Did you know that Dan Lambert is the reason for Cody Rhodes leaving AEW? Keep reading to find out how the American Top Team leader caused the exodus of Cody and Brandi Rhodes, due to his connection to Cody’s father – “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes
Dan Lambert in AEW
Dan Lambert has been somewhat of a controversial figure in AEW. The founder of the American Top Team martial arts team came in to AEW as the manager of the Men of the Year and instantly became one of the most hated men in the company due to his viciousness on the microphone.
Managing Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page, he lambasted AEW management and their wrestlers on multiple occasions, sometimes too much. Fans grew tired of his schtick and he soon outwore his welcome. A brief face turn for AEW’s Dan Lambert came during a brief and unfulfilling feud with Cody and Brandi Rhodes although it was not jumped upon due to the Rhodes leaving AEW in 2022.
While this short-lived feud was not the reason for Cody’s departure from AEW, Dan Lambert could be blamed for inspiring the former TNT Champion into returning to WWE after 3 years as the Executive-Vice President of AEW.
Cody Rhodes Left AEW Because Of Dan Lambert
Rhodes revealed that backstage at AEW Dan Lambert handed him the old WWWF Championship (The WWE was known as the WWWF before it was called the WWF). The emotion of holding the championship he father fought for, but never held, stirred something inside him and helped him make the decision to come back to WWE after 6 years away from the company.
In the interview with Ryan Satin, Cody Rhodes spoke about Dan Lambert and said;
“Dan Lambert handed me the WWWF Championship, he handed me the title that my dad is holding in that picture from 1977, he handed it to me and in that moment, I felt like that decision was almost made for me. I don’t know if he inadvertently caused this industry-changing moment but there were times when it was, this is what has to happen.”
“This is what has to happen and what needs to happen. I think we did it with respect and love and it feels like the casual fans, wrestling fans, sports entertainment fans, it feels like the fans get it and that’s really touching. I don’t know how long the honeymoon phase will last but we’re on the beach right now and really truly enjoying it.”
In somewhat of a “butterfly effect”, Dan Lambert handing Cody Rhodes the WWWF Championship was the reason for him joining WWE. It was the catalyst in the former EVP of AEW leaving the promotion he helped form and become a main event talent in WWE.
Dusty Rhodes and The WWWF Championship
While Dusty Rhodes, the father of Cody, never held the famous championship, he did challenge for the belt on one solitary occasion. Before either of the Rhodes children were born, Dusty Rhodes was one of the biggest stars in the world of wrestling.
While he was never a main eventer in WWE, he did wrestle in the company from time to time. In 1979, he headlined a WWWF event at Madison Square Garden, when he challenged then-champion “Superstar” Billy Graham for his WWWF Championship.
While Dusty did win the match, the championship still eluded him. He defeated Billy Graham by count out, a result that meant that the belt did not change hands. Dusty Rhodes did get to hold the WWWF Championship, but the moment was ultimately fleeting.
Cody Rhodes revealed this in an interview with Variety, and also cited it as one of the reasons for his return. However, with the new information regarding Dan Lambert’s involvement, it’s clear that he was heavily involved with his decision to move back to WWE and make his long awaited return at Wrestlemania.
“He went to Madison Square Garden, stood across from Superstar Billy Graham and he held [The WWE Championship] in his hands, the goal of mine, and it was taken away because that was the context of the match,” Rhodes said. “I understand that now as an adult, but as a kid, that was the only reason I ever wanted to get in, so that I could get what he didn’t get.”
Cody Rhodes on Dusty challenging for the WWWF Championship
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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.