This Is The Reason Cody Rhodes Left WWE

At the 2023 Royal Rumble, Cody Rhodes punched his ticket to WrestleMania 39, eliminating GUNTHER to win the 2023 men's Royal Rumble match. Now, he has his sights set on the main event at "The Grandest Stage of Them All," where he will take on Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Though it appears he's now reached the pinnacle of his career, Rhodes' professional wrestling journey wasn't always the best.


Prior to his return last year, Rhodes' last memory in WWE was one of frustration. In the last two years of his first run in the company, he took on a new eccentric, facepaint character known as Stardust, similar to the mannerisms of his brother, Goldust's, persona. 

He was originally told that it'd be more of a "superhero-like" character and Rhodes started off optimistic in his efforts and "tried to make the most of it." Eventually, though, Rhodes felt "very, very dead inside, like the sad clown," as he grew weary of the gimmick. "We were checking those boxes, and they just didn't seem they were going to get me out of it," he told the "Impaulsive" podcast.

Paul "Triple H" Levesque told him to "rattle the cages" and Rhodes did just that. "I handled it poorly, but it was what needed to be done. I just quit. I didn't even sign my release papers ... I had one meeting two weeks before and then I had one meeting in the last week saying, 'Hey, I'm not coming back unless I'm telling the story of getting this [paint] off,' and it didn't happen. I needed to get out there."


"Stardust is the reason I left," he said.