Cody Rhodes seemed to be heading to announcing his retirement at AEW Homecoming after he was stopped in stunning fashion by Malakai Black.
With All Elite Wrestling back in Daily’s Place, Jacksonville for their live flagship show, Black and Rhodes were set to face off in the main event after a short but hugely personal feud.
Malakai Black stunned the wrestling world when he emerged from the darkness at AEW Road Rager in early July, delivering a devastating spin kick to the head of Nightmare Family Head Coach, Arn Anderson. This brought out Cody Rhodes who then was floored with a kick of his own.
In the intervening weeks, the two men have brawled with one another as Black tried to play mind games with the first-ever TNT Champion.
At AEW Homecoming the stage was set for the two men to go at it but what fans were treated to was nothing short of shocking. Minutes into the match Rhodes went to the top rope, only to eat a kick to the face that sent him sailing through the air and crashing through the timekeeper’s table at ringside. Barely beating the ten count, Cody Rhodes made it back to the ring but when he rose, he got another taste of wrestling boot as Malakai Black delivered his Black Mass spin kick. Black then simply placed his foot on Rhodes’ chest which caused an incredulous Jim Ross on commentary to utter “That won’t get it” but it did and Black picked up the victory. At four minutes and forty-two seconds, it was Rhodes’ shortest match against a signed AEW competitor since he was decimated for the TNT Championship by Mr. Brodie Lee in three minutes and ten seconds in August 2020.
However after the match, a further story that could have ramifications for Cody Rhodes’ in-ring career began to play out when he was joined by Tony Schiavone. With Rhodes struggling to stand after experiencing Black’s vicious leg kicks he was offered a crutch which he placed in the corner. An emotional Rhodes began discussing the formation of AEW as well as his relationship with the other EVPs in the company. As words failed him, he began taking off his wrestling boots appearing set to leave them in the ring in the time-honoured tradition of those walking away from the ring.
Cody Rhodes only got to take one of those boots off as Malakai Black returned and clubbed Rhodes over the back with the disregarded crutch.
Rhodes has previously spoken about his plans for retirement in issue 11 of Inside The Ropes magazine, saying that his original plan to walk away when he’s forty could have changed.