After making his shocking return to the WWE during Night One of WrestleMania 38, Cody Rhodes joined BT Sport’s Ariel Helwani to talk about his decision to leave AEW after being so pivotal in the start up and continued success of the company.
The former TNT Champion talked in detail about what his issues were during the end of his run with All Elite Wrestling and why it was ultimately just time to come back given the person he would be facing in Seth Rollins.
“It would go in waves,” Cody said. “In terms of, I didn’t want to be a gatekeeper of pro wrestling. I didn’t want to be ‘he’s the guy at AEW that you come in and you have your first program with or story with,’ that wasn’t how the first year [in AEW] went for me. I wanted to be the American Nightmare, I wanted to keep expanding and I wanted to move. Also, I had wrestled everybody I had wanted to wrestle there, I truly had. We could be in a situation where what is it going to be, a 15-time TNT Champion? Which would’ve been a really great stat but also I did it, I was the first and it was a really sincere and great moment but in that sense I didn’t want to be a gatekeeper. No disrespect to the guys I didn’t wrestle but my interest was wrestling folks I had never been in the ring with. The Darby’s, the Max’s and the Sammy’s, finally got a mature [Sammy] I guess, I leave and then he’s basically making a sex tape with the title. Damn Sammy, damn.
“Those were the guys and girls that I wanted to work with, Red Velvets and Jade’s and such. I got that opportunity and the sense that I have more for me and I have to go get it. Dusty is not around anymore and I can’t do what I originally wanted to do, which was win the big one and hand it to him, that dream is gone. But is it? It’s not gone, I got this other opportunity to revisit it and there’s no better way than it being Seth. Seth’s been at the highest level, the kind of the mountain here. I remember watching that San Jose WrestleMania and he’s swinging the title around and he was on top of the world and rightfully so and he had worked for it. He just got there a little quicker than I did and I didn’t expect that but he did and it felt good to catch up, literally catch up on the level and show what had been missing. When I said undesirable, it didn’t mean anybody didn’t like me, I just wasn’t a priority and you’ve got to make yourself a priority and I did that. Now the work begins to keep it going.”
Since Rhodes’ departure from AEW, Tony Khan has spoken about the situation between he and Cody’s fallout, stating that he tried to extend Cody but the two had a person issue he did not want to go too deep into. Cody Rhodes also wouldn’t share what the issue was surrounding the two, but did say they were just drifting apart.
“Unfortunately I can’t comment on the personal matter itself but it really just came down, Tony Khan who I have genuine respect for and I hope history is really kind too because he bank rolled the entire grassroots movement that was starting in ROH and then All In happened and of course AEW happened and then he was able to buy that footage back, I felt like we were drifting apart,” Rhodes said. “Had I asked him for this, that was a story that I saw, I asked him for something and I didn’t get it. Had I asked him, he’s the type of man that he would’ve given it to me. It just genuinely felt that it was time, can’t comment on the personal nature of it but there was nothing nefarious or scandalous, we just couldn’t’ agree.
“Nothing but respect for him and his family, the infrastructure [in AEW]. I put on the bus, I have a watch collection that I just started and the first nice watch I ever got was from him. I gave him one last year as a return gift and I thought do I not pack this chapter over and I packed it because it’s never over. Part of who I am is from those 10 years [in WWE] and those last 6 [in ROH/NJPW/AEW]. I don’t know if he’ll ever share really what ultimately what went down but it was nothing crazy, just a rather easy decision. Hard, and hard to explain, hard to explain to the fans which we didn’t and hard to explain to the talent because one week I was there and then the next week Ricky Starks and QT [Marshall] are bringing in bags, getting all my stuff out of the box making the biggest scene they possibly could instead of being as discrete as they possibly could as I asked them too and then [snap] I was gone.
Putting a bow on his time with AEW, Cody Rhodes also spoke about his relationship with the original members of AEW, The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. The son of Dusty Rhodes said he hopes the three of them don’t talk poorly about him behind his back and hopes they know how much love he has for them.
“I had a wonderful experience there and I feel the experience had maxed out,” Rhodes stated. “You never want to start getting into a situation where the love goes away, I wanted to keep the love. I know Matt [Jackson], Nick [Jackson] and Kenny [Omega], I don’t know if they sit in circles and hate on me or talk poorly about me, I hope they wouldn’t. But if they don’t know, I try to tell them on a regular basis I absolutely love those guys. Instrumental and we did it together. I helped them, they helped me so I have nothing but love and it will always be that way.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit BT Sport with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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