Upholding the tradition of breaking the mold

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April 24, 2012

At Extreme Rules Sunday, Cody Rhodes will face Intercontinental Champion Big Show in a stipulation match. What that stipulation is, however, remains a mystery.

Although that shroud of secrecy seemingly levels the playing field, at least temporarily, for both Superstars, there is plenty of reason to believe that former titleholder Rhodes will be up for the challenge.

Cody Rhodes, after all, is of hardcore stock … though you wouldn’t necessarily know it watching him in the ring. (VIDEO PLAYLIST | PHOTOS)

Compared to older brother Goldust and father Dusty, Cody is something of an outlier, with an amateur ring background and style defined largely by speed and agility. Before Cody, neither of those attributes had ever been considered a true calling card of the rough-and-tumble Rhodes family. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes blazed trails with his long history of “gimmick matches” and flamboyant antics. Brother Dustin carried the torch in both respects, first winning over audiences with his toughness in mid ‘90s donnybrooks, then also shocking and entertaining them with the Goldust persona later on.

As his current rivalry with Big Show suggests, Cody Rhodes can also be fearless, reckless and merciless.

But can he be “extreme”?

To get perspective on the Rhodes family’s legacy of hardcore wrestling, and to figure out where Cody fits into the mix, WWE.com caught up with patriarch Dusty, who two weeks ago on SmackDown referred to his younger son as the “most naturally gifted athlete” to step into the WWE ring since Shawn Michaels. (WATCH)

“Make no mistake about it: He doesn’t want to be the next Shawn Michaels,” the elder Rhodes told WWE.com. “He wants to be the first Cody Rhodes.”

That viewpoint should come as no surprise. Along with their hardcore wrestling tendencies, the Rhodes have always shared another trait: An innate desire to break the mold.

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