We’ve heard a lot from Cody Rhodes about his decision to leave AEW and return to WWE, and a bit (directly and indirectly) from others at both companies.
We probably haven’t heard from two guys who know more about moving between wrestling companies and working for Vince McMahon & Tony Khan than Chris Jericho & Matt Hardy do, though. Both recently addressed Cody’s situation on their respective podcasts.
Jericho and Hardy both understand why Cody made the jump, even if both sound like they wish he hadn’t. They’re both also really impressed with how WWE’s presented him over the first couple weeks of his run.
On Talk Is Jericho, Le Champion said:
“I was honestly disappointed he left, but I get it. I’ve done it many times myself.
“I mean, I left WWE in 2017 for basically the same reason why Cody left AEW, from what I understand, is he just didn’t think he was getting the — I don’t know if it’s the spotlight, or respect or whatever the word being, but you can kind of see the writing on the wall.
“So obviously, now Cody is bigger than he’s ever been just by changing companies, and obviously they did a great job in putting him over at WrestleMania and bringing him in at the highest of levels.”
Hardy covered the same subject in a similar way on The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy:
“I thought it was done really well... I’m happy for him. I’ve always had a very good relationship with Cody... It always sucks to see someone leave, especially when you’re buddies with them. You work together, you’re acquaintances, and then you have a great relationship — but also you’re happy for them whenever they go somewhere else and they’re gonna be successful. It’s kind of like they get a new lease on life, and you have to do that in wrestling. I feel like I’m a prime example of that. You can’t stay in one place for too long.
“You can’t stay in one place for too long. Unless you’re like the guy, and there’s only a few of those, you know — there’s gonna be an Undertaker, there’s gonna be a Roman Reigns. There’s gonna be a guy that is like the guy at a place, but everybody else, you kind of have to keep moving around to keep yourself hot and relevant and new and fresh.
“So I was very happy for Cody. I thought his presentation was great. It was AEW Cody, which is cool, and also a big ‘hat’s off’ to AEW for creating such an amazing character on their television, you know, between Cody and AEW. I was very happy for him, and I thought they had a killer match. Him and Seth Rollins, they really tore the house down.”
The big takeaway is that these veterans seem very impressed, and perhaps a little surprised, by how WWE’s presented Rhodes. It’s early days, but it seems to be working with fans. Quotes like these from Jericho and Hardy could indicate it’s also sending a message to stars in other locker rooms.