20 underrated rivalries

Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio

I knew instantly that my nose was broken. I didn’t know that my septum was deviated, which is way worse than your nose breaking. The cartilage doesn’t grow back. When Rey did the splash on me, I didn’t even try to make it hurt any less. My arm was still protecting my nose, and it ended up hurting worse. I was just hoping the thing would end quickly.

There are so many different ways things could have gone. I got Dr. Jeremy Murray in Detroit, who makes Rip Hamilton’s mask, to make me a mask. The first time I put it on and pinned the Velcro the proper way, I remember thinking, “I’m not the same person.” It was a portal to another side of me. I didn’t know where it would lead, but I really wanted to follow it.

The WrestleMania match was my very first singles match on a pay-per-view, ever. I had main-evented pay-per-views and been a part of major matches, but I had never found myself in a singles match on a pay-per-view. And this happened to be at WrestleMania, in a building where I watched Monday Nitro in the state I grew up in. There were so many overwhelming factors, I found myself eerily calm throughout the whole day and throughout the match.

It meant the world to me for it to be against Rey. As much as I disliked Rey, I had an unbelievable amount of respect for him. But I didn’t want to just be a fanboy for a guy that I saw wrestle Dean Malenko in one of the greatest matches I’ve ever seen. I wanted to supersede his level. There’s one point in the match where I superplexed him from the second rope. I didn’t intend to, but I held on to him and he’s up there kicking his legs. I was looking out at the flashbulbs and I thought, “That’s so damn cool.” – CODY RHODES, AS TOLD TO ZACH LINDER

The relationship between Cody and me didn’t start until I was a part of WWE, but the fact that I love Dusty Rhodes so much, and have so much admiration and respect for the Rhodes family, it made things so special.

I always thought Cody had incredible talent. It was an adrenaline rush,  meeting somebody fresh and new. He was, to a certain extent, counting on my history and name to take it to another level. We both had that in mind, and we both knew we had to steal the night every night.

The broken nose incident was an accident, but it turned into something new. When little things like that happen, it makes everything much better. It amps you up, it feeds you to the next match. If I didn’t break his nose, maybe it wouldn’t have gone that route, but he took advantage of the situation after his nose was broken – putting the mask on and getting into that deep, dark side persona that he was just waiting to let loose. – REY MYSTERIO, AS TOLD TO Z.L.

Watch the young and dastardly Cody manhandle the veteran at WrestleMania