INDUCTION: R-Truth vs. Stardust – A Tale of Plastic Spiders and a Shoulder Yanked Out of Its Socket

13 Submitted by on Thu, 17 February 2022, 20:00

WWE, 2015

A couple of years ago, I took my son to his first ever night of pro wrestling matches.  It was right before the pandemic hit in full, I want to say perhaps November of 2019.  RD Jr. has never been a huge fan.  While sometimes a high flying acrobatic match or goofball wrestler might catch his attention, more often than not he’ll simply just hang out with me while a show is on, popping his head up randomly but paying far more attention to his cell phone or Switch.  

But I thought maybe, just maybe, going to a live event would trigger something inside him and make him a bigger fan.  So we went to an AEW Dynamite taping and…he thought it was well, I guess “ok” would be the best term for it.  That’s kinda him though, very even keeled, with nothing much outside of Pokemon or Dungeons & Dragons driving him into hyper fandom.  Being his father, I am totally cool with that – everyone needs to live their own lives, loving what they love.  If it’s not what drove his old man into the loon he is today, more power to him honestly.

As the live Dynamite concluded, we made the decision to head out.  We knew there were additional matches to be taped for Dark (this was pre-Rampage), but it was a Wednesday night and he had to get up early the next day for school so we got our coats on and started packing up our stuff.  While we were doing so, Cody Rhodes’ theme music hit and the crowd erupted into applause.  It was pretty customary around this time as I recall for Cody to do a promo after the main show and thank the fans for supporting the company, while also telling everyone there were more matches still to come.  I thought nothing of it as we scooted for the exit.

As we were leaving, a fan grabbed me by the arm and shot me a look of utter disbelief.  “Dude!” he screamed in my face, “it’s Cody!”  I said something to the effect of, “Yeah, that’s cool” and kept moving.  At this point he yanked on my jacket even harder, and exclaimed, “IT IS CODY!!!!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING LEAVING???”  I shrugged, mumbled something about “school night”, and kept going.

I will never forget that interaction.  Because it says a lot about the connection Cody has with his fans.

It’s commendable, it really is.  Especially when you consider that just a few years earlier, he was mired in the WWE mid cards, doing his best to get noticed and elevate himself.  At this point he was known to fans as Stardust, a face painted character vaguely in the realm of his older brother Dustin’s Goldust persona.

Even then, you could tell this guy was giving everything he had to the character in an attempt to make it work.  He turned Stardust into something resembling a comic book super villain, channeling the likes of the legendary Riddler himself, Frank Gorshin, to try to make Stardust stand out.  

To a degree, it worked.  

WWE was able to arrange a feud between Stardust and Stephen Amell of the television show Arrow.  Now THIS I was totally onboard for – I was a big Green Arrow fan growing up and found the show to also be a pretty interesting take on DC’s bow wielding crime fighter.  While I suspected a match between the two would be something of a disaster, the tag match, which also featured Neville (Pac) and Wade Barrett turned out way better than expectations.

What’s even more incredible is that just weeks before all this started to play out, Cody had what may be the single stupidest match of his career.  In fact, it may have been the dumbest bout of the entire year, and honestly, one of the silliest I’ve ever witnessed.  He would lock horns with this man on the May 4 episode of Raw:

Yep, good ol’ R-Truth.

As I write this, that image was from nearly seven years ago.  Should note I also watched him back in TNA, which would have been like ten years before THAT.  He looks exactly the same. Does this guy EVER age?

Seemingly to counter balance his fountain of youth, though, the poor guy has been stuck with the same gimmick for seemingly forever: he’s a moron. And during this era, he was a moron absolutely petrified of spiders.  You’ll want to keep that in mind for our hilarious conclusion!

Stardust and Truth had battled a few weeks prior in a King of the Ring qualifier, an encounter in which Truth had picked up the duke.  Eager to even the score, the villanious Stardust plotted a fiendish scheme…

…and then hissed at the poor viewers at home.

Is this where I say he was really more of a Wish version of Frank Gorshin?

Because God bless him, but that promo sucked.

But Stardust had a plan, you see, to exact his revenge, a plot wherein he would use a mysterious bag to assist him in this bout.  As the announcers questioned what could be in the bag, even they sounded bored.

When you have Michael Cole and JBL sounding like they are ready to nod off, good times ain’t ahead.

So we get a see saw match up, back and forth.  The action itself was pedestrian but by no means bad.  I mean, both guys are of course seasoned professionals.

But all throughout the match, Truth just kept looking at the bag.

What, pray tell, could be inside that bag?

What could it be that would possibly be leading his doom?

Summoning up the courage of, uh, really courageous dudes I suppose, Truth ventured over and grabbed the little sack, opening it up to reveal…

PLASTIC SPIDERS!

