Cody Rhodes Still Seeking The Right Opponent

Rhodes defeated Logan Paul, while WWE also crowned its new King and Queen of the Ring in Saudi Arabia

As champion, you’re only as good as your opponent.

Every great champion has a classic rival. Cody Rhodes is still seeking his.

Rhodes defeated Logan Paul in the main event of King and Queen of the Ring, successfully defending his undisputed WWE championship. This is Rhodes’ long-awaited first world title reign, which the people–as The Rock would say, the Cody Crybabies–were calling for to happen. It is still in the early stages, but after two PLE title defenses, it has yet to reach the next level–primarily because Rhodes is in desperate need of the right opponent.

There was zero doubt Rhodes would beat AJ Styles at Backlash. As expected, it was a highly entertaining match–but one that lacked any suspense over who was winning. Rhodes and Logan Paul worked a phenomenal, compelling match today, but it also ended without suspense over who was getting his hand raised.

Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes / WWE

Randy Orton is a consideration for Rhodes, but it would mean slightly less after he lost cleanly in an outstanding match against Gunther. This was the match of the night, and it marks the most significant victory of Gunther’s career. Not only is he the new King of the Ring, but he is also challenging the world heavyweight champion at SummerSlam.

Here are the results from WWE’s latest foray to Saudi Arabia:

  • Liv Morgan defeated Becky Lynch to win the Women’s World Championship
  • Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn defeated Bronson Reed and Chad Gable in a triple threat match
  • Nia Jax defeated Lyra Valkyrie to win Queen of the Ring
  • Gunther defeated Randy Orton to win King of the Ring
  • WWE champion Cody Rhodes defeated Logan Paul

Michael Cole was forced to regurgitate propaganda, calling Riyadh an exciting, vibrant city in the western part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Any and all talk of how the kingdom restricts political rights and civil liberties, of course, was omitted. For what it’s worth, absent from the pre-show was CM Punk, who has criticized WWE’s relationship with Saudi Arabia in the past.

The show opened with Becky Lynch defending her women’s world championship against Liv Morgan. Lynch was in control until Dom Mysterio–who vowed to prevent Morgan from winning the injured Rhea Ripley’s belt–interfered. Mysterio’s interference backfired, and it led to Morgan winning the match and becoming the new champion. This also fuels the belief that Mysterio will team up with Morgan, effectively turning on Ripley.

Sami Zayn, who was the recipient of nonstop cheers, defended the IC title against Chad Gable and Bronson Reed. Gable should eventually win the belt, but it is far too soon. This match was also excellent. Reed was the perfect third piece to the triple threat match–a versatile super heavyweight who is as agile as he is powerful–highlighted his opponents before taking the pin.

The match also served as a platform for Gable to bully Otis. Fortunately, their interaction–Gable insulting Otis before the big man accidentally laid out his coach–advanced the story instead of rushing it.

Nia Jax took home the Queen of the Ring honors, the latest accolade in her career. It is a reward for her excellent work as a heel, and the match allowed Lyra Valkyrie to shine as the underdog. The victory puts Jax in position to challenge for the belt at SummerSlam. Even with the crown, she is the opponent for the stars, which is how she will be utilized here.

Gunther looked spectacular in his victory against Orton. He is on a direct trajectory to the world title, and he will be a heavy favorite to defeat Damian Priest–or more likely Drew McIntyre, who gets a title shot next month at Clash at the Castle in Glasgow–at SummerSlam. Gunther’s reign is about to start, an exciting prospect.

All the while, Rhodes is looking for the right opponent. LA Knight could be outstanding in that role, as he would make an exceptional rival–and one who is hungry for his run with the belt.

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Justin Barrasso


Justin Barrasso has been writing for Sports Illustrated since 2014. While his primary focus is pro wrestling and MMA, he has also covered MLB, NBA, and the NFL. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.