WWE Champ Cody Rhodes Discusses The 'Narrative' Changing About His AEW Contributions

Cody Rhodes currently reigns as Undisputed WWE Champion after knocking off Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40 to finally finish his story and become the first in his family to win the company's top title. Although it may be a while before the milestone gathers allure, Rhodes also became the first to become WWE Champion after making the switch from rival company AEW, having returned to WWE after leaving the company he'd co-founded in 2019. Rhodes opened up on his post-departure feelings towards AEW during a recent interview with "Cheap Heat," explaining that he feels a lot has been taken away from the role he'd actually served over three years. 


"The narrative changed a lot about my contributions to AEW and that was very disappointing," Rhodes said. "There were some people, I'm not going to say their names, they know who they were, who kind of tried to put some propaganda out when I left. There's a quote in The Young Bucks' book about how I was last to the signing. And me and Matt, Nick, are as close as ever. I'm so glad that I've had them in my career, in my life, but if we are being honest, AEW does not happen without me. It doesn't. With that in mind, I could never root against it."

Rhodes opined that fans may not grasp how much of a hole was left in his heart by leaving AEW, reasoning that he truly gave everything he could. Rhodes was EVP alongside Kenny Omega, Matthew, and Nicholas Jackson after helping form AEW with Tony Khan. After which, he would become a record-setting three-time AEW TNT Champion. He lost the title in his final match in AEW before returning to WWE at WrestleMania 38. 


Cody Rhodes feels AEW's closure would have severe repercussions on the industry

Rhodes also addressed the sense of protection he has for AEW. He reasoned that it went beyond the emotional connection he has with the promotion and the talent he worked with, but rather that its existence is a net positive for the wrestling industry as a whole. 


"It's very important that they [AEW] hang in there," said Rhodes. "Because if that was to go away I don't think anybody in the locker room has any clue the financial repercussions that would have on the wrestling business. The trickle down effect it would then have on independent wrestling. We've created a really comfortable environment in sports entertainment, for men and women to feed their families and to do well ... I would hate to see that bubble burst. So that's another random fear I have, when they're down or if they're up or whatever it may be."

Rhodes has said before that he can't and won't disclose why he made the decision to leave AEW. However, he would dismiss money on the table or issues with fellow talent as relevant to the situation. Rather, he simply said he had left because of a personal issue, which of course allowed him to re-focus on becoming the first Rhodes to hold the WWE Championship. He has also revealed to Steve Austin that he didn't want to become a gatekeeper, a role he had been booked into when it was stipulated he could never challenge for the AEW World Championship in a loss to Chris Jericho.