Ring of Honor Final Battle on Friday was a pretty great show with some stand out matches but nothing was quite as amazing to me as the pivotal heel turn of Cody during his match with Jay Lethal. The way he had the entire Hammerstein Ballroom crowd eating from his hand like a flock of baby birds was both beautiful and terrifying. This is a man who understands ring psychology and wields it like a weapon at his own will.
As he makes his entrance, he is nothing but smiles, graciously high fiving the crowd and being the sweet, likable son of Dusty Rhodes he has come to be known as on the indy circuit. His white, shiny boots have the word “Honor” sewn down the sides. Even as The Addiction enters the ring and speaks about the impact Dusty had on their lives, Cody is friendly and personable. The match begins with the Code Of Honor. It seems Cody is our face and Lethal is, per usual, our heel.
The match continues, however, and we start to see little chinks in the armor of our knight. Frustration brings a sly smile that is out of character for our boy. He even does a quick cart-wheel and Stardust hand gesture. Cody is confusing me a tad. I am interested because, well, I liked Stardust. He was fun and peculiar. Plus who doesn’t like it when former WWE talent sticks it to the company once in a while?
After multiple false finishes on both sides, we see an accidental head bump to the ref and he goes down. Cody gives Lethal a massive kick to the balls. Wait. Cody gives Lethal a massive kick to the balls while the ref isn’t looking? Cody cheated? Wait. He just pinned him after a Cross-Rhodes?? What just happened? Cody won dirty? Now he is attacking the ref? He’s swearing? He’s flipping tables? He’s flipping off Lethal? What The Fuck? He walks out then comes back to push Corino. The crowd is pissed. He is being booed.
Pure genius. In a span of 20 minutes an entire crowd went from cheering their hero to booing someone they felt personally betrayed by. It was amazing, and beautiful. I watched it about 5 times just because it was so perfect. This is the kind of thing I love as a wrestling fan. That match showed me more in 20 minutes than we usually see in months of story set up. I have been saying since the first time I saw Cody in an indy show back in the summer that he was a missed opportunity and I hope someone is royally kicking themselves after seeing this match.
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