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The Return of WWE's Cody Rhodes to Active Competition May Happen Sooner Than We Think

The American Nightmare stopped by Monday Night Raw to drop strong hints that his return is imminent.

By Chris Phelan
Cody Rhodes walking into the ring

There's some good news for fans of “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes. It sure sounds like his return to WWE is imminent, as his recovery from his pectoral injury seems to be nearly complete! During last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw, Rhodes made a special appearance and gave a message to the WWE Universe in the process: he’s planning on making 2023 a year to remember. 

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Fans around the world can put two and two together: Rhodes wouldn’t be even mentioning his plans for 2023 if he was still hampered by that gruesome pectoral injury

Monday’s episode of Raw was a fascinating look back at the biggest happenings in WWE over the course of the past year, and Cody Rhodes stopping by was the cherry on top of an entertaining evening. He acknowledged that even though he was out with that horrifying injury for a sizable portion of the year, he felt he made an impact in the hearts — and minds — of the WWE Universe:

“Even though I wasn’t present for a good chunk of the year, what I was able to do, I think, really did register with a lot of the WWE Universe,” he said. “And I want to pick up right back where I left off — right back in that little kid’s shoes who had the biggest dreams. Because in this time that we’re in, I have an opportunity at making that happen.”

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Indeed, it seemed that Rhodes had the proverbial rocket strapped to his back ever since he made his long-awaited return home to WWE at the beginning of 2022. His win-loss record has been impeccable, and he has three straight victories over Seth Rollins under his belt just this year, too — an impressive feat, to say the least. And ever since he suffered his pectoral injury, he’s acknowledged that the timing of his recovery could end up meaning a potential return at one of the biggest events of 2023. Whether that means the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania itself, it’s a rumor that he’s acknowledged ever since he appeared at San Diego ComicCon this past summer.

“And I’m being incredibly vague here — I get it, but I think anyone who is a fan of what we do can read between the lines,” he told millions of fans watching at home. “There is one thing that I came back for specifically — one thing. And again, a torn pec couldn’t stop me. I couldn’t name anything that can stop me. It has to be done, it needs to be done, and I want to get it done.”

You don’t need to necessarily read between the lines to grasp what Cody Rhodes is hinting at — he was on the path to WrestleMania before getting injured, and common sense says that he’s going to attempt to indeed pick up right where he left off — and that could mean entering the Royal Rumble, winning it, and going on to main event WrestleMania in Los Angeles. 

So after his latest appearance on Raw, has Cody Rhodes been given the green light? Is he cleared for active competition once again? With the Royal Rumble one month away, it’s safe to say that if he is good to go, then he’s picking one heck of a time to return to WWE. After all, the Royal Rumble may be the single most exciting night on the WWE calendar, and what better way to secure your shot at immortality by winning the Royal Rumble match itself?

Whenever Rhodes makes his return, let’s just hope that he makes his out-of-the-ring training just, like, 10% less intense — no more horrific injuries in 2023, please!

You can catch WWE Raw Mondays at 8/7c on USA Network, and WWE NXT on Tuesdays at 8/7c. And watch more WWE content on Peacock now.

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