The Cody Rhodes/AEW split has been quite cordial, as pro wrestling break-ups go. All talk of conflict and the dreaded “backstage heat” has largely been confined to anonymously sourced reports. All Elite owner, president & booker Tony Khan’s had nothing but good things to say about Cody & Brandi. Rhodes’ fellow AEW founder & Executive Vice-President Kenny Omega chalked it up to different visions.
That’s similar to the message Cody put forward in the many interviews he did after returning to WWE on Saturday night (April 2) at WrestleMania 38. But while Rhodes insisted he’ll never do a shoot interview about the end of his run with AEW, there were hints of something more than strictly professional differences. Cody vaguely referred to “a personal matter” they “couldn’t move past” in one article, and in another told Ariel Helwani “I can’t comment on the personal matter itself,” before also saying (emphasis mine):
“I had a wonderful experience there, and I feel the experience had maxed out. You never want to start getting 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 — absolutely love those guys. Instrumental, and we did it together. I helped them, they helped me. So I have nothing but love and it’ll always be that way.”
Matt & Nick Jackson of The Young Bucks have kept their takes on the whole matter indirect and pretty light, as they did with their first Twitter bio after Rhodes arrived in AT&T Stadium on Saturday night. But after Cody’s “Wrestling is a love story” tweet early yesterday, they changed it to this for several hours:
It seems like there’s some lingering hard feelings, and it’s easy to imagine that not being the case. Rhodes going back to the company he, Matt & Nick banded together to create a competitor for has to sting a bit.
But both sides of this split also know that drama equals headlines, and that on some level the AEW/WWE debate is good for business. This is pro wrestling, so you can’t rule out this being a work, or something small that’s being cryptically played up as something big.
Will we ever know? Cody & TK say we won’t, but it’s a never say never business...