These toy arachnids flew up in his face as he fell backwards into every cheap finish rollup you ever did see.  

Horrified, he took the loss and ran up the ramp, as Michael Cole called the action as best he could.

Stardust was thrilled, and laid on the mat marveling that his evil plot had come to fruition, gazing lovingly at his plastic tarantula friends.  

And the crowd went mild.


I do my best here at WrestleCrap.com to keep content evergreen – that meaning, it is not time-sensitive and you can read it at anytime and just enjoy it for what it is, whenever you may be finding it.

Obviously, that is not the case here.  This week, the news broke that Cody and wife Brandi were leaving AEW, presumably heading back to their old stomping grounds in WWE.  For many fans, it came as a complete shock – after all, why would one of the founding members of the first real competitor to Vince McMahon give it all up and head back?  Didn’t he remember the idiocy from when he was there the last time?  Could he have forgotten matches in which plastic spiders led to the finish?

Of course he hasn’t.

And I think that may be one of the driving factors to him returning to the world’s largest pro wrestling company.

For the last six years, Cody Rhodes has gone out into the world to prove people wrong.  He knew he languished in stupid matches with plastic spiders, he realized he struggled to get pay-per view matches.  But he didn’t quit.  He just kept trying.

He wanted to prove people who pegged him as a mid carder that he was far more than that.  He wanted to prove to the world he didn’t need Vince McMahon to make him a bonafide name in the business.  He wanted to show the world that he had everything it took to be one of the biggest stars in the entire wrestling world.

And he did.  He created a connection with his fans that is pretty incredible.  Every once in a while, my shoulder still reminds me of his rabid fanbase.

But I think in the back of his mind, he had to be thinking what nearly every pro wrestler of the past thirty-five years wanted to know: can I main event a WrestleMania?  

For all the success AEW has achieved (and in the interest of full disclosure, it is far and away my favorite current wrestling promotion), they are still second to Vince McMahon’s empire in the eyes of the mainstream world.  Your average Joe doesn’t know what All Out is…but they know the word WrestleMania. To a guy like Cody, that has to be something that drives him.  It has to be.  And while I have no real inside information as to what has happened there, common sense tells you the desire to be on the biggest stage has to be coursing through his veins.

I’ve never been the biggest Cody fan, but I wish him luck.  The wrestling business is better when there are two competitors doing everything in their power to put on a better show than the other guys.  There will always be underhanded tactics, and there will always be tribalism that leads to massive head scratching, but the more cross-pollination that happens in a situation like this the better.

In many ways, Cody is opening doors once again.

And we, the wrestling fans, be those that favor AEW or those that live and die for WWE, will win. 

Having said all that, go on down to the comments below and blast me for being on Tony Khan’s payroll as y’all like to do.  

After all, his Brinks truck should be making its weekly visit to WrestleCrap HQ any minute.


I hope you’ve enjoyed another WrestleCrap induction! As always, we urge you to support us on our Patreon, where you get monthly shows featuring myself and my own arch-nemesis Vince Russo as well as spoilers as to what we are working on behind the scenes.  You can help keep the site alive by clicking here, please and thank ya!

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13 Responses to "INDUCTION: R-Truth vs. Stardust – A Tale of Plastic Spiders and a Shoulder Yanked Out of Its Socket"
  1. Christopher Haydu says:

    Good article, R.D. I think Cody will probably experience the same ritual as everybody else who comes back to WWE. He’ll be put in a high profile spot upon return, then job on payperview, then, if he’s cooperative, they’ll rebuild him after they decide they’ve embarrassed him enough. I don’t think Cody should go back. WWE is a business. It has no respect for Cody’s kind of dedication to pro wrestling. Ted Turner did a lot of good for wrestling, too, but will he ever be in the WWE Hall of Fame for it? Personally, I think Vince should bury the hatchet with him before his dementia progresses much further.

  2. Justin Tym says:

    I personally think, especially given his (very public) reluctance to do so in AEW, the first thing that will happen is he will be turned heel

  3. Shave Seltzer says:

    I assume Cody’s main motivator in returning to WWE is fame, with money a close 2nd.

    It just seems really, really, really stupid to me, personally. At best, he’ll get the McIntrye treatment. Seen as a big deal and a “returning hero”, but quickly tossed aside when Vince gets bored and thrown into a never-ending midcard feud with Baron Corbin or Madcap Moss or something.

    And, if he really does return at Elimination Chamber, I think he’s showing that he’s more self-centered than he presented himself in AEW. All that charity work, all that stuff about fighting racism and hatred? Doesn’t ring as true when you also take a huge blood money paycheck.

