At last Sunday’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view the latest tool in the Cody Rhodes push was revealed: a new Intercontinental championship belt. Well, I say new but it’s actually the design that was used from 1986 to the late 90s. The only change is that the old logo is, naturally, nowhere to be seen.
This is the belt that was held by Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Shawn Michaels, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, The Rock and dozens of other big names throughout the years. That the decision has been made to resurrect this design indicates WWE and Rhodes himself are serious about trying to restore the prestige of the belt. The white strap, which was used sporadically throughout the first half of the 90s, is strongly associated with Shawn Michaels so Cody’s not in bad company there.
WWE are clearly hoping that putting a retro design on Cody Rhodes will help him to be seen in the same light as the greats that have held the title. I’ve always felt that the last design (the one used throughout the last decade) was the best, but it’s been time for a change for a while now.
WWE has been building up Cody Rhodes for most of the year. He had the best WWE feud of the first half of the year with Rey Mysterio, dragged decent performances out of Ezekiel Jackson and Ted DiBiase (not easily done), and is now playing a key part in the “walkout” storyline and is on the cusp of a feud with Randy Orton. A new championship design isn’t going to make him a main event talent by itself but it will help to set him apart from the rest of the roster and help in the restoration of the title.
If WWE carries on the way it has been Cody Rhodes and the Intercontinental championship should continue to mean more and more to WWE audiences. It shows that when WWE put their minds to something, and have a talent who is capable and willing to put the work in, new stars can be made.