On February 15, the pro-wrestling world was rocked by some surprising news coming out of All Elite Wrestling. Cody Rhodes and his wife Brandi had departed the company.
The report was initially revealed by Sean Ross Sapp at Fightful and confirmed with statements from AEW President Tony Khan and Cody himself. One of the big takes from Sean's report was that he alluded that Rhodes could be on his way back to WWE.
The American Nightmare hasn't competed in Vince McMahon's promotion since 2016. The last time the WWE Universe saw Rhodes in action, he was under the guise of Stardust. It's fair to say that Cody has come a long way since he was chasing the "Cosmic Key" on television.
Later in the day, Dave Meltzer at the Wrestling Observer had more information. He noted that Cody and Brandi's contracts expired on December 31, 2021. He also stated that the pair had been negotiating with AEW for six weeks, but terms could not be agreed upon.
Meltzer also confirmed that Cody and Brandi could sign for WWE immediately if they wished to. There's no confirmation if Vince McMahon and his company have approached them. However, the question has to be realistically asked: where else would he go? WWE seems like the logical next step for someone of his caliber.
That being said, let's take a look at three reasons why Cody Rhodes should return to WWE and two reasons why he shouldn't.
#3 Should - There are plenty of fresh match-ups to be had for Cody Rhodes in WWE
Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins, Cody vs. Roman Reigns, Cody vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Cody vs. Edge; The American Nightmare has yet to face a long list of superstars in one-on-one or major feuds.
If he were to sign for WWE, it would open up many possibilities. Of course, the AEW roster is stacked with talent, but the lure of competing against some of WWE's best in major events such as WrestleMania is hard to turn down.
It should be noted that Vince McMahon's promotion requires some invigoration and someone who could add value to the product. Cody ticks all the boxes. He's been there and done it before, he's a recognizable face to the fans, and he can work at a stellar level.
Seeing some of the match-ups and feuds that Rhodes could feature indeed whets the appetite of fans around the world. It would be a fresh start for the two-time Intercontinental Champion with some new challenges ahead.
#2 Shouldn't - Cody Rhodes was in a more powerful position with AEW
How could it be that Cody Rhodes, an EVP and an integral part of AEW's foundation, can now just leave? It's pretty hard to fathom.
Dave Meltzer stated in his latest report that "Cody had great input, but his character was struggling." However, it didn't necessarily mean it was the end of the chapter.
Of course, with some sizeable influence behind the scenes, fans often speculated that Rhodes was using it to his advantage, especially when he recently beat Anthony Ogogo. But looking back, Cody put many up-and-coming talents over during his tenure.
Sadly, Rhodes may not have the same luxury returning to WWE. He would ultimately go from someone with powerful status to someone with half an input due to how the company operates. It's a big risk.
#2 Should - Cody Rhodes has reinvented himself since he left WWE in 2016 with a completely new attitude and style
As mentioned previously, the last time the WWE Universe saw Cody was when he was portraying his gimmick of Stardust. Before that, he had gimmicks such as "Dashing" Cody Rhodes and even a run where he had a mustache.
He eventually transitioned into a more serious professional wrestler with the world at his feet as he walked away from the company. He dubbed himself "The American Nightmare," the opposite of his late father "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.
He first found this persona when competing in NJPW in December 2016. He adopted a new attitude to excel beyond anything he had done beforehand. It has ultimately propelled him to the top of many cards.
Would this gimmick work for WWE? The fans may soon find out for themselves if he signs.
#1 Shouldn't - Cody Rhodes may not be provided with a top spot within WWE for long
We have to remember that casual WWE fans might not see him as a main event guy immediately. This will take some work. Would they treat him like a big deal like he was in NJPW and AEW? Would WWE expect him to return to the mid-card first before working his way back up?
If he is used immediately in a main event or high-profile capacity, the steam could wear off fast, or some questionable booking may derail his momentum. Big E's recent WWE Title reign is a recent example of this. Often, it isn't a wrestler's fault.
Cody could easily be a victim of this, and going back to the previous point, he won't have much say about how that goes, wherein AEW he may have done.
#1 Should - Cody Rhodes has unfinished business in WWE
One thing that is certain is that Cody has a lot of unfinished business in WWE. Something high on his list will be capturing his first world title for the company.
Rhodes is a different man than he was six years ago, and there's still plenty left for him to accomplish in WWE. When you look at his accolades, he became a multi-time tag team champion and two-time Intercontinental Champion, and that was it. Many prizes are missing—Royal Rumble winner, Money in the Bank winner, United States Championship. There are a lot of journeys to be had.
Maybe it could be time for Cody to show what he's all about. It's not necessarily an attempt to erase his previous work but build on his legacy that he is a serious contender, and he should always be treated that way.
He's got everything you want in a star; the talent, the look, the charisma, and the legacy. Here's hoping this time around, if he signs with WWE, that Rhodes gets to shine amongst the best.
Do you think Cody Rhodes should sign with WWE? Let us know in the comments below!
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