With the COVID-19 pandemic causing WWE to make staff cuts and salary adjustments, it’s no surprise former UFC heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez, has been reportedly cut. Rumor has it he was on an expensive contract, as Vince McMahon had plans to turn him into a behemoth. However, it didn’t come to fruition. Fans watched him lose his debut match, submitted by Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel, only to then fight at one other house show in Mexico.
That said, while Velasquez didn’t have the intended impact due to a lack of screen time, this now presents a massive opportunity for Cody Rhodes to bring him over to AEW and turn him into the promotion’s ultimate enforcer.
Cody just filed for a trademark for his full name usage from WWE, so once live-shows resume taping for TNT, we expect him to be back with a bang. What better way than to have his own bodyguard and tag team partner in Velasquez? It’d help elevate Cody’s character as a businessman who needs muscle, especially after pulling over stars like Sammy Guevara and MJF. It’s a match made in heaven, as Cody and Velasquez worked together with Psycho Clown in an epic three-man tag match in AAA against Lost Mercenarios and Killer Kross, where Velasquez surprisingly showed he had the lucha libra style down.
He was nimble, leaping off ropes, performing quick arm drags and coming off as someone who understood wrestling as if he’d been participating for years. He wasn’t just a learner or UFC face adapting, only there as a celebrity. In fact, Cody’s spoken highly of Velasquez’s potential. “That might be something you see of a personal project for me if and when Cain would like to come play ball with us,” he said last year. “I’d be down. There’s something very special. The man was a former UFC heavyweight champ. He’s a nice guy, represents a whole part of the world. Just a special, special human being. I think he’d be a great fit to our family.”
If there’s no WWE deal again, Cody should revisit this notion because it’d also help in the ratings war against NXT. AEW would get UFC and Mexican fans to watch, not to mention WWE fans who are annoyed they didn’t see more of the MMA fighter. Even if Cody wants to blood Velasquez in over time, he can take time and train before longer programs. In the meantime, Velasquez can be a part-time wrecking machine like Brock Lesnar is in the WWE, appearing only to help Cody out as an equalizer, or simply just shadowing him and not fighting as much. The occasional beat-down here and there is all Velasquez needs to keep building mystery and a scare factor.
This approach allows Velasquez to hone his craft, and with Cody on the mic putting him over, AEW experiences a win-win. There’s no rush, plus Cody needs help with stables such as Chris Jericho’s Inner-Circle roving around. There are also giants like Brodie Lee (and his Dark Order movement) and Jake the Snake’s Lance Archer, so with Velasquez there, AEW will simply be enhancing its arsenal of “big men” — fighters who are credible and who add a lot of weight to the ratings, no pun intended. It benefits all parties involved and allows Velasquez to really become what he never got the chance to under McMahon. And it’ll show Cody’s a shrewd businessman for Tony Khan’s company, strategically and smartly diversifying to strengthen the brand in areas the opposition failed.
Following Cain Velasquez being reportedly cut by WWE, Cody Rhodes can now sign the former UFC champ and turn him into AEW's ultimate enforcer.