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The Custody of Cody Rhodes: AEW Versus WWE

by Bailey Weber

On April 2, Cody Rhodes became the first major jump from All Elite Wrestling (AEW) to WWE. This came as a major shock to fans, as Rhodes was an Executive Vice President of AEW since its fruition. Rhodes debuted against Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins at “WrestleMania 38.” 

Controversy surrounds Rhodes’ return “home” because his entire AEW run had promos bashing WWE and their practices. It has been rumored by Fightful.com that Rhodes had issues with AEW management when discussing his pay grade. Rhodes allegedly wanted to be paid more than they were offering him. He seemingly confirmed this in an interview with Variety

“I mean, there were things about money and creative control. They were printed as fact and it’s been a very difficult two months to see that, when the reality is it was just time. It was a personal matter and we couldn’t move past it,” Rhodes said. 

Fans of Rhodes’ work in AEW feel betrayed by him. This is likely because of Rhodes’ words surrounding “the enemy,” who he later joined.

In a promo on Jan. 19, Rhodes mentioned that he was absent for two weeks. He then said that this caused “The Young Bucks,” a tag-team in AEW, to lose their cool and decide to have a match against “reDragon.”

“I know reDragon passed hip-toss class with flying colors, but I don’t need to see the Bucks beat the developmental talent more than once,” Rhodes said. 

The “developmental talent” that Rhodes referred to is “NXT,” which is WWE’s developmental brand. reDragon was a part of this brand until they split from WWE in 2020 and 2021. 

Alongside this, it’s rumored that Rhodes earns three to five million dollars a year in WWE. This is more than veteran stars like Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, and even Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins. This brings more to the controversy of his departure  from AEW. 

Fans feel like even though Rhodes claimed that it wasn’t about the money, it was most definitely about the money. 

It is understandable that a wrestler would jump ship for a better deal. However, it is a bold move for someone to lie about the reason they left and expect fans to follow them like it wasn’t a complete betrayal to them.

Cody Rhodes is slated to be a top babyface on WWE’s “Monday Night Raw.” However, fans don’t expect it to last long, especially because of the controversy of his return “home” to win the championship his father, Dusty Rhodes, never won. 

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