Veteran "Cobra" Readies for Another Strike

June 24th 2015

A big part of the World Armwrestling League’s 2015 season is finding arm-wrestling’s biggest undiscovered talent from across America and putting them on the biggest stage the sport has ever seen.

But the WAL 2015 season is also about showcasing the competitors who have served as the engine of arm-wrestling’s underground popularity for decades.

Andrew “Cobra” Rhodes, a 50-year-old jack of all trades from Fort Wayne, Ind., falls into that latter category. Ask anyone who has arm-wrestled competitively for any period of time. Cobra is the real deal.

And he’s making his competitive comeback in the WAL’s 2015 season this summer on ESPN2, WatchEspn.com and the WatchESPN app.

Cobra served as a technical commentator during the WAL’s inaugural ESPN, the earthshaking 2014 championship out of New Orleans that debuted to massive viewership numbers earlier this year.

“I’m hungry,” Cobra said. “And I want more.”

He blazed a name for himself in arm-wrestling years ago, but a brutal car accident 15 years ago bled him of the mental and physical toughness he needed to succeed. “It’s more mental than anything,” Cobra said of arm-wrestling. “I was T Rex. There was no one under 198 pounds in the world who could beat me.”

After the injury, he remained a pillar of the scene. He mentored the younger guys, and never lost his legendary, vice-like hand strength, something that gives him a leg up against the other lightweight class competition. The father of five and grandfather of one admits he’s not yet in peak competition mode, but he still likes his chances this season.

“It’s not about winning as much as doing it to the best of your ability,” Cobra said of the relit fire in his belly. “But I want to win. And to be honest with myself, if I was sitting here in a lab coat looking at the numbers, it can be done.”

He said he has no hesitancy about locking up with legends of his weight class, including Allen “Mr. Intensity” Fisher and Janis “The Jedi” Amolins, the 2014 lightweight right arm champ. Cobra is also realistic about his abilities.

“I’m the best arm-wrestler in the class,” he said. “I’m not the strongest. But I’m smart enough to win it.”

Every day, Cobra is getting in game shape. And everyone in his weight class should take note. Because when the Cobra strikes, venom follows.

“Live with an open heart,” he said of his journey and the WAL’s massive 2015 season. “What an exciting time for our subculture.”