The professional wrestling world was turned on its head this week when Cody Rhodes decided to abruptly leave AEW.
Rhodes began his now-storied career at Ohio Valley Wrestling. He would eventually end up in the WWE, where he became a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion, a three-time World Tag Team Champion and a two-time Intercontinental Champion.
After being largely misused in the WWE, he went on a brief independent streak before ultimately helping start and becoming one of the foundational pieces of AEW.
Rhodes’ AEW contract has been up since late December, but he has continued to work with the promotion under the presumption that a new deal would be worked out.
Alas, it never did.
Despite appearing on AEW Dynamite multiple times in 2022 and holding the championship – Rhodes apparently could not get a new deal sorted.
Early Tuesday morning, he posted this message on Twitter:
So what happen? How did this go so terribly wrong for AEW?
It appears that, in the end, AEW was unwilling or unable to provide Rhodes with the next deal he wanted. He had been working on a “handshake” agreement with the promotion ever since his contract expired, and now the WWE has swooped in with something more tantalizing.
Huge developing news in the world of pro wrestling:
Cody Rhodes is leaving AEW, sources say.
And I’m told Rhodes and WWE are in fact talking about him returning to the organization in the near future, I’m told.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 15, 2022
Just an incredible turn of events.
The next few days will be big. With WrestleMania on the horizon, Rhodes making his WWE re-debut would be a massive boost to the WWE’s flailing product.
This has been an insane year for pro wrestling. With the ugly details of Shane McMahon’s ouster from the WWE emerging, terrifying health issues and superstars getting beaten by fans – it has been one insane story after another.
Paige kept it real. https://t.co/J6Ffa8qIpu
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 14, 2022
This new one is just par for the course.