By Kevin Eck
The only belt Cody wears to the ring these days is his custom-made “Nightmare” weight belt, but it seems just a matter of time until the talented second-generation star once again has gold around his waist.
There may not be a hotter competitor in the sport than Cody, who has a chance to win at least three championships this summer. First on Cody’s agenda is an opportunity to regain the ROH World Title he lost to Dalton Castle at Final Battle in December when he faces Castle and fellow Bullet Club member Marty Scurll in a Triple Threat Match at the Best in the World pay-per-view on June 29 in Baltimore.
Just how much of a roll has Cody been on in 2018? Since losing to New Japan Pro-Wrestling star Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 12 on Jan. 4 in the Tokyo Dome, Cody has not been pinned or forced to submit in singles competition.
In addition to avenging his loss to Ibushi in their rematch at NJPW’s Wrestling Dontaku in May, Cody has scored victories over the likes of Punishment Martinez, Hiromu Takahashi, Matt Taven, Kenny King, Rocky Romero, Flip Gordon, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, and Shane Taylor, among others.
Of course, the biggest notch on Cody’s belt so far in 2018 is his victory over arch rival Kenny Omega in a battle of Bullet Club teammates at Supercard of Honor this past April in front of the largest crowd in ROH history.
There’s still some unfinished business between Cody and Omega, however. At the G1 Special on July 7 in San Francisco, Cody will face Omega for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, which Omega won from Kazuchika Okada in a spectacular, two-out-of-three falls match at NJPW’s Dominion on June 11.
Cody’s other shot at gold will take place on Sept. 1 in Chicago at All In, the much anticipated event that sold out a 10,000-seat arena in under 30 minutes, when he faces NWA Worlds Champion Nick Aldis.
For now, though, Cody is laser-focused on Best in the World. After his six-month reign as ROH World Champion was ended by Castle, Cody surprisingly did not request an immediate rematch; he instead devoted all his attention to overthrowing Omega as the leader of Bullet Club. Not long after defeating Omega at Supercard of Honor, Cody deemed the time was right for his ROH World Title rematch.
What Cody didn’t count on was his match against Castle for the ROH World Championship not being a one-on-one contest. At Masters of the Craft in April, Scurll pinned Castle in a Defy or Deny Match to earn a world title shot. Despite Cody’s objections, “The Villain” declared that he wanted that shot to take place at Best in the World.
While Cody obviously isn’t happy that Scurll inserted himself into the match, he remains supremely confident that lightning will strike again at Best in the World. At last year’s Best in the World pay-per-view, Cody defeated Christopher Daniels to win the ROH World Championship.
“Last year I was a free agent threatening the old guard of an independent promotion,” Cody said in a recent interview. “This year, I’m the man. I’m the brand. I’m the act that is singularly responsible for taking Ring of Honor from the hands of the tape traders and making it a global presence. … I’m the guy responsible for filling the bellies of everybody waving the banner of Ring of Honor. I am daddy, and daddy eats first!”
“So I’ll set the table. Little Marty here, and Dalton ‘riddled-with-injuries, stealing-money’ Castle can sit right here, but it doesn’t make any difference. The result this year is the same as last year: Your winner and new Ring of Honor World Champion, me.”
Kevin Eck is a veteran pro wrestling journalist who has worked for The Baltimore Sun, WWE and WCW before joining ROHWrestling.com.