The American Nightmare left the company in January 2022, following an incredible ladder match against Sammy Guevara as his final outing in the company.
He returned to the WWE a few months later, re-debut for the company at WrestleMania 38 against Seth Rollins.
Before his AEW exit, Rhodes was engaged in a faux-heel turn, with the fans booing his attempts at staying a babyface in the company – and Cody Rhodes steered into the skid to become a meta-heel in AEW.
His heel turn was to eventually become complete down the line, and if he had signed with AEW for longer would have had a match against a wrestler he considered one of his heroes – the Icon, Sting.
Cody Rhodes vs Sting
Speaking with ComicBook.com, Cody Rhodes spoke about leaving WWE for AEW, revealing that he had a fantastic contract offer from Tony Khan that included a match against Sting.
However, Cody Rhodes instead chose to work with another one of his heroes by signing WWE, working with the head of creative Triple H in the company instead.
“I was going to wrestle Sting. I don’t think I’ve ever shared that with anybody and nothing was on paper or anything like that. But I can say I got a tremendous offer from AEW creatively, financially, the full package.
You won’t hear me say anything bad about AEW or Tony [Khan] or my time there. It was a tremendous offer, but the offer wasn’t right for me. What I wanted to get back to was the first goal that I ever had [winning the WWE championship].
“But yeah, that probably would’ve been the endgame. That’s what had been discussed, was to get one [match] with one of my heroes, Sting. And it’s one of those things, you can wrestle one of your heroes or you can work with one of your heroes and he can be the head of creative [Paul “Triple H” Levesque], you can’t have it all.”
Sting has wrestled many matches in AEW since then, but he’s not had a one-on-one match since Night of Champion 2015, when he suffered a neck injury at the hands of Seth Rollins.
He retired soon after, but came back to wrestling in 2020 with AEW, teaming with Darby Allin on multiple occasions. The pair are currently undefeated in tag team action, following their victory at Wembley Stadium against Swerve Strickland and Christian Cage.
Sting shared the screen with Cody Rhodes just once, when he debuted to help save him from an attack at AEW Winter is Coming 2020.
Cody Rhodes won the 2023 Royal Rumble, and main evented WrestleMania 39 against Roman Reigns- it’s hard to say he made the wrong choice, but sad to think we missed out on a legendary Sting vs Cody Rhodes match.
Cody Rhodes Wanted A Dream Match With Sting
Speaking with Inside The Ropes in 2021, Cody Rhodes revealed that his goal in AEW was to wrestle against Sting.
He claims that the match wasn’t planned, but that he was “adamant” to that he wanted to wrestle Sting.
“I absolutely was adamant about wanting to do a match with him [Sting] and it’s not something that’s been discussed or contracted or anything like that but, while he’s here, I still would hope that it happens. He’s such a huge part of who I am and he was such a d*ck to me on the second week when he showed up, and I love that. And I love his love for my dad as well. Sting is a big part of what we do. What a different company when you can have Sting there and Jack Evans in the same company. That’s what AEW does better than any. It’s such a diverse roster,” Cody Rhodes said.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.