Throughout history, few rivalries have carried as much emotional oomph as bad blood between brothers.
From the Book of Genesis, in which the jealous Cain seeks murderous vengeance on his brother (remind you of anything?), to the recent Super Bowl showdown between coaches Jim and John Harbaugh, sibling rivalries captivate us.
That’s why many wrestling fans are clamoring — some practically begging — for a WrestleMania 29 showdown between Cody Rhodes and big brother Dustin “Goldust” Runnels.
Whether the match should actually happen on the WrestleMania undercard remains one of the most discussed and debated topics in wrestling forums and on social media.
There are plenty of compelling reasons that the time is right for WWE to pit the Rhodes brothers against each other at the MetLife Stadium on April 7. There are also some reasons to believe, however, that this sibling showdown will fail to meet the high expectations surrounding it.
Sometimes brother-versus-brother battles produce spectacular results, such as the unforgettable feud between Bret and Owen hart, which resulted in a clean (and rather surprising) victory for Owen at WrestleMania X and several outstanding rematches.
Other times, what has seemed in theory like an epic sibling showdown — the underwhelming feud between Matt and Jeff Hardy springs to mind — has fallen short of its promise.
What made the Bret-versus-Owen feud so entertaining, aside from the spectacular in-ring work, was the long-simmering resentment and jealousy during the build-up. Owen had become increasingly spiteful in living in his big brother’s shadow — a believable storyline, given Bret’s emergence as the most successful member of the Hart clan.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust, on the other hand, have followed very different paths in the WWE, and neither can be said to have overshadowed the other. Sure, Goldust rose to prominence in the booming Attitude era and has more high-profile experience under his belt than Cody.
But in terms of measurable success, Cody and Goldust are pretty much on par. Both have held the Intercontinental Championship. Both have co-held the Tag Team Championship. Both have been firmly anchored in the mid-card as reliable talents who can perform a good match against practically anyone.
A WrestleMania match, if it happens, will have to be based more on family ties than any professional jealousy. As the heirs to wrestling royalty, the successors of Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, they’ve both had very big shoes (well, boots) to fill.
Perhaps WWE still has time to craft a story of sibling one-upsmanship — each vying to become their father’s favorite — but barely a month left before the big event, this would surely feel rushed. Given Dusty Rhodes’ “Legends” contract with WWE, he’d almost certainly be willing to play an important role in the lead-up.
But given how many fans are already hoping to see Cody-versus-Goldust this year, perhaps a long, dramatic lead-up is unnecessary. Maybe the allure of a brother-versus-brother match is so strong that it doesn’t need a complicated “program” built around it. Simply seeing these two square off in front of 80,000 fans would be an impressive “WrestleMania moment” (especially if Goldust were to make it a retirement match — another notion he has mentioned in interviews).
WWE has certainly teased a Cody-Goldust showdown in the past, and crowds have lapped it up. The duo went toe-to-toe in the last Royal Rumble, each utilizing the trademark uppercut to the throat, and Goldust was eventually dumped overboard by his little brother.
Goldust frequently addresses fan questions on Twitter, and has said that he would like to face his brother in a match at WrestleMania. In an interview last month with Wade Keller, he elaborated on the idea:
“It would be awesome to step in the ring at WrestleMania. It’s not a main-event match, but it’s a story-driven match. We haven’t had a sibling rivalry in quite some time. I just think it’s a good story and we’ll put on a hell of a match.”
But all this speculation begs a simple question: would it be a good match?
We know Cody is a competent, versatile performer, and has continued to develop a great presence through the Rhodes Scholars and his now-iconic mustache. Goldust is more of a wild card, having made only sporadic appearances in WWE in recent years, none of which have showcased much of his abilities.
It’s a safe bet that these two wouldn’t “go easy” on each other, and would probably display the kind of chemistry that only brothers can have. There would be comedy, there would be cheating, and there would probably be a crowd-pleasing hug at the end.
Whether it will actually happen is an open question, but the window of opportunity is quickly closing for WrestleMania?
What do you think: Will this match happen? If so, will it meet expectations? Or will wrestling fans be left with shattered dreams?