Since returning to the WWE, Cody Rhodes has become of the most popular wrestlers in the world, and a true superstar in the company.
He left the company the first time in 2016, and only returned after helping form All Elite Wrestling and making an even bigger name for himself outside the WWE.
After struggling with the AEW fanbase, he returned home as the WWE’s prodigal son to one of the biggest pops in history, at WrestleMania 38.
Since then, he has gone from strength to strength. Despite an injury derailing his career for half a year, he still managed to win the Royal Rumble and main event WrestleMania in his first year back, making the name Cody Rhodes more well known than Dusty Rhodes in the WWE.
He has also put on some incredible matches since then. Despite being known as the “Three Star General” in NJPW (for his middle-of-the-road matches), he has since put on numerous five-star matches in both AEW and WWE, cementing himself as one of the best in the world.
In this article, we’ll look through Cody Rhodes’ best matches. These include his time in WWE, AEW, ROH, TNA, NJPW and even matches he had on the indies, following his WWE release.
Let us know your favourite Cody Rhodes match after you finish reading this article!
10. vs Chris Jericho – Full Gear 2019
In Cody Rhodes’ one and only AEW Championship match, he had the crowd in the palm of his hand for the entire bout.
It was one of Cody’s best matches, purely from the incredible reaction from the crowd. They were behind him every step of the way, making ever pin fall and submission feel like the end of a WrestleMania main event.
His self-imposed stipulation meant that if Rhodes lost, he could never challenge for the AEW title again – this was confirmed when MJF threw in the towel for Cody, ending the match in heartache before nailing him in the balls.
If the match had ended with a Cody Rhodes victory, it could have been even higher on the list of his best matches.
9. vs Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi – NJPW King Of Pro-Wrestling 2018
This match is a very unique one in NJPW history – it is just one of twelve triple threat matches in the company history.
While many fans though that Cody should not have been included in this clash between Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi, The American Nightmare played his part perfectly to build this brilliant match.
The first half was a typical indie style, high-adrenaline style contest, while the second half got a lot more emotion and storytelling to it.
This match was one of Cody Rhodes’ best, and showed how he could hang in the ring with some of the best in the world.
8. vs. Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi (with Marty Scurll) – ROH/NJPW Honor Rising: Japan 2018
The Golden Lovers teamed together for the first time in three years as they took on the Bullet Club duo of Cody Rhodes and Marty Scurll.
Taking place at the joint ROH and NJPW event, it featured four of the best wrestlers in the world, and as such brought one of Cody Rhodes best matches.
There was some slight communication issues between the teams, although due to the time since they last teamed together, as well as the immense pace of the bout, that is understandable.
The crowd was red hot for the match, and it continued to the story of Cody Rhodes trying to force a wedge between Kenny and Kota perfectly.
7.vs Sammy Guevara – AEW Beach Break 2022
One of the best matches in Cody Rhodes career was a ladder match against Sammy Guevara for the TNT Champion, on the January 26 2022 edition of AEW Dynamite. The match was the first one-on-one ladder match in AEW history, and had the TNT championship on the line.
Sammy Guevara had defeated Dustin Rhodes (Cody’s brother) the week prior to become the interim TNT Champion. This was because Cody Rhodes missed the show due to COVID, and a unification ladder match was scheduled for the following week.
The match was an incredible spot fest, both men leaping from ladders in increasingly dangerous and entertaining fashion.
The highlight of the match was Sammy Guevara launching himself from the top rope, onto a ladder and then immediately hitting Cody Rhodes with a diving cutter from 15 feet in the air. The pair came crashing to the mat in spectacular fashion.
6. vs Brodie Lee – AEW Dynamite Chris Jericho 30th Anniversary Celebration
In what sadly turned out to be Brodie Lee’s last match, Cody Rhodes had one of the best Dog Collar matches in wrestling history.
After winning the TNT Championship from Rhodes in dominant fashion, Brodie Lee took on challengers like Dustin Rhodes and Orange Cassidy to defend his title until Rhodes return.
When The American Nightmare finally came for his rematch, it was in extreme circumstanced – in a dog collar match.
Strapped together with a chain around their necks, this match was guaranteed to be brutally violent. They used the chain as a weapon on one another with incredible effect.
It was the first Dog Collar Match in AEW history and was inspired by the Greg Valentine vs Roddy Pipe match at Starrcade in 1983. Being a big history buff, Rhodes sought inspiration from man old-school wrestlers, most notably his father Dusty Rhodes.
5. vs Nick Aldis – NWA 70th Anniversary Show
After Cody Rhodes won the NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship at All In, fans were hotly anticipating for the rematch against Nick Aldis down the line.
This came at the 70th Anniversary show for the National Wrestling Alliance, and took on Aldis in a 2 out of 3 falls match for the title.
It was a great old-school match, mainly due to the time and attention given to them in this bout. Given they were the main event, as opposed to All In, the whole show was build around Rhodes vs Aldis, something they made good use of.
