How Hardcore Holly Helped Cody Rhodes During WWE Debut Year

Hamish Woodward

Cody Rhodes is currently one of the biggest stars in wrestling, but you can’t ignore his humble beginnings as Hardcore Holly‘s partner.

The duo teamed together in the infancy of Cody Rhodes’ career. Long before his days of main eventing WrestleMania, or starting his own wrestling career.

No, long before that, he was just a 20-something kid without knee pads who seemed to have very little going for him.

That was before he teamed with a veteran wrestler in the WWE who had one last run at the top in him.

Hardcore Holly vs Cody Rhodes

After losing to Randy Orton in his debut match, Cody Rhodes entered into a feud with veteran wrestler Hardcore Holly.

Holly defeated the young Rhodes three times in a row, but showed respect to the young star more as the weeks went on.

After saving Cody Rhodes from an attack from The World’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas), Holly turned babyface for the first time in years.

He soon formed a tag team with Rhodes, taking him under his wing and helping him improve as a professional wrestler. This was the making of the future American Nightmare in the WWE.

They Won The Tag Team Championships Together

Hardcore Holly & Cody Rhodes began teaming together and defeated a number of tag teams, like London & Kendrick, The Highlanders and The World’s Greatest Tag Team.

This would culminate in a huge win on the 15th Anniversary of Raw, when Cody Rhodes and Hardcore Holly defeated Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch to become the World Tag Team Champions.

This was Hardcore Holly’s first championship in years (and the final of his WWE career). It was also the first title Cody Rhodes won in the company.

They held the title for an astonishing 202 days, one of the longest reigns of the decade. It was a fantastic moment for both men – a veteran having one last hurrah, and a youngster getting his first taste of gold in the company.

They lost the titles the following year, in one of the most bizarre matches of all time.

Hardcore Holly’s Last Match Was Against Cody Rhodes

Hardcore Holly’s last match in the WWE was a tag team championship match against Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr at WWE Night of Champions 2008.

The match was a handicap match, which would usually make no sense in a match for the tag titles, and this match would go down in history as one of the most bizarre WWE title match ever.

Hardcore Holly defended his World Tag Team Championships against Ted Dibiase Jr, who revealed his partner to be Cody Rhodes for the match.

Rhodes turned on Holly and joining up with his fellow 2nd-generation superstar. Rhodes and DiBiase won the match in just two minutes, pinning Holly in a quick match for the World Tag Team Championships.

This match is – to my knowledge – the only time a wrestler has beat himself for a championship title. I hope its also the final time, because the whole thing was a little bit silly.

WWE removed Hardcore Holly from TV after losing to Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr. He pitched many angles for his return, but was released 7 months later after 15 years with the WWE.

Hardcore Holly Had Heat With Cody Rhodes Towards The End

Despite being tag team champions, animosity began to build between Holly and Rhodes toward the end of their reign.

Speaking with Ring Rust Radio, Hardcore Holly revealed how the pair “lost touch with each other”, due to a “little bit of animosity” between the two.

“I was pretty close to Cody. Near the end there, we kinda lost touch with each other. I think, if I’m not [mistaken], there was kinda a little bit of animosity there. We really kinda lost touch with each other, and I thought to myself, you know what, just let him be and let him do what he wants to do.”

The pair never appeared on-screen after their break-up, nor was Hardcore Holly mentioned by Cody Rhodes over the years, in AEW or WWE.

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