How Cody Rhodes’ Neck Tattoo Became a Defining Moment in WWE History

During his time away, Cody Rhodes reinvented himself to become one of the most recognizable names among professional wrestlers. He left the company in 2016 and returned in 2022. Rhodes worked hard to rebuild his career and himself while he was away. He competed in many places, including the independent scene, ROH and NJPW. He also founded AEWMcMahon, and Rhodes discussed some new changes when Rhodes returned to WWE. McMahon’s plans changed when Rhodes presented his famous neck tattoo.

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The Negotiation Role of Cody Rhodes’s Famous Neck Tattoo

Rhodes worked hard to develop his character while he was outside of WWE. He acquired a new nickname, “The American Nightmare,” and created a theme song called “Kingdom.” Cody Rhodes was a more recent and better Cody Rhodes, with the neck tattoo included. Rhodes was able to make some changes when he met McMahon to discuss a possible return to WWE. One of them was a brand-new logo. Rhodes didn’t want it, as he stated in an exclusive interview with Peter Rosenberg from HOT 97. He says, ‘We have the world’s best artists and Creative Services Department. We can come up with some new logos for you,’ and I remember I just leaned in and went like that and showed him (pulled his collar down so McMahon could see the neck tattoo), and he just kind of did one of those classic laughs like, ‘Ha! Never mind. That’s it, that’s it.’ He knew we can’t change it now.

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Rhodes also did not wish to change how he was presented in AEW. He continued, saying, “It is as it is. He said something very nice to me on that particular day. I stood my ground. I said, ‘I don’t wanna change a thing about myself, including my song. I wanna have my elevator, I want all this, and he said something, saying, ‘Well, that’s what we’re buying. It’s fine,’ I thought. I hadn’t understood it the first time. It was nice to feel like everything was broken..”

Cody Rhodes in WWE: “The American Nightmare.”

It was the right decision to present Rhodes in WWE. He worked on it throughout his years of free agency and AEW. Fans greeted him with a roaring ovation when he returned at WrestleMania Night One as Seth Rollins’ mystery opponent. Since then, he has become a babyface. He put on some great matches, especially his trilogy with Rollins. He also won the Royal Rumble men’s game in 2023 and challenged Roman Reigns to WrestleMania39 for the Undisputed WWE Universe Championship. But he lost the match. He then went on to have a feud with Brock Lesnar.

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Creating a character in professional wrestling that connects with the fans can be challenging. All it takes is a fan reaction. Rhodes’s character is an excellent example of creating a character that fans can relate to. He was also very clear about his goal with “The American Nightmare,” so he stuck to his guns. The choice was very successful and paid off for Rhodes. The American Nightmare, who is still working to “finish” the story in WWE, will continue to be a WWE mainstay.

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