Bully Ray Fantasy Books Storyline With WWE Champ Cody Rhodes & Current AEW Star

As Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes awaits the winner of LA Knight vs. AJ Styles on "WWE SmackDown" as the first challenger for his title at Backlash, his next long-term feud remains up in the air. With Roman Reigns and The Rock both gone for the foreseeable future, the next big story for Rhodes was up for debate on "Busted Open Radio," where Bully Ray landed on an all-too-familiar name as his ideal opponent for "The American Nightmare."


"You know who I'd love to see Cody face one day?" Bully asked, before prompting co-host Dave LaGreca to take a wild guess. Upon LaGreca's response of Dustin Rhodes, Bully continued, "Ding, ding, f****** ding. Cody vs. Dustin. What a story." Of course, Cody vs. Dustin has already happened, famously, at AEW's first-ever pay-per-view, Double or Nothing 2019. The Busted Open crew did recognize that instant classic ever-so-briefly, but the hypothetical WWE-style saga of Cody and Dustin was positioned here in far more depth than AEW were able to display in an era with no TV deal, before "AEW Dynamite," largely relying on social media promotion and word of mouth. Bully likens the tale of the Rhodes Brothers to Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather," and specifically, the relationship between Corleone brothers Michael and Fredo.


"I always looked at Dustin as the Fredo of the [Rhodes] family," Bully explained. "Not Fredo as in he was dumb or anything like that [but] in the way he was passed over. To me, Dustin was left in the dust. Yes, he was successful with the Goldust character and everything, but the real Dustin story I don't think ever truly came out."

I'm your older brother, and I can't handle that.

If Bully were doing the booking, he'd have Dustin make his WWE return as a full-fledged heel, jealous of his younger brother and loaded with all kinds of verbal ammo, channeling their respective relationships with their legendary father, Dusty.


"'Dad always liked you better. Dad forgot about me,' Bully imagined Dustin saying. 'And now you're the WWE Champion and what am I? I'm always gonna be second to you, Cody, but I'm your older brother and I can't handle that.' Just like Fredo said to Michael in 'The Godfather.'" The story as Bully laid it out isn't perfect, and he recognized its inherent flaw in that, if Dustin shares his side of the story, people may be compelled to cheer for him. But that's easily countered with a good, old-fashioned uptick in intensity and violence. "You have to get past the emotional connection. Like, the minute I start feeling bad for Dustin is when Dustin needs to punch Cody right in the back of the neck."


The other problem that remains, at present, is that Dustin is still under contract with AEW, reportedly until September 2024, and Bully quickly shot down Mark Henry's suggestion of "a working agreement" between AEW and WWE. "Not gonna happen." But if and when the feud occurs, Bully said we'd see a master class from Dustin, who has conquered the craft from a mental perspective. "The emotion, the tears, would all be real," he said. "The anger would be real. The resentment would be real." In the meantime, names like Randy Orton, Sheamus, and GUNTHER were all thrown out as possible opponents for Cody (though Bully says WWE should keep GUNTHER away from Cody for now) but that the dream story, no pun intended, remains Cody vs. Dustin 2.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.