Cody Rhodes Comments That “It Was Time” To Leave AEW

Cody Rhodes taking off his entrance jacket as he returns to WWE at WrestleMania 38.

Following his dramatic WWE return at WrestleMania 38, Cody Rhodes has paid tribute to what Tony Khan has done whilst saying he felt they were “drifting apart” making it the right time for him to leave.

Whilst rumours had been circulating that ‘The American Nightmare’ had made the decision to return to WWE after his AEW deal expired, it was when Vince McMahon confirmed that Seth Rollins would have a mystery opponent that the speculation ramped up as to Rhodes filling that spot.

That speculation came to pass when Cody Rhodes made his return to WWE in Dallas, Texas and picked up the win over Rollins in front of an ecstatic crowd.

Talking about his time with AEW with Ariel Helwani, Cody Rhodes made it clear how much respect he has for the foundations Tony Khan built with AEW, but that he realised earlier this year it was the right time for him to move on.

Unfortunately, I can’t comment on the personal matter itself. Tony Khan, who I have genuine respect for and I hope history is really kind to because he bankrolled this entire grassroots movement starting in ROH, then All In happened, AEW happened, then he was able to buy that footage back.

I felt like we were drifting apart. Had I asked him for ‘this,’ he’s the type of man that would have given it to me. It just genuinely felt like it was time, I can’t comment on the personal nature, it was nothing nefarious or scandalous, just we couldn’t agree. Nothing but respect for him, his family, and the infrastructure there.

I have a watch collection that I just started. 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? Is this chapter over?’ I packed it because it’s never over. Part of who I am is from those ten years and part of who I am is from the last six as well.

It’s something that I don’t know if he’ll ever share ultimately what went down, but it was nothing crazy, it was a rather easy decision.

Cody Rhodes went on to discuss the harder part of the decision, having been involved with All Elite Wrestling from day one and being one of the building blocks the company was built on.

Hard, and hard to explain, hard to explain to the fans, which we didn’t, and hard to explain to the talent. One week I was there, next week, Ricky Starks and QT (Marshall), bringing in bags and getting all my stuff out of the box and making the biggest scene they possibly could instead of being discreet as I asked them to and I was gone.

My own brother, you think he’s going to text me, ‘I love you, I’m so proud of you.’ The thing he texted me that day was, ‘Can I use your locker room?’ True older brother fashion. Yeah, I guess, it’s not mine anymore. I had a wonderful experience there, and I feel the experience had maxed out, you never want to get into a situation where the love goes away. I wanted to keep the love.

I know Matt, Nick, and Kenny…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. We did it together. I helped them, they helped me. I have nothing but love and it’ll always be that way.

Brandi and Cody Rhodes confirmed their departures from AEW in February 2021, with the returning to WWE meaning Cody Rhodes is back working with Triple H whose throne he destroyed as part of an AEW pay-per-view.

With thanks to Fightful for the transcription.