. The first time he blacked out was six years ago. The doctors told him everything would be fine, but last year it happened again. A half decade having separated the two incidents, no one would have thought a third would occur so quickly. As the new World Champion should have been on cloud nine after a title winning victory over his heated rival, he instead sat in the hospital watching his dad slowly fade away. Dusty eventually woke up, as he had done twice before, but that was not the concern for Cody. Once is just a random occurrence; twice is a bit more alarming; but a third time means that it is probably time to start realizing that the first real loss that he’s ever had to experience could be forthcoming.

What was that about adversity?

His first reign as the World Champ had lasted but a month, in large part, because he struggled to handle the weight of being the champ. The added pressure of carrying the company made him slip up and make a mistake against his former mentor that knows him, as a wrestler, better than anyone. He knew that he had evolved, though, during the September rematch. He found a gear that he didn’t yet know that he had and was able to transform into just the breed of mongoose capable of putting the Viper away. The forty pounds of gold around his waist confirmed that he had taken the next step.

So why, Cody wondered aloud during his part victory speech, part patriarchal medical update on Smackdown weeks ago, do things keep happening to derail the excitement that he was supposed to feel after winning the title both in July and again in September? In July, Orton became his first PPV challenger, preventing him from even getting his feet wet as champion before being tasked with facing a man once his mentor and recently, at that time, his friend. Then, in September, when he seemed to be putting the failures of reign #1 in the past where they belonged, did reign #2 have to start with his father nearly dying at ringside?

On the brink of mental collapse for a couple of years, now, Cody seemed to be pushed even further toward the brink of a breakdown. The medical emergency that trumped his status as the new champion may well have fractured his psyche. His mother could not reach him; neither could his brother, Dustin. Cody has seemed convinced that there are forces at work that want to keep him from being the person that he is supposed to be. Orton tried to reason with him, as well, appealing to him as a former friend and confidant. Every attempt has fallen on deaf ears. The Rhodes family got an ear full of relentless verbal abuse and Orton was physically destroyed, as Rhodes nearly broke his neck with an inverted facelock.

Two weeks after Cody’s attack on Orton, the Viper returned to Smackdown and gave Rhodes a dose of his own medicine. Perhaps he was trying to literally knock some sense into him when he punted Cody so hard that his neck snapped awkwardly to the side. Well, prior to the punt, Rhodes had been directing his anger at no one in particular. Afterward, it was clear that Cody’s rage would now have a specific target.

With his dad coalescing but without a positive long-term diagnosis, a strained cervical spine that required a neck brace, and another match with Orton on the horizon, Cody asked that his championship match be contested inside the confines of a structure that he felt perfectly embodied his situation: Hell in a Cell. Orton countered that the stakes be even higher. In addition to Hell in a Cell and the World Heavyweight title, the stipulation was added that the loser of the match would have to leave Smackdown. Perhaps said request was made by the General Manager, in hopes that Orton would remove an unstable, problematic champion for him.

How one responds to adversity in pressure packed situations is THE defining trait that separates the truly amazing, undeniable superstar from the other extraordinary people.

You cannot possibly fathom the notion of losing your dad, losing your most prized professional possession, and losing your job all in one fell swoop, can you? Yet, the stars were aligning for just such a fate to befall Cody Rhodes. If only he could stop the downward spiral. In film, Yoda once taught us that death is not a circumstance to fear; that we should embrace the fact that it is a natural part of life’s cycle to die. An avid fan of the theatrical arts, Cody was starting to take that lesson to heart. He was starting to see that his father’s situation was what it was and that there was little he could do but honor him as the champion of the world…

So, why, then did Orton have to stick his stupid, mother f*cking face in Cody’s business? What right does he have to involve himself in the affairs of the Rhodes family?! His days as a mentor were over a long time ago and whatever lesson he was trying to teach was neither welcome nor necessary! He wants to end Cody’s career on Smackdown and take his title from him?! There will be no such occurrence in the life of Cody Rhodes! The biography of his career is writing itself as we speak and, at no point, will there be a chapter about how he quit and used his father’s plight as an excuse to meltdown!

The internal monologue inside the mind of the champion could be inspiring if not for its dark intentions, could it not?

There was no honor in what happened to Randy Orton inside the Cell. On one hand, you give credit to Rhodes for retaining the title and sending the “Franchise Player” packing. On the other, you question the manner in which he made it happen. Some might have thought that Orton’s actions were the most deplorable that we’ve seen in the modern era, considering that he once attacked a woman and kissed her to get under the skin of his opponent; considering that he tried to detonate pyrotechnics to permanently dismember his foe in a past championship match. Yet, what we saw from Rhodes is likely to draw fines and suspensions; possibly even a vacation of the World Championship. The WWE better thank their lucky stars that the Network hasn’t taken hold of what once were monthly pay-for events, yet, for it might have been yanked off the air before it ever had a chance to succeed if Hell in a Cell had taken place on anything but PPV.

