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Cody Rhodes: I’ll retire before I turn heel

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All Elite Wrestling

With crowd reaction going against him in many cities, and his own coach cutting a cold-blooded promo on him, there’s been a lot of talk about Cody Rhodes turning heel.

Not if the American Nightmare himself has anything to say about it. As he told PopCulture.com, that’s one of two things he vows not to do:

“This will disappoint so many and maybe it won’t, maybe this will excite, but two things I can guarantee you. And I’m not saying this to wave one hand while you’re not looking at the other. I’m telling this from the most honest standpoint, I am not going to turn heel on this company. And I would retire before I did that. Now I’m the head of the community outreach group. I have a little girl now. I’m not going to be doing heel stuff on TV.”

Before you go blaming baby Liberty, there are other reasons besides “I don’t want my daughter to see me playing a fictional rule breaker on television” that make more sense. He’s the AEW founder WarnerMedia’s invested in the most, with the currently airing Rhodes To The Top reality show, and an upcoming second season of Go-Big Show coming up. Could he succeed in those roles if he was, say, allied with MJF while Max insulted their rivals’ dead relatives? Sure, but it’s easier if he doesn’t.

We’ll see if Dynamite and Rampage crowds (and Arn Anderson) continue to force the issue. What’s the other thing he won’t do?

“I am not turning heel and I’m not going back on my word to challenge for the title. That stuff was real. It hurts. It is a large regret that that ever happened, but it did happen and I can live with it. And I got to do that dance with Chris Jericho, and I will not go back on that stipulation, me personally. If Tony [Khan] wanted to change things he could. And again, you can never say never in wrestling, but I do think there’s this idea that evil corporate need would turn the stipulation around and challenge for the world title, that I can say never will happen.”

It was a Maxwell Jacob Friedman-caused loss at Full Gear 2019 that brought about the stipulation that Cody can never challenge for the AEW World title. There’s no shortage of worthy challengers for the strap Kenny Omega currently holds, so it hasn’t really hurt anything to date - depending on how you feel about Rhodes’ angles existing in a kind of pocket dimension within AEW’s kayfabe universe.

There’s always the TNT belt that Cody’s held twice, Tag titles, an upcoming Owen Hart Cup, etc. Plus, Rhodes isn’t going to fight his boss if TK decides he wants the Grandson of a Plumber as his World champ.

Let us know what you think. Will we ever see heel Cody in AEW? What about World champ Cody?