Cody Rhodes Tore His Chest And Then Made An Offer For Immortality

At the Hell in a cell Last weekend, Cody Rhodes took off his ring jacket to reveal a purple chest unlike anything seen in WWE in years. The company – which has strict rules governing blood in the ring – has been given a look for the history books, something more appealing to the eye than even Mankind’s mutilated body after his 1998 death. Hell in a cell game against Undertaker.

Then, with the right side of his body several shades darker than even the most masochistic recipient of Gunther’s sideburns, Cody set to work on a 25-minute match. And far from getting around the injury, the superstar drew even more attention to it, with his opponent Seth Rollins squeezing and pushing and even sticking the tip of a kendo stick into the injured area.

To viewers at home, it was a legend, with a sequence as simple as Rollins pressing a stick into Cody’s wound imbued with as much seriousness as when Tully Blanchard and Magnum TA concluded their “I Quit” match in starrcade with Magnum shoving a piece of broken chair into Tully’s forehead.

I happen to actually know Cody’s pain because I had torn my left pectoral muscle three months earlier during my own weight room accident. But unlike Cody, who will need surgery, I had not ruptured my hamstring and was recently cleared to resume bench press. As painful as Cody’s performance sounded, how difficult was it, really, to take the stage two days after suffering a complete pectoral rupture and perform at a fast-paced, hard-hitting pace for half an hour?

For starters, there was what I knew about the injury. The pectoralis major is a large muscle in the chest that attaches to the outer aspect of the biceps tendon. The main function of the muscle is to help move the shoulder forward and cross the chest and push the arms in front of the body. Most pectoral muscle injuries involve tendon attachment to bone and require outpatient surgery — Cody will go under the knife this Thursday, according to an official WWE statement — although some luckier individuals, including myself, avoid surgery by suffering only partial tears of the pectoral muscle. muscle itself.

Tear pain is most acute in the moments after its occurrence. In my case, the rupture occurred when I transitioned from the eccentric or descending phase of the bench press to the concentric or ascending phase. Centimeters into the concentric phase, my left pectoral muscle swelled like a water balloon squeezed in the middle, and then the weight dropped again, so I threw the barbell on either side. That’s when the pain was at its sharpest, a throbbing pain coursing through my entire left side as I hurriedly applied several ice packs to the wound.

By the time I got to my orthopedic surgeon approximately 48 hours later, the pain had subsided considerably, the throbbing pain replaced by a dull, nagging pain, as if that side of my body had gone to sleep. That first week, I couldn’t do push-ups, lift off the floor with that hand, push someone back, or hold a heavy weight horizontally in front of me — but I went back to deadlifts and squats a few days later, after an MRI confirmed the tear was only partial.

What does this assessment of pain mean for Cody, given his most severe tear? When I asked orthopedic surgeon David Abbasi about Cody’s decision to compete in the Hell in a cellAbbasi responded that as long as the surgery was scheduled a week or two after the injury, working on a completely torn pectoral muscle didn’t pose much of a risk because the damage to the muscle was already complete.

“Which would be affected with anything involving pushing your opponent away, or pushing up like a bench press movement,” Abbasi said. Mark Bell, a powerlifter who has torn his pectoral muscle on multiple occasions and made his fortune marketing a product designed to help people bench press while recovering from such tears, backed up this assessment: “You are stopped doing bench presses and push-ups. , but life goes on until you are actually in a sling and recovering from the surgery.” Until then, these specific movements could be worked on, and anything else, like holding someone above your head, having your own muscle contracted, or falling over your shoulder, presented only a risk of discomfort – but Cody is no stranger to discomfort, having had long established an urge to jump out of cages and fall onto flaming tables.

I remember being amazed at how much I could actually do in the days following the injury, including getting up unscathed from a fall into a deep rock-lined drainage ditch. Cody took those limitations and abilities and incorporated them into his in-ring performance. As everything done right after the injury hurts to varying degrees of excruciating, her grimaces and moans were certainly as real as any seen that night.