The actions of Cody Rhodes may end up changing the rules. Will a superstar ever be allowed to wear a t-shirt to the ring again? Such a question seemed preposterous just hours ago. Yet, when your World Heavyweight titleholder uses it to literally suffocate his opponent, then uses it to choke said opponent, you have a right to legitimately ask the question.

The expectation for the World title match had been “classic”; not complete and utter destruction the likes of which we’ve never seen. It was as uncomfortable as it was gripping. To see a man’s face slammed into the fence walls of the Cell was nothing new, but to see it done repeatedly with the man thrown into the Cell barely conscious, bleeding profusely from multiple lacerations, one eye swollen shut and the other glazed over in a sign of clear concussion…well, that was disturbing. It left you wondering what Rhodes might have done if there had been no referee there to continually badger him, thus distracting him temporarily from his masochism. Oddly, the referee was never touched. His presence was a mild annoyance, more than anything, but it might’ve saved Orton from permanent damage.

Anyone that has ever dealt with what Rhodes has been going through may understand that, in order to stay strong and functional for yourself and your family, you tend to bottle up some emotions. At some point, often when you least expect it, you just cannot take it anymore and the emotions just come pouring out of you. For Rhodes to lose it, all that it took was Orton, prior to the match even starting, looking Cody right in the eye and genuinely telling him, “I’m sorry about your dad.” As Lillian Garcia did the pre-match introduction for the challenger, Rhodes removed his t-shirt and wrapped it around Orton’s face, grapevining his abdomen with his legs to prevent the Viper from slithering out of his clutches. “How dare this man mention my father before a fight with so much at stake,” questioningly screamed Rhodes inside his own mind. “Does he think that expressing his sympathies will somehow lower my guile?!”

Rhodes clearly had no remorse. Every ounce of frustration; every bit of disappointment, anger, fatigue, sadness, and hurt came roaring out of his body. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he demanded that the bell be rung to officially start the match. It was the only way that he’d relinquish his death grip. Orton was clearly unconscious. Medics rushed to the ring, as Rhodes backed away only to start bringing out the contents beneath the ring to be used as weapons for the Viper’s destruction. Referee Mike Chioda told one of the medics, “I don’t think he’s breathing”; a notion confirmed when CPR was performed. Rhodes rushed over and snatched the unassuming other medic and threw him out of the Cell. He got hold of the key to the Cell, locked the door, and threw the key under the ring. He removed a lengthy steel chain and used a ladder to intricately weave a complicated pattern in every direction surrounding the Cell door. He did so with such rapid precision that one had to wonder if this was premeditated.

When he returned his attention to Orton, the medic had successfully brought him back to life. Not to make light of the life-threatening situation, but everyone’s eyes were glued to Rhodes. What the hell was he doing? His intentions became clear as he knocked out the medic and re-focused on decimating Orton. Officials stormed to the ringside area, using a bolt cutter to attempt to break open the Cell. They easily broke through the original lock, but Rhodes had used a stronger chain, much less susceptible to the cutter, to keep everyone out. While the officials worked desperately to get in, Rhodes made the most of his time. As mentioned earlier, he rammed Orton’s face repeatedly into the Cell wall. He must have done so twenty times in a matter of 90 seconds.

The gruesome assault ended shortly thereafter. Other superstars began coming to the ring to aid officials in cracking the cage. Even a street clothed Undertaker came down to assist. As they broke through, Rhodes was already victorious. A referee had reluctantly counted to three.

Rhodes was immediately subdued. CM Punk had managed to grapevine and get him to the mat long enough for others to assist the police in handcuffing Rhodes. It was surreal to see the winner of a main-event match – the World Heavyweight Champion – being led away to prison. Orton being carted off on a stretcher was a secondary sight to Rhodes.

The question now becomes what the WWE will do with their World Champion. Difficult decisions must be made. Men have been arrested on television before, but few of them have truly earned it. Envelopes were pushed that may garner quite a backlash. Will the media take hold of this? How ironic would it be if Rhodes, even in winning the match that could have cost him the title and his job, was stripped of the championship and fired? The WWE has garnered a lot of press this year for various reasons, but will this be the night where the negative attention becomes too much to back up that old adage that “Any press is good press?” Time will tell.

What if Rhodes sticks around, though? What if he keeps his job and his belt? If he does, it begs a potentially more difficult question to answer….What will he do next?

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