Cody Rhodes Quits AEW And Debuts At WWE WrestleMania 38, A Timeline

Cody Rhodes has finally landed in WWE, officially kicking off the free agency wars between WWE and AEW with the first round of AEW contracts coming due.

Rhodes was working without a contract in AEW toward the end of his stint in the Jacksonville-based promotion, however many assumed he would re-sign as one of its founding members. Shockingly, this did not happen as Cody Rhodes left the territory only to resurface in the company that pissed him off enough to start a rival promotion in the first place.

“I told Vince McMahon, Bruce Prichard and Nick Khan—this very small circle of individuals—I told them what I truly believe and it’s that I’m the best wrestler in the world,” said Rhodes in an interview with Variety.

“And to go further with it, I actually don’t think there’s a close second. But with that said, the opportunity now exists to prove it, and that’s what I’m most excited about.”

Time heals all wounds, and with Cody Rhodes in the fold WWE has completed the more than one-month odyssey that was signing Cody Rhodes.

Cody Rhodes Confirms he’s working without a contract on January 26, 2022

Amid rumors of infighting with his fellow AEW Executive Vice Presidents, Cody Rhodes confirmed he was working without a contract.

Said Rhodes during a video on AEW’s YouTube channel: “I’m working here without a contract. I’m not even on payroll anymore. I’m working here on a handshake deal. That is 100% legitimate, I swear on Pharaoh’s life.”

Rhodes went on to make a handful of appearances with AEW, including a fantastic Ladder Match against Sammy Guevara for the TNT Championship in what proved to be his final match with the company.

Cody Rhodes Shockingly Leaves AEW on February 15, 2022

After working without a contract in his final weeks with AEW, Rhodes announced on Twitter that he would be leaving AEW.

In a heartfelt post, Rhodes thanked AEW and its leadership as he looked to turn the page to an unlikely next chapter in wrestling. Rhodes’ exit made him the first EVP to leave AEW, and put him on track to becoming the first former AEW star to sign with WWE.

WWE Raw Features Several Cody Rhodes References on February 22, 2022

WWE wasted little time teasing the possibility of Cody Rhodes joining the company. Speaking to an audience of the mostly hardcore fans left watching wrestling, WWE laid out more Easter Eggs than the MCU in April.

On the February 22, 2022 broadcast of WWE Raw, references included Miz using the word “dashing” in reference to a mystery tag team partner. While speaking of a mystery WrestleMania opponent, Edge said there would be “no smoke and mirrors about it,” another nod to the “Dashing Cody Rhodes character. In a March 14 Raw main event between Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins, Byron Saxton made multiple “nightmare” references.

Cody Rhodes Fuels WWE Speculation on February 28, 2022

Cody Rhodes continued to fuel speculation that he was WWE-bound by posting lyrics to “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger.

“And you always seem outnumbered/You don’t dare make a stand/Here I am/On the road again/There I am/Up on the stage/Here I go/Playin’ star again/There I go/Turn the page”

Cody Rhodes-WWE Negotiations Reportedly “Fizzled Out” on March 4, 2022

In a sudden turn of events, an exclusive report from Cassidy Haynes of suggested talks between WWE and Cody had fizzled out. The report coincided with Tony Khan’s purchase of ROH, which he announced on AEW Dynamite on March 2, 2022.

“While asking around about the purchase of Ring of Honor, sources have also confirmed to me that the reports of Brandi and Cody Rhodes leaving AEW was “very much real life, and was not a work,” read the report from Haynes.

“Additionally, I was told that discussions had been ongoing between Cody and WWE, but I was told “those conversations have since fizzled out. Once source indicated that there is hope that Cody can be brought back into the AEW fold. The idea was floated to me that there might be a possibility again, with a new role involving the ROH acquisition.”

Cody Rhodes Reportedly Signs with WWE (Reported March 18, 2022)

MORE FROM FORBESCody Rhodes Reportedly Signs With WWE

Cody Rhodes reportedly signed with WWE in early March as Mike Johnson of PWInsider reported he had signed 10 to 14 days before his March 18 report. Plans seemed to call for Rhodes to debut on WrestleMania weekend with Seth Rollins as his most-likely WrestleMania opponent.

Cody Rhodes Debuts at WrestleMania 38

Cody Rhodes made his WWE return at WrestleMania 38, defeating Seth Rollins and receiving a unanimous babyface reaction. Rhodes figures to be one of WWE’s top stars moving forward, and projects to be a world champion sooner rather than later.