Fans with fond memories of John Cena’s prolonged heyday may remember when the former “Doctor of Thuganomics” ripped his chest during a match against Mr. Kennedy on an October 2007 episode of Crude. Early in the fight, while throwing Kennedy out of a sequence that involved the two of them running on the ropes, Cena suffered the tear. With the muscle swollen, Cena communicated his pain to both the referee and Kennedy, then pulled back holding his chest – the reaction of someone who has already suffered a chest injury.

From there, Cena and Kennedy worked a safe three minutes that ended with Cena pinning his foe in the STFU submission. Randy Orton then ran into the ring, RKOed Cena out of nowhere, and pushed his victim out of the ring. Outside, Orton crushed Cena with his footsteps from the ring, then landed another RKO on the announce table.

Although Cena didn’t work as long in the ring with his injury as Cody did, he performed under arguably tougher circumstances – albeit without the chest bruise that would later form – and WWE was able to put Orton’s offense for good. use, noting in a subsequent announcement that Cena would be out for at least a year after the surgery.

The superhuman Cena, possibly as dedicated to training as any athlete in the history of the sport, is back in four months – a fan-shattering surprise that suggests an extremely motivated good guy like Cody might be able to take advantage as We Go. Given that rehabilitating a pectoral muscle after surgery poses much less risk of unwanted mishaps than, say, the neck injury sustained by Big E, Cody could return to the ring ahead of any schedule announced by WWE.

Firstly crown jewel In 2018, Triple H — who was then 48, a decade older than Cody is now and 18 years older than Cena was in 2007 — tore his right pectoral muscle in a tag team match that saw him and his longtime ally Shawn Michaels paired up against Kane and the Contractor. Triple H, who had a lot of mileage on his body and had already managed to finish a 2001 Crude tag team fight against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit after tearing his quadriceps, tore his pecs when he wrapped his arm around the top rope while trying to fall out of the ring after Kane threw him into the corner.

Triple H, unlike Cena, immediately fell to the ground holding his pectoral muscle, but he also re-entered the fight and forced himself into the conclusion of the 28-minute match, which ended with him landing his Pedigree finisher on Kane for the pinfall victory. Although that match ended up winning the Wrestling Observer BulletinWorst Match of the Year Award, HHH saw merit in completing the match on his terms: “I eliminate the things I can’t do and go back there and do the rest. I never think, ‘Oh, maybe I should tell the referee I can’t do that’ and stop. It never crosses my mind.”

Triple H was a grown man in the industry long before he suffered a pectoral tear that, even to the full extent of your bruise, covered only half the surface area that Cody occupied. (My own tear, meanwhile, was maybe half the size of Triple H.) Neither he or Cena were able to use their war wounds in the ring the way Cody did. Indeed, someone looking for an analogue in the sports world may have to leave wrestling and as early as the 1970s NBA Finals, when New York Knicks center Willis Reed – having torn his quadriceps muscle and been forced out of the game 6 of the hotly contested series – prepped for Game 7 and scored the Knicks’ first four points on their first two shooting attempts, helping the franchise secure its first championship in the process.

Abbasi says the degree of difficulty was greater in Willis Reed’s situation. “It was a quadriceps injury, so it affected a load-bearing area,” he said, noting that it also occurred in the context of a fast-paced, competitive basketball game.

However, anyone looking for an athletic moment as visceral in its aesthetic as Cody’s performance might be disappointed. Many fighters bled for his fame, and some, like the tough Paul Orndorff, could even fight through months of nerve damage to complete a feud with Hulk Hogan. Not until Cody — already in a babyface race for centuries — did anyone think of using his inner bruises in the ring like this, turning a weight room injury into a varied slice of immortality.

Oliver Lee Bateman is a journalist and sports historian based in Pittsburgh. You can follow him on Twitter @MoustacheClubUS and read more of his work at

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