Though he departed the company in February of 2022, Cody Rhodes was instrumental in the formation of AEW alongside The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. The four of them served as the company’s EVP’s until Rhodes’ departure, and The Elite still hold those positions.
However, the remaining EVP’s found themselves mired in controversy when they were involved in a brawl with CM Punk immediately following AEW All Out. After winning the AEW World Championship, Punk took part in a media scrum alongside AEW President Tony Khan and launched into a verbal tirade against his former friend Colt Cabana, ‘Hangman’ Adam Page, and though he didn’t call them out by name, AEW EVP’s The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, who he said “couldn’t manage a target.”
Enraged, The Elite confronted Punk in his dressing room, and the situation soon escalated into a brawl. Not only were punches thrown, Punk’s friend and trainer Ace Steel reportedly threw a chair at Nick Jackson in addition to biting Kenny Omega. Everyone involved was suspended, and Punk and The Elite were stripped of the championships they’d won at All Out. Ace Steel has since been released from the company, and while The Elite returned at AEW Full Gear, any potential of Punk returning remains in doubt.
Cody Rhodes Had “Great” Relationships With Both CM Punk & The Elite
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Cody Rhodes opened up about the brawl, revealing that one of his Nightmare Factory students was involved in pulling apart the melee. He found news of the brawl to be disheartening, saying that it wasn’t in the spirit of what they’d envisioned for AEW.
Despite rumors that he departed the company due to a deteriorating relationship with his fellow AEW EVP’s, Cody says he had a great relationship with The Elite. While he admits they often butted heads due to their philosophies on wrestling, he says their differences of opinion is what made the group work and says they’re “forever bonded.”
“I had a great relationship with Matt, Nick, and Kenny. Still do. It definitely was tested by being young executives. It was tested by having different opinions on wrestling, but our different opinions is what made it strong. That’s what made us work. I want to Crockett and old school, and they want to do PWG and west coast and damn, I loved it. I liked that, that contention is what made us bond. We’re bonded forever because of the things we did.”
Continuing, Rhodes turned his attention to CM Punk, with whom he often shared dinner backstage. He recalled the buzz of excitement when Punk returned to wrestling for the first time since 2014, saying that everyone was fired up about the comeback.
“I also had a great relationship with Punk. He was my dinner buddy, you know? They’d order dinner for me at AEW every week as one of my management perks or whatever. I don’t think he knew, I think I always just put it on my tab because I wanted to make sure he was getting something too, salmon or sushi.
“So we didn’t talk a lot, but I had a great relationship. We’d still like chat and I was so excited to have him back, and gosh, even like…If you remember when he came back, everyone was fired up about that. Everybody.”
Cody Rhodes went on to detail why the situation surrounding the brawl was so difficult for him as it felt like the legacy of what they’d built in AEW had been tarnished.
If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit Ariel Helwani and link back to this article with a h/t to Inside the Ropes.