The departure of Cody Rhodes from All Elite Wrestling in February 2022 left many bewildered, questioning the next move of ‘The American Nightmare’. Having helped build the Tony Khan-helmed promotion in its first three years of existence, it was thought impossible for Rhodes to leave the company behind.
His departure was confirmed on February 15th in statements made by both himself and AEW CEO Tony Khan, with Cody Rhodes going on to return to WWE after a six-year absence. Cody reemerged on night one of WrestleMania 38, defeating Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins in a well-received comeback.
Mike Chioda Was “Shocked” When Cody Rhodes Left AEW
Several pro wrestlers and wrestling personalities have given their five cents on the topic, with legendary referee Mike Chioda being the latest. The ex-WWE official, who has since refereed for AEW on a handful of occasions, was a guest on the Universal Wrestling Podcast, admitting his surprise at Cody Rhodes leaving AEW for WWE:
“AEW’s got a hell of a lot of talent over there right now. I was shocked to see Cody go back, I really was. When Cody started with Tony Khan, this whole starting AEW, I was just shocked that Cody went back and Tony Khan let him go. So you knew there was things going haywire up on the top already before all this.”
Mike Chioda speculated that there were likely issues within AEW at the time of Cody Rhodes’ departure, as there has been since All Out on September 4th. He suggested appointing someone to the Head of Talent Relations role as a means of sorting out such issues:
“I think they’ll work it out. You got a lot of old-school talent. You got Big Show. You got [William] Regal there! You know, make somebody the Head of Talent Relations. I wouldn’t bring in Johnny Laurinaitis, but you need a guy that’s always been there to take the heat like Johnny Laurinaitis or Jim Ross and so forth to handle your talent. And that’s what Vince [McMahon] did, he always had somebody to handle the talent.”
Cody Rhodes is currently out of action, having suffered a torn pectoral tendon ahead of his Hell in a Cell clash with Seth Rollins.