WWE had mainstream press ready for the moment Cody Rhodes entered AT&T Stadium on Sat., April 2 at WrestleMania 38, cementing the notion they saw the return of Dusty Rhodes’ son as a big statement in the 2022 sports entertainment/pro wrestling industry.
Seth Rollins’ opponent wasn’t just a returning Superstar. Rhodes journey outside WWE led to the creation of AEW, a company Vince McMahon & team say isn’t competition, but as their biggest rival in 20 years, is clearly on their radar.
The American Nightmare’s conversation with Variety confirms that WWE doesn’t plan to change anything about Cody’s presentation from AEW:
“Yeah. I mean, there should be no difference. To quote some of these individuals who courted me for this moment, “It’s not broke.” And this was a place that didn’t care for me. And it wasn’t that they didn’t have love and respect for me but as a wrestler, I wasn’t considered their most desirable. If anything, I was kind of undesirable. That’s where the whole mantra comes from, the whole promo of “desirable to undeniable,” to be able to return on your terms. It kind of feels like being in the military and having conquered something or having won this battle and being able to stand and keep your chin parallel with the floor and to be able to come in that fashion, a bit of a conquering hero. That’s how I see it in my dreams.”
Rhodes describes his return as feeling “really heavy”: “happy, excited, pressure, responsibility, all of it.” As for his goals in WWE?
“I told Vince McMahon, Bruce Prichard and Nick Kahn — this very small circle of individuals — I told them what I truly believe and it’s that I’m the best wrestler in the world. And to go further with it, I actually don’t think there’s a close second. But with that said, the opportunity now exists to prove it, and that’s what I’m most excited about.”
As for his departure from AEW, the 36 year old is keeping it close to the vest. But what he will say lends credence to rumors the EVPs (Rhodes, Kenny Omega, and Matt & Nick Jackson of The Young Bucks) may have had a falling out:
“I chose to remain silent about my departure from AEW and I’m going to keep my word on that. There’s no shoot interview. There’s no nefarious tale that’s going to be told. There were all these different theories and none of them are correct. I mean, there were things about money and creative control. They were printed as fact and it’s been a very difficult two months to see that, when the reality is it was just time. It was a personal matter and we couldn’t move past it.”
Cody wishes Tony Khan and his EVPs well, but couldn’t pass up the chance at another shot in WWE:
“For me, it was just time to to move on. I get an opportunity at my dream, I get another chance at it. And you really can’t leave any stone unturned with that.”
He also confirms reports he’s working with A&E on a documentary about his father. You can read Rhodes’ entire interview with Variety here.