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Cody Rhodes’ comeback tour continues to move units for WWE. Fresh off a successful Royal Rumble last weekend, where Rhodes prevailed as the odds-on-favorite while selling a ton of merchandise, Rhodes played a key part in breaking records yet again this past weekend.
“Cody is a draw,” said Dave Meltzer of “Wrestling Observer Radio.”
“This weekend they had house shows in Columbus, Ga. and Pensacola (Fla.) The advances were the same—2,000, 2,500—in fact, it was lower than usual. They were not good—they weren’t bad, they were a little bit lower than normal house show advances.”
“Cody wins the Rumble, then they announce that Cody’s working those two shows. And they did the all-time record gates in both cities—in Columbus, Ga. and Pensacola, Fla.—you know, about 6,000 people in both shows.”
Meltzer, who has led the charge of a budding fake Twitter controversy backing Sami Zayn to main event WrestleMania over Cody Rhodes, noted that these house show numbers are comparable only to WWE’s appearances in Madison Square Garden. Last week’s Raw in Tulsa Oklahoma also set gate and attendance records the night after Rhodes’ big Royal Rumble win, while ratings were up over 13%.
Rhodes quarter-hour to open the show drew a massive 2.3 million viewers.
Rhodes’ unquestioned drawing power is just further evidence that continues to pile up against the case for Sami Zayn WrestleMania truthers. As AEW continues to fall behind WWE this WrestleMania season, many AEW stars, such as Chris Jericho and Dax Harwood of FTR, have shortsightedly banged the table for Zayn as a highly entertaining Bloodline angle reaches its climax. Though it would be fantastic news for AEW if WWE’s fanbase imploded and hijacked television shows to push Zayn into the WrestleMania main event, that will not be the case in 2023.
Rhodes once again silenced these critics Monday night on Raw with an instantly classic promo opposite Paul Heyman. The two storytellers took turns evoking emotion and purpose out of Rhodes’ WrestleMania 39 main event against Roman Reigns, with a focus on Rhodes’ late father Dusty Rhodes.
“In my last conversation with your dad (Dusty Rhodes), he told me that you, Cody, were his favorite son. But Roman Reigns was the son he always wanted,” said Paul Heyman to cap off a brilliant promo exchange.
In his response, Rhodes seemed to take a subtle jab at his detractors, and former AEW colleagues’ attempts to sabotage WWE’s booking plans.
“I’m just trying to win a wrestling championship, and everybody—everybody—wants to make it personal,” said Rhodes.
With most of loudest, and most toxic hardcore wrestling fans now primarily supporting AEW, a more tribal WWE fanbase is far less likely to turn on the product. Suddenly, unlike WrestleManias past under Vince McMahon, fans are allowing the competent Triple H Era to tell its story.
WWE’s Sami Uso storyline officially began on April 22, 2022 broadcast of SmackDown. WWE is on Chapter 41 of the Sami Uso-Roman Reigns story as it looks to close that book February 18, 2023 at Elimination Chamber. Once that book is shut, WWE has yet another Emmy-caliber storyline on its hands when it begins Chapter 1 of Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns.
Judging by the key performance indicators, which have been on fire with Cody Rhodes chasing the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, this book figures to be another bestseller.