Ariel Helwani welcomed AEW wrestler MJF to The Ariel Helwani Show this week to talk about a range of topics, including Cody Rhodes’ departure from All Elite Wrestling and his potential return to WWE.

The Salt of the Earth noted that Vince McMahon’s company showed some interest in him before he joined AEW. Ultimately, it was his belief in Tony Khan that swayed his decision to join the then-new promotion.

“So, I had a decision to make there,” MJF revealed. “I was – I believe I was 22 at the time. I was either 21 turning 22, or I was 22. Again, don’t know. Don’t kill me with the math. But, you know, I knew there was serious interest in me from WWE. But again, I thought to myself are they going to let me be me? That’s my biggest thing. Because I’m not fake. Everything about me is real. Are you going to let me do what I do best and let me be me?

“And then I got to talking with Tony Khan and I was linked up with him by my good friend Cody Rhodes. Hope you’re doing good, buddy. We talked for hours on end over the phone, me and my BFF TK about Mid-South, about AWA, about Buddy Landel, Butch Reed, and I immediately thought to myself, ‘OK, this guy gets it and he gets me,’ and that was the most important thing to me. So at that point in my career, it was a no-brainer. Now, you bring me anywhere I’m going to be the top guy in your promotion, so it doesn’t really matter. But at that point, I needed to make sure I had the perfect launching off point in my career.”

MJF expressed that he wishes Cody Rhodes the best of luck moving forward. He stated that understood his decision to leave AEW and respected Cody as a businessman.

“I wish him the best of luck, I really do,” MJF said. “I hope he finds happiness and I hope he makes a boatload of money, you know. Have we had our issues in the past? Absolutely. Do I love him as a human being? Maybe not, but I respect him as a businessman. Look, this is the same guy who, you know, I whipped several times as I watched his wife cry and weep.

“I’m not saying we’re buddies. I’m not saying I like the guy. But what I am saying is that I respect what he’s doing as a businessman, and quite frankly, by 2024, if people have an issue with me leaving to go and make real money, then me and him are going to be fighting on the exact same island.”

The three-time Dynamite Diamond Ring winner noted that he wouldn’t be surprised to see The American Nightmare return to WWE.

“No. That’s what professional wrestling is,” MJF exclaimed. “And I wouldn’t be surprised if anybody who was upset or offended that got fired from WWE, as I’m sure they were upset too, I wouldn’t be shocked if they got rehired. This is professional wrestling. This is pro sports. We move around, that’s just the nature of the beast.”

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit The Ariel Helwani Show with an h/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.

Have a news tip or correction? Send it to [email protected]


Sign up for Wrestling Inc. Breaking News Alerts

YouTube icon.Subscribe to Wrestling Inc. on YouTube.