Cody Rhodes and AJ Styles – The Odyessy Towards Their First Time Battle

On May 4th, at Backlash 2024 in Lyon Metropolis, France, two of the top names in WWE today, both world-traveled veterans, would meet in the ring for the first time for the company’s WWE Undisputed Universal Championship.

This is the journey of Cody Rhodes and AJ Styles on their first match against one another at Backlash 2024. 

On one side of the ring, we have the challenger and the man who looks to write one of the final chapters in his career by adding one more world championship to his legendary resume.

In the other corner, we have the champion and the company’s new face, who wants to prove himself as a fighting champion but faces an adamant opponent for his first defense that poses a considerable threat to his title reign.

Cody Rhodes and AJ Styles
[Photo: WWE]

Cody Rhodes and AJ Styles
The Roads To Backlash

AJ Styles made his return to WWE at Smackdown on December 15th, 2023, to go straight for the WWE Undisputed Champion, Roman Reigns, where he fell short to a challenge at the Royal Rumble in a four-way, as well as falling short to LA Knight at Wrestlemania XL (Night 2).

In contrast to AJ Styles’ rocky results during the Mania period, Cody Rhodes had an exciting lead-up to his second Royal Rumble win in a row.

Despite going through lows of attacks from the Rock and the Bloodline. He received the highest of highs by ending the three-plus years of Roman Reigns to win the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship in the main event of Wrestlemania XL.

Ever since becoming the top guy in WWE, he has vowed to bring the world championship back to a full-time basis. His first championship defense would be in France at Backlash 2024, but who would be his first challenger?

This happened on the April 19th, 2024, edition of Smackdown, when the Phenomenal One got his Wrestlemania win back against LA Knight, securing his ticket to May 4th, when he will face the American Nightmare in a huge WWE Undisputed Championship opportunity.

The following week on Smackdown, the competitors signed a contract, expressing their respect for one another and stating their intentions to give their all for the title at Backlash.

A Battle Of World-Travelled Veterans

Even though both athletes have gained a massive following in WWE over the past few years, both have competed worldwide for years.

AJ Styles started his career in WCW’s Cruiserweight division but was not signed to WWE when the company was bought out, and surprisingly, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Styles made his name in TNA with stunning performance after stunning performance to become the face of that company from 2002 to 2014, with multiple championships and classics against Angle and Joe.

Before he made his way to WWE, Styles also tested his ability in Japan for two years, challenging some of the best in the world and fighting through the Strong Style aspect of NJPW to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship twice.

His time in Japan and TNA helped shape the Phenomenal One and develop AJ Styles into one of the highest-caliber wrestlers of all time.

The American Nightmare chose to travel the globe for new insights into pro wrestling after his release from WWE in 2016 to discover himself as a professional wrestler.

He started his journey in ROH, where he quickly became a massive heel as the ROH World Champion, and along with spending time in NJPW, TNA, and multiple indy promotions, he truly began to find himself as a performer by refining his character and in-ring work.

He was a key figure in the formation of All Elite Wrestling and produced great moments and matches. He also reigned with the TNT Title on many occasions.

In an emotional victory, winning the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship at All In, before making his WWE return at Wrestlemania 38 to become a massive star and putting the Rhodes name on the map.

Both guys truly made a name for themselves outside of the Fed all over the world before being two of the best in WWE.

Despite this, they have never shared a ring in their time together, but in France, they will finally see eye-to-eye in a squared circle for the world title.

Cody Rhodes and AJ Styles –
Clash Of Phenomenal Wrestling Styles

This first-time clash will truly see how great of a champion Cody Rhodes is as he faces one of the most skilled competitors to step between the ropes.

AJ Styles made a name for himself as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time due to the depth of his skills.

From his dazzling high-flying assaults to his slick submission game, the Phenomenal One has an array of moves that help him to thwart any challenger.

After decades in the business, Styles can use these skills to control a match-up, creating a problematic clash for Rhodes.

Despite the extremely high absolute of his challenger, The American Nightmare also has some tricks to help combat Styles.

Rhodes will enjoy a size and strength advantage that may help ground Styles to disable his high-flying ability.

Cody Rhodes also shows great counter-wrestling and surprising agility that may catch the Phenomenal One by shock.

With the amount of skill that both athletes have, it proposes a fantastic clash of styles that can promise a great match, but who has the higher skill to take the other one out?

Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes vs. AJ Styles | WWE
[Photo: WWE]

Who Will Lead The New Era Of WWE? 

Wrestlemania XL, with the end of the Tribal Chief’s historic title reign, defined the start of a new era in WWE, with Cody Rhodes at the helm as the new top champion.

Rhodes became the new titleholder means a considerable target is now placed on his back.

At Backlash 2024, the American Nightmare would face the first challenger for the championship in, AJ Styles. Styles wants to usher in a new era in the Phenomenal One’s name.

Still, he has to take the WWE Undisputed Championship first, so this is not only a battle for a title but also a war to decide who will lead Triple H’s new vision of wrestling.

The first WWE Undisputed Championship defense of the new era at Backlash 2024 between two of the biggest talents in modern wrestling.

Both had powerful motivations to walk out as the victor on May 4th, 2024. Cody Rhodes wants to solidify his title reign with a tough first defense to continue holding onto the gold to become a great champion.

In contrast, AJ Styles wants to spoil the pleasantries by adding one more colossal title win to his legacy and gaining the WWE Championship again.

So, would the American Nightmare survive the first defense of his WWE Undisputed Championship and continue cementing his family’s legacy with Rhodes on top?

Or will the Phenomenal One be able to end the reign before it can truly begin to complete the mission he has set since his return and become the new world champion?