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Rhodes' mask part of a classic defensive strategy
Throughout my tenure here at WWE, I have always realized that injuries inflicted while in the heat of battle can in many cases sideline a Superstar for a period of time. However, there are some injuries suffered to where a Superstar can work through the pain via some sort of protection.
Take, for example, reigning Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes, who has worn a face guard to protect a broken nose since February, and has oftentimes used said item as a modus operandi in his matches (WATCH VIDEO).
This is not the first time that a WWE Superstar has gone the route of capitalizing on an injury by utilizing its means of protection. As a matter of fact, this method of aggression was a proven commodity in my eyes through the years.
Let’s take a look back and compare Cody Rhodes to other former Superstars who went this route in the 1980’s – and ironically, like Rhodes, are all second-generation talents.
Cowboy Bob Orton
Known as “Ace,” Orton had his left forearm broken in a 1985 match against Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. Not one to miss any down time, Orton continued to wrestle with his left forearm protected by a cast. After considerable time passed, the thought was that his injury had mended.
However, Orton, citing “doctor’s orders, ” claimed that his arm had not properly healed. Yet it wasn’t uncommon to see the WWE Hall of Famer use the cast advantageously as he racked up victory after victory. In fact, during 2010’s Monday Night Raw Legends telecast, there was Orton, some 25 years later, still with his left forearm in a cast.
"Iron" Mike Sharpe
Calling himself “Canada’s Greatest Athlete,” the Hamilton, Ontario native came to the ring in the early 80’s wearing a leather band around his right forearm, where he repeatedly cited a nagging injury.
More often than not, though, Sharpe would seem to insert some sort of object in the armband, and used it to his advantage in gaining victories.
The man that the fans loved to call “wimp” wore that forearm band throughout his WWE ring career. Why, I wouldn't be at all surprised if I found out that he still wore it to this day.
Greg "The Hammer" Valentine
In 1988, Valentine asserted that he had sustained a shin injury, and began wearing a shin guard on his left leg to the ring. During a match, The Hammer would rotate the shin guard to where it covered his calf. Thus, whenever Valentine applied the figure four leg lock, the exertion of pressure was even worse on his helpless opponent. The WWE Hall of Famer wore it for quite some time, and even named it the “Heartbreaker.”
Fast forward to 2011, and it seems to me that Cody Rhodes has chosen the same route the aforementioned individuals took nearly three decades ago to garner his wins.
I’ve always thought that Cody was a student of the game. Using his mask to his advantage, however, shows me that he’s done his homework.