Drew McIntyre put a shot of adrenaline into the very soul of Cody Rhodes and his WarGames alliance by siding with Judgment Day. After the cameras went off the air, Cody announced he had backup, which got social media speculating about who will join Cody Rhodes in WarGames.
Raw’s powerbrokers of Cody, Seth Rollins, Jey Uso, and Sami Zayn need a significant star to even the odds. Several solid options are floating around, though not all are wholly realistic. With just how much energy has been floating around Chicago’s Survivor Series event, including the potential star-making women’s WarGames match, anything feels possible. Whether a returning face or a rising star, the possibilities are endless for WWE now.
The Most Likely: Randy Orton
The clip above shows that the fans are ready for Randy Orton to return. With his injury seemingly healed, the fan reaction is probably music to WWE’s ears. The safest bet for the final man to combat Drew McIntyre is Randy Orton. He is already under contract, is a major star, and has the added benefit of being off TV since last May. Randy checks each box for a company, looking at all the ways to get the crowd invested in the mystery 5th man. He has been rumored to return before and hasn’t. If this time is different, though, he is a clear favorite.
Randy Orton’s return does more than boost team Cody; he has some intriguing stories. When Randy left, he was in the middle of RK-Bro, a story relegated to history with Riddle’s release. If WWE still wants Orton to turn, attacking his Legacy protegee could work. He could challenge Roman Reigns for the World Title, with this match being the catalyst for that challenge.
Randy also has professional beef with Jey Uso, who took him out of action, and possibly Sami Zayn, a recent addition to The Bloodline at the time. He also fits the description of the man Shinsuke Nakamura is waiting for, which could be a great WrestleMania opener with the right build. Orton is presumably ready, under contract, and full of exciting opportunities for the next few months.
The Dark Horse: LA Knight
Randy Orton is reportedly ready to return, but reports have been wrong. If the Viper isn’t prepared to step into the cage, it is likely that LA Knight is who will join Cody Rhodes in WarGames. Knight doesn’t yet have a clear direction for Survivor Series, despite what appeared to be his final ascension to the main event at Crown Jewel.
LA Knight is getting a major match at WrestleMania, against somebody huge like John Cena, or for a title like the World Heavyweight Championship. How he gets there is still obscured by time; we have months until that card is announced. His journey to that match requires him to be present at the highest level of WWE. That means a signature match in Chicago.
"If he wasn't there, you're looking at a NEW WWE Champion right now!" 😤@RealLAKnight has some words for Jimmy @WWEUsos and @WWERomanReigns following #WWECrownJewel. #SmackDown pic.twitter.com/Z9ayLNc5Lc
— WWE (@WWE) November 11, 2023
Aside from being a bit random, Knight joining the team gives Raw and SmackDown access to arguably the most popular star in the company for the go-home shows and helps keep Knight in the mix heading into Royal Rumble and the Road to WrestleMania.
A huge return will be more impactful. Likewise, Knight can always fight somebody else at the Survivor Series, maybe somebody like Jimmy Uso or Solo Sikoa, if WWE wants it to be a big match. However, if WWE doesn’t have a remarkable return, it can call on for the event; LA Knight is the megastar for the moment.
The Long Shot: CM Punk
In regards to what is the most interesting, CM Punk is at the top of the list. The speculation has been rampant that he will return to Chicago, either for WarGames or in a feud with Shinsuke Nakamura. Both outcomes would be a big deal, even as the embattled Punk comes with some baggage from his exit with AEW.
The Chicago crowd will support him totally, so there isn’t any chance of backlash. Likewise, the tribal nature of the most ardent and connected AEW and WWE fandoms means his defection from one to the other (and the back) will get a ton of engagement online. Punk seemingly knows this, as he has been teasing a return to both companies for weeks.
WWE has reported that they are not interested in CM Punk. CM Punk hasn’t taken that to heart, though, posting frequently that one of his two past employers is bringing him back. If he returns to wrestling soon, it is 100% going to be with WWE for WrestleMania. That means WarGames would be a great place to start.
Punk admittedly has very little connection to either team. He and Rhodes are both AEW stars but never had a match on that show. His lack of connection and his lack of contract makes this unlikely. It is close to home, though, and he doesn’t have much else going on, so it is always possible.
The Fantasy Pick: Dustin Rhodes
Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso said they have friends, too, but they may need something stronger for Judgment Day now that McIntyre is on their side. Maybe Team Raw needs a little blood to mix into the water. Dustin Rhodes, FKA Goldust in WWE, is under an AEW contract as a semi-retired pro wrestler.
In an incredible fantasy scenario, Triple H and Tony Khan could meet up, and Goldust could be the man who will join Cody Rhodes in WarGames. A Goldust return doesn’t need to be the original Goldust character either; brother Dustin joining with,,, Cody for the match would be just as epic. It also gives WWE an easy story to tell.
— Dustin Rhodes (@dustinrhodes) March 26, 2023
When Cody failed at WrestleMania 39, he was alone. Family surrounded Roman Reigns. The tables turning could make all the difference in the purported rematch between the two in Philadelphia. Having Dustin return here prepares him to join the fight against the Bloodline.
It can also leave Jey Uso vulnerable, which makes a return to Jimmy seem possible ahead of what most expect to be a marquee bout between the Uso brothers. Dustin Rhodes supposedly has a lot of time left on his contract. If WWE was interested, though, there is an opportunity for the “Khans” of pro wrestling to sit and get a beneficial deal done. Especially that reunites the Brothers Rhodes in Chicago.
Road to WrestleMania runs through Who Will Join Cody Rhodes
Whichever option we have coming for us, the person who will join Cody Rhodes will factor into the Road to WrestleMania in a big way. LA Knight would launch his path toward a significant match with a WarGames appearance. Randy Orton would mark his return in the cage and make his intentions clear about who his first target is now that he is back.
CM Punk would immediately shake up one of the two world title scenes and has several dream matches and possible angles if he makes his presence known in his native Chicago. And finally, Dustin Rhodes would be a key player in the final chapters of Cody Rhodes’ story. Fans won’t likely need to wait until Survivor Series either. Next week on Raw should be a go-home show that lives up to its billing.
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