Cody Rhodes Teases In-Ring Return On WWE Raw

There's growing optimism about Cody Rhodes returning as a surprise entrant in the upcoming 30-man Royal Rumble match.

The American Nightmare appeared on this week's "The Absolute Best of 2022" edition of "WWE Raw" to reflect on his return to the promotion at WrestleMania 37, his storied rivalry with Seth Rollins, and his heroic performance at Hell in a Cell in June.

"Make no mistake about it – Seth and I aren't chummy, we're not best friends," Rhodes said. "But there's no denying Seth is one of the best three wrestlers in the world. To have three matches [with him] was an honor. Again, we're not exchanging Christmas cards, but there's a bond by battle with Seth and myself."

Through the interview, Rhodes seemingly ruled out a fourth contest against Rollins upon his return.

"I know he's probably clamoring for a fourth match, but I don't know if that's on my radar [laughs]," Rhodes said.

It's worth noting that Rollins has turned babyface in recent weeks, which could preclude WWE from renewing the rivalry between the two veteran wrestlers. However, Rollins did ambush Rhodes with a sledgehammer the night WWE wrote the latter off television. It remains to be seen if WWE revisits the angle upon Rhodes' return.

'There's One Thing I Came Back For'

While updating fans on his recovery from a torn pectoral tendon, Rhodes suggested he was on the verge of being cleared for an in-ring return.

"I would like to pick up right where I left off," Rhodes said of his plans for 2023. "A lot of things have happened in my life – not just the injury, the stuff I did while I was away [from WWE], or the birth of my daughter. I can't help but think about the little kid who showed up at 4400 Shepherdsville Rd in Louisville, Kentucky [Ohio Valley Wrestling], and wanted to be a pro wrestler. He told everyone how big his plans were, but didn't have any idea about the price one needed to pay.

"And I can say this with confidence, not arrogance, [that] I have paid that price. It's not a sport where your tenure earns you anything, it's a 'what have you done for me lately?' sport. And even though I wasn't present for a good chunk of the year, what I was able to do really did register with a lot of the WWE Universe, and I want to pick up right where I left off."

In conclusion, Rhodes declared his intentions to pursue Roman Reigns' Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

"Anyone who's of this business can read between the lines," Rhodes said. "There's one thing [WWE Championship] I came back for specifically. A torn pec couldn't stop me, and I can't name one thing that can stop me. It has to be done, it needs to be done, and I want to be the one to get it done."

For what it's worth, Rhodes is currently the odds-on favorite to win the Men's Royal Rumble Match, closely followed by Sami Zayn and The Rock.