Stardust

Cody Rhodes debuted his new Stardust persona on this week's Raw.

WWE

I was cool with Seth Rollins leaving the Shield two weeks ago.

Sure, the greatest trio in WWE history came to an end the night Rollins took a steel folding chair to the backs of Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. The three men who had a match-of-the-decade contender with the Wyatt Family in February will not compete together again for the foreseeable future. "The Hounds of Justice" is no longer a thing we can say.

I was cool with all that because the Shield somehow became better without Rollins. The duo of vengeful Reigns and vengeful-plus-crazy Ambrose was just more fun. You could imagine the two clearing the room at some deep South roadhouse, their backs to each other, wisecracking through bloody gums all the way. Rollins and his half-blonde hair and CrossFit fetish didn't quite fit that image.

Well, that was fun for a week. Last night, Ambrose and Reigns appeared to have gone their separate ways. Ambrose continued waging war on Rollins, jumping the traitor when he had Dolph Ziggler dead to rights, and then brawling with his former Shield brother after Rollins returned to distract Ambrose when he had Wade Barrett finished.

With neither man in the Money in the Bank match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, expect a singles grudge match at the June 29 show. Rollins will win, if only to set him up for slaughter by Reigns, but Ambrose has proven too good a psycho babyface to be cast aside, so shenanigans should be abundant.

Reigns, meanwhile, took his first true step toward main event status last night. Oh, right, he did also win a battle royal to enter the Money in the Bank match. What I was talking about, though, was him spiking Stephanie McMahon's coffee, which led WWE's chief brand officer to barf all over Vickie Guerrero. Do what you want in the ring — you haven't made it in this company until you're ripping gags from Farrelly brothers movies.

(Also joining Sheamus, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton in the Money in the Bank match last night was John Cena, who defeated Kane in a stretcher match to qualify. Because John Cena.)

Given his upside, Reigns is actually the safest bet not to win the championship later this month. You just know that moment is earmarked for WrestleMania. Besides, WWE still has to sort out who gets what in the Shield's increasingly awkward breakup. Rollins is still wrestling in Nike spandex but no tactical vest, while Ambrose just showed up in street clothes last night. And both are saddled with what sound like stopgap generic rock tracks. Reigns, meanwhile, is stuck in the past, still wearing his fatigues and walking out to "Sierra Hotel etc." 

One guy who came into the WWE Universe fully formed, however, is Stardust. The new alternate personality of Cody Rhodes debuted as big brother Goldust's tag partner last night, and the execution was perfect. Rhodes already looks to be jumping right into the role with some choice wackadoo body language, and has even changed his offense radically to punctuate it. I also wouldn't doubt if notorious video game nerd Rhodes took some inspiration for Stardust from this guy.

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.

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