Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wrestling Masks: The Rey Mysterio-Cody Rhodes feud

The Rey Mysterio-Cody Rhodes rivalry is getting more interesting.

In the last WWE Smackdown match between the two wrestlers, we got a taste of a feud with a potential for longevity and intensity. A building tension reaches its climax which ends in a post-match beatdown outside the ring. It was an amazing exchange of moves and maneuvers. But the beauty of it lies in the reason for the animosity.

When he started, Rhodes’ gimmick is that he is extremely narcissistic, even claiming that he is the best-looking wrestler in WWE. In fact, he demands to be called “Dashing” Cody Rhodes.

But in one of his fights with the quick Rey Mysterio, his face was hit by Mysterio's leg brace. Rhodes was very devastated by this happening. He undergoes reconstructive surgery for his face. He was no longer dashing.

This created a very interesting storyline. Rhodes began to be ashamed of his appearance. When he returned to WWE after months of recovery, he was wearing a clear protective mask. That is in addition to his cowl.

Rhodes develops a deep anger to Mysterio for breaking his face. Interestingly, Rhodes has lost his ‘face’ and becomes a ‘heel’ entirely. Mysterio has no grudge with Rhodes but he needs to fight for his life as Rhodes’ fury will never make him safe. It now becomes a personal feud between two wrestlers in masks. It is a nice theme in itself. Almost poetic.

This theme was established more concretely during the April 22 match. During the match, Rhodes brings masks made from paperbags and made a speech to the audience. Rhodes says that his mask is for protection while Rey Mysterio’s is for hiding his fears and loathing thoughts for the WWE Universe. Rhodes says everyone is wearing a mask but he can see through them. He says everyone is envious of him. He says everyone hopes it is worse for their neighbor, friends and family more than themselves. Cody then offers a remedy at his expense, he presents a paper bag with holes for eyes, nose and mouth. He wants everyone to put them on to cover everyone’s flaws. He says to keep them on until he defeats Rey Mysterio.

Rey Mysterio won the match. But after the match Cody Rhodes attack him and the two fights outside the ring. In the end, Rhodes was able to subdue Mysterio and forcedly wears a paper mask to his head. Rhodes exits victoriously. He has established himself. Surely, he will have many fans after that. Many will surely come to the arena in paper masks.

But this is just a start of a good story in the making. His personal grudge against Mysterio is just a start. One angle that WWE can play is that Rhodes can now become a heel to all those wrestlers that are good-looking. Rhodes can be developed into a demented wrestler with a deep hatred for beauty. Or a wrestler who wants everyone to show who they really are behind their masks, as in Rey Mysterio’s case.

Either way, the mask theme is getting interesting.

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