Cody Rhodes overcame the first hurdle in his bid to get a piece of MJF. On the 2/5/20 episode of Dynamite, by taking ten lashes from his own belt at the hands of MJF and Wardlow, while his friends and enemies watched. It was brutal, but very compelling storytelling.
However, almost as soon as the show was over, the fallout happened. A lot of people were offended by AEW having a man whipped in Alabama, a former slave state and one with a pretty terrible history of Civil Rights for African Americans, or anyone else not white and male; and during Black History Month.
As bleeding heart liberal as I like to consider myself to be, I don’t agree with that. If this was Scorpio Sky, or Big Swole, I would be ripping AEW to SHREDS for this, but it’s not the same story. Cody wasn’t whipped because of the color of his skin or because he didn’t comply with a cruel institution like slavery or bucked Jim Crow laws, he willingly took ten lashes in order to get his hands on a man he trusted; who then betrayed him.
Instead of viewing this through the lens of our nation’s past history of slavery, we should be looking at this as a version of Christ’s Passion. Wait! Put down the torches and pitchforks! No, I’m NOT comparing Cody Garrett Runnels to Jesus Christ. However what Cody WILLINGLY endured has a lot of parallels to the Passion.
For those who don’t know, the Passion is what happened to Jesus Christ in the last week of his life, including being crucified for the sins of Mankind. There’s a lot of parts to it, but what most people think of when they think of the Passion are; The Last Supper, the Agony of Gethsemane, his arrest, trials, the horrific punishments, crucifixion, and death.
What does this have to do with Cody?
Simple, both of them were done WILLINGLY. The Lord did not have suffer like he did, he could’ve backed at anytime. In the Garden, he even begged his Father to not make him go through with it. He could’ve called down the angels to save him, but he didn’t. He willingly suffered and died to save all of Mankind; or that’s what I was taught during YEARS of Sunday School.
Cody didn’t have to do this. He’s the boss, he could’ve told MJF to suck it up and take his ass whipping. He could’ve backed out, he didn’t. He wanted to get his hands on MJF so badly for MJF double crossing him, despite Cody giving MJF the rub when everyone else said MJF was no good, that he went through that on LIVE television.
If you’re still mad and my religious comparison doesn’t work for you, or pisses you off more, let’s try another, more contemporary, comparison. The lashing also bears comparison to the caning Tommy Dreamer endured at the hands of the Sandman in old ECW.
I don’t remember why Dreamer was getting caned; what matters is that Dreamer was given the chance to get out of the caning if he would kiss the feet of Woman. Dreamer refused and even asked for more, it was a brutal moment, but it made Tommy Dreamer THE most over babyface in ECW and got the fans solidly behind him; something that didn’t change even in the WWE ECW days.
It could be said that what just happened to Cody is AEW’s equivalent of that moment. This cemented Cody as a fan favorite in the hearts of the fans. He didn’t quit or try to get out of it; regardless of being given multiple chances. He took every one of those lashes on his own, while his loved and liked ones watched.
Yes, the lashing of Cody was brutal and disturbing, and it’s okay to feel that way. However, let’s not make comparisons and parallels where there aren’t ones to be made;comparing Cody’s ordeal to slavery does both a disservice. Chill out.