For years, WWE has been the mecca of professional wrestling, but, with time, several different promotions have tried to challenge WWE's undisputed position.
Due to its popularity, people pay attention when a former WWE star signs with a new promotion. Many stars released by WWE have joined AEW. This article is not about them. This is about those who had the option of going back to WWE or leaving independently, but chose not to.
Here are the 12 successful WWE Superstars who left and signed with AEW.
#12 Cody Rhodes
The man formerly known as Stardust was very successful in WWE, but wanted to be the 'top guy.' He worked in small promotions, went on the road, and paved his own way. For someone who only wrestled in WWE, that was a risk. But, now, that risk paid has off.
Cody was far from a failure in WWE. He was a multi-time WWE World Tag Team Champion, and a 2-time Intercontinental Champion. Bad creative was one of the reasons he left.
An AEW original and practically the company's face, Cody signed on as EVP, explicitly being part of the creative team alongside Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks.
Cody has been one of the main draws of AEW and is willing to lose and not put himself over at the expense of another talent. He has mentored and helped talent. There's no telling where Cody can go, or what lies in his future. Only time will tell.