Will WWE sign Cody Rhodes? Will he ever become AEW Champion? Will we be seeing a Cody Rhodes Wrestlemania return to the company?
Since the dawn of AEW, Cody Rhodes has been one of the most popular stars in the company. This was clear straight from the off. He was the biggest face at the start of AEW Dynamite, and main event the first AEW pay-per-view during the “Dynamite Era”. That match was for the AEW Championship against the first ever champion Chris Jericho. However he failed to beat Jericho and win the championship.
Since then he has won the TNT Championship a record three times. He was the first champion, beating Lance Archer in the final of the first TNT Championship tournament to be crowd the TNT Champion. He then lost the belt to Brodie Lee, before regaining it weeks later. Their matches were some of the best matches of Brodie Lee’s career before his death. He then won it back off Brodie before losing to Darby Allin. He then won it a third time from Sammy Guevara on Christmas Day 2021.
Newer viewers to AEW may be thinking “Why is he going for the TNT Championship? Why isn’t Cody Rhodes the AEW Champion?”. That is a good question, and one that has been seldom referenced on AEW television. In this article, we will look at why Cody Rhodes, one of AEW’s most popular stars, has never been the AEW Champion. We will also look at whether or not he will ever be the AEW Champion, and his chances of leaving AEW to become a champion in AEW instead
Why can’t Cody Rhodes be AEW Champion?
Whilst Cody Rhodes is one of the most popular wrestlers in AEW, he cannot be AEW Champion. However, it is for a much different reason for his inability to become WWE Champion in WWE.
In WWE, he was not pushed as high up the card as he should. Had WWE booked him well, they could have had a main event talent on their hands on the level of Roman Reigns or even Triple H. Shades of this were evident during the Shield vs Rhodes feud in 2013.
Many fans thought Rhodes should have won the Money in the Bank that year, but WWE instead went for his partner Damian Sandow instead. However, it was after the incredible Shield vs Goldust and Cody Rhodes matches that fans were begging for WWE to make Cody Rhodes a star. However, Vince McMahon never saw him like a star and relegated him to the tag team division.
Cody Rhodes would leave WWE in 2016 after being saddled with the “Stardust” gimmick for too long. He would eventually join up with The Elite to form AEW where he became a huge star. The first pay per view, Full Gear 2019, after AEW Dynamite began was headlined with a match between Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho. It was an AEW Championship match, with Jericho having the Inner Circle in his corner, and Rhodes having MJF in his.
The match also carried a stipulation. In a promo weeks before the match, Cody told the fans that he did not want his accomplishments to be tainted by being a part of management. He said that he didn’t want them to think that he booked himself to the top, so gave himself an ultimatum:
Win the AEW Champion against Jericho or never challenge for the belt again. Sadly, he lost to the AEW Champion due to MJF turning heel, throwing in the towel on his behalf and kicking him in the balls for good measure. This turned into a feud where the pair would face off at AEW Revolution, with MJF picking up the victory over Cody Rhodes.
Will Cody Rhodes turn heel?
Since then Cody Rhodes has been resolute that he will never challenge for the AEW Championship again. He is true to his word and looks unlikely to ever break his promise. He has spoken at length about how wants stipulations to matter and doesn’t want it to be forgotten about in a years time when the next champion needs a challenger.
He spoke candidly in a promo on AEW Dynamite about why he will never turn on the fans. Fans had begun to boo him during his feud with Anthony Ogogo, and during his rivalry with Malakai Black the fans certainly viewed him as the bad guy and the satanic Black as the good. However, in that promo he confirmed to the crowd that he will never turn heel, and why;
“This will disappoint so many and maybe it won’t, maybe this will excite, but two things I can guarantee you and I’m not saying this to wave one hand while you’re not looking at the other. I’m telling this from the most honest standpoint, I am not going to turn heel on this company. And I would retire before I did that. Now I’m the head of the community outreach group. I have a little girl now. I’m not going to be doing heel stuff on TV. I am not turning heel and I’m not going back on my word to challenge for the title. That stuff was real. It hurts.”
Will Cody Rhodes leave AEW for WWE?
In recent weeks, Cody Rhodes has been rumoured to be leaving AEW for WWE. It was revealed in recent weeks that he is working without a contract and has been on a pay-per-appearance deal with AEW. Rumours have been circulating, theorising that he could leave AEW to join WWE, returning as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble.
However, wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer theorised that because nobody has talked about the issue to him that it could be a work. He also noted that it could be a storyline for the upcoming second season of his reality TV Show “Rhodes to the Top”.
It is unlikely that Cody Rhodes is leaving AEW to go to WWE. He was a founder of AEW and currently serves as one of the Executive Vice Presidents of the company. For him to leave would be a huge blow for AEW and a massive gain for WWE. Stranger things have happened in wrestling however, so you can never rule anything out.
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.