  4. Jerry says:

    A thought, I have had multiple times even before AEW became a thing: Competition in wrestling is great for wrestlers (who can negotiate for better contracts), difficult for promotions (who have to deal with said more expensive and more influential wrestlers) and a mixed bag for fans.
    The high points of WCW in 96 and WWF in 2000 were a result of competition. The low points of WWF in 96 and WCW in 2000 were too.

  5. Statistician says:

    STATISTICALLY… this is the 13th thing from 2015 to be inducted. 2015 is now exactly as Crappy as 2004

  6. Ben says:

    Cody admitted that he’s wrestling for free after the TNT unification match against Sammy Guevarra so I’m not surprised if he’s jumping ship for another promotion for the money. It’ll be unsurprising again if Cody becomes Stardust once more / be a jobber after getting a push as “punishment” for wrestling for an upstart promotion, even though WWE thinks itself as the only wrestling promotion ever / is just massively trolling around with people to boost his popularity.

  7. Whlteshadow says:

    Do a induction on Cody Rhodes forced Babyface run in AEW and Rhodes To The Top which made Cody and Brandi come off as rather unlikeable

  8. Larry Barnsworth says:

    If Cody should return to the E, at least he’s got a great comeback should Vince trot out his inane “Brass Ring” speech again:

    “Dude, I literally founded a rival promotion that you found threatening enough to try and squash with your favourite son-in-law’s pet project, ruining it in the process! Take a closer look at your brass ring. I didn’t just grab it. I engraved my name on it!”

    — insert link to 2021 Gooker winner here —

  9. Chris Crisp says:

    WWE generally does a better job booking re-signed talents who weren’t used properly first time around then built a career in TNA or elsewhere, than they are at booking those who built their careers in TNA/indies before ever working in WWE. There are of course examples of the latter with Punk, Bryan and Styles but even they weren’t pushed to the moon immediately and probably got their world title runs because they were so well respected that it would have been seen as an insult to not give them the reigns for a while. None of them were really considered the face of the company, even when Punk held the WWE title for 434 days he was often playing second fiddle to Cena and didn’t main event many shows until finally losing the belt to Rock. Bryan was given a Wrestlemania moment mostly because the fans demanded it and weren’t receptive to Batista’s return. Styles would have had his first run with the belt but got his year-long reign partly because Mahal’s push had fallen flat and they wanted a steady hand for a while to win back credibility. I feel that this inconsistent and often reluctant promotion of said talents is a hangover from the Monday Night Wars and Vince being too proud to push people he didn’t personally create or at least identify as future stars.

    Contrast that with both Lashley and McIntyre who were pushed hard (at least at the beginning with McIntyre) but didn’t resonate, left the company to build their reputations elsewhere, came back and now they’re both multiple-time WWE champions on what’s considered the main brand. Neither’s promoted as the biggest star in the company, that’s Reigns and to a lesser extent Lesnar, but they’ve still been used pretty well which gives me hope for Cody. I don’t expect him to come in and immediately be pushed as a potential world champion (unless he debuts in NXT in which case I think they would probably put the belt on him within a few months even if for no other reason than to eventually put Breakker over), but I do see his career trajectory being a lot more positive than last time and hopefully resulting in winning one of the titles. Part of me would still like to see Mr Anderson return and finally get the megapush that people wanted him to receive 15 years ago, even though he left on pretty bad terms. I’m sure there are others we can name, many of which are far too down the line to have any legitimate chance of succeeding today (Matt Morgan for example), but I’m not concerned for Cody especially since there’s nowhere near the animosity between WWE and AEW as there was with WWF and WCW to cloud the bookers’ judgement.

  10. Scotto Williams says:

    Suddenly I’m thinking they made a big mistake not putting Rowan against Truth during his “Mystery Cage” gimmick.

  11. D Townsend says:

    Cody made a lot of meh gimmicks work. I think had he decided to stay in AEW he could have had a great gimmick playing an AEW founder defending the company from ex WWE guys flooding in. Cody would have seen himself as a babyface despite actually being a heel.

    It would have occupied his time and explained why he wasnt in the hunt for the AEW world title all the time. He would have had a steady stream of matches with Bryan, Punk, Cole and others. Instead it looks like he’s more interested in cashing in on quest to get himself over outside the WWE these past few years.

    The thing is Cody will only be as big as WWE will let him be. They could be getting 1997-1998 level Steve Austin coming in hot and manage to demote him into the Ringmaster. I could see Cody possibly winning a world title MAYBE but WWE’s track record speaks for itself. I could totally see Triple H risking another “cardiac event” for the chance to go over Cody. And Cody/Brandy vs Mr. & Mrs. H just sounds like a WM match. Not to mention, they won’t want to miss an opportunity to disparage the late great Dusty Rhodes for some cheap heat against Cody possibly even making it look like Triple H was more of a son to him than Cody was.

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