Cody paid tribute to many legends who inspired him in his career in the match, including Dusty Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes, Randy Orton and Kazuchika Okada, to name but a few.
4. vs Seth Rollins – WrestleMania Backlash 2022
The second in the Seth Rollins vs Cody Rhodes trilogy is the weakest of the three, but still managed to find it’s way onto Cody Rhodes best matches list.
After an exciting contest, The American Nightmare claimed the win when he blocked a roll-up attempt by Rollins and grabbed a handful of tights to pin him. This angered The Visionary greatly, as it meant he was now 2-0 down against Cody Rhodes in their two matches.
The match took everything the first did and made it better. Without the shock of Cody Rhodes debut, his match vs Seth Rollins could instead be a slow, story driven match that showcased both men in a different light to the WrestleMania match.
This was rated as higher by many than the first match, although personally I found it more forgettable and less interesting than their classic match at Wrestlemania 39. Being sandwiched in the middle of the Cody Rhodes vs Seth Rollins tribology, it maybe didn’t get the attention that it deserved at the time.
3. vs Seth Rollins – WrestleMania 38
Cody Rhodes made his long awaited return to WWE at Wrestlemania 38. He was revealed as Seth Rollins’ mystery opponent, and the pair put on a match of the night contender in the middle of the jam packed show.
In a match in which both men pulled out all the stops, Cody Rhodes picked up the victory after hitting Rollins with three Cross Rhodes and his father’s own Bionic Elbow to seal the win over the former Shield member.
His debut came as a shock to everybody. He had left the WWE 6 years earlier, sick of being riddled with the “Stardust” Gimmick. He left to find himself on the indies, finding friendship with The Elite. They, along with Tony Khan, helped form AEW and become the biggest threat to the WWE in 20 years.
However, by 2022 he had slid down the card and the returned to the WWE after a five star match against Sammy Guevara in AEW. Cody Rhodes debuted as Seth Rollins surprise opponent at Wrestlemania 39. He answered his open challenge as the crowd exploded when they heard the opening words of his entrance – “Wrestling has more than one royal family”.
The match went off without a hitch. Cody Rhodes came back to the WWE a new man with a new look and a new move set. He hit the Cody Cutter, Disaster Kick and the rest of his canon of moves as he and Rollins put on a WrestleMania classic. He won the bout after three Cross Rhodes and a Bionic Elbow but Rollins away for good.
2. vs Seth Rollins – Hell in a Cell 2022
The final of the legendary Seth Rollins vs Cody Rhodes trilogy was also the best match in Cody Rhodes career – both in in-ring action and storytelling.
The match capped off a perfect feud, although the winner was forced to sit out the rest of the year due to injury.
The story of the match going into it was that Rollins just wanted one more chance to beat Cody Rhodes. He had been bested twice, but his pride would not let him admit that he could be beaten by the former AEW star. He wanted to prove it in an arena that forced a true outcome – the Hell in a Cell.
The match was highly anticipated at the time, but the hype went into overload when Cody Rhodes suffered a horrific pectoral tear that put the match in jeopardy. The muscle was torn off the born, and he had a disgusting bruise that covered half of his entire chest.
Despite the horrific injury, Cody continued. He noted that the muscle was already completely torn and he could not do any further injury. He soldiered on, showcasing an incredibly high pain threshold as he battled inside one of the most dangerous match types in WWE.
Cody Rhodes survived an onslaught with a Kendo Stick on his way to getting his third win in a row against Seth Rollins. The former Shield member worked around Rhodes useless arm perfectly, feigning attacking it whilst also keeping Cody incredibly safe.
This match was given a five star rating by Dave Meltzer. It was the third of Cody Rhodes’ five star matches so far and made him a legend in the WWE for his performance. He evoked Triple H’s gutsy showing where he tore his quad on Raw and continued to wrestle in one of the best tag team matches of all time.
After returning from injury, Cody Rhodes won the 2023 Royal Rumble match and wrestled Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39.
1. vs Dustin Rhodes – AEW Double or Nothing 2019
Without question, the best match of Cody Rhodes career is his battle with his brother Dustin Rhodes at AEW Double or Nothing 2019.
In one of the vert first matches in AEW history, Cody Rhodes and his brother Dustin put the company on the map, with a five-star performance unlike any other.
The match had little build, other than a short video package with interviews from each man. It was framed as a family rivalry, although it was more about proving who was best, rather than any real animosity.
The match at Double or Nothing 2019 was a well-paced, old-school style match. With a focus on storytelling over big spots, it was much different to any other match on the show.
With callbacks to their father, the late Dusty Rhodes, and an incredible amount of blood shed, the match was pure drama. It saw Cody try to take down the old gunslinger one last time, proving himself not just to his family, but to himself.
The match was awarded a five-star rating by Dave Meltzer, the first of many five-star matches in AEW history, but still the best match in Cody Rhodes career.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.