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Paul Heyman Speculates On Why Cody Rhodes Departed AEW

Paul Heyman Cody Rhodes

The departure of Cody Rhodes from AEW has been an intriguing tale, with WWE’s Paul Heyman now weighing in on the matter.

Cody Rhodes, alongside his wife Brandi, confirmed he was leaving All Elite Wrestling on 15 February, with his final match in the Tony Khan-helmed promotion coming in a ladder match vs. Sammy Guevara on the Beach Break edition of Dynamite to crown the Undisputed TNT Champion. ‘The American Nightmare’ had been working without a contract at this point, following its expiration in January.

Expected to land back in WWE during WrestleMania 38 as Vince McMahon’s handpicked opponent for Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins, Cody has been the talk of professional wrestling for the past two months. Now, Paul Heyman, who currently serves as the Tribal Counsel for Roman Reigns on WWE programming, has commented on the ongoing saga.

Talking with Ariel Helwani on his MMA Hour podcast, Heyman speculated on what, exactly, led to Cody Rhodes departing AEW, specifically noting his position as a company EVP (h/t Cageside Seats):

“He’s one of the founders of the company, a lot of it is his concept, a lot of the initial phase was on him, and Cody always had a vision to fill the boots of his father, not just in the ring but behind the scenes.

And the fact that he didn’t have the level of participation in decision making that he initially probably thought – this is speculation on my end, I never heard this from Cody, but just seeing the manner in which the creative end of that company grew – it doesn’t surprise me that at some point he was going to say, ‘Not what I originally envisioned and I want to see what life is like elsewhere.’

So when a founder of a company whose initial vision it was, or part of it was, leaves – that’s always surprising. Knowing what I know, and that’s admittedly very little of the circumstances, not so surprised.”

Leaving WWE in May 2016, Cody Rhodes instantly became a hit on the independent circuit, working everywhere from Ring Of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla to IMPACT Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Cody served as both a World and World Six-Man Tag Team Champion in ROH, while capturing the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship in NJPW, prior to launching All Elite Wrestling in 2019.

Post-WrestleMania 38, WWE has Cody Rhodes internally listed to appear on the Raw following ‘Mania, which will be the first proper Raw after WrestleMania since 2019. There’s no word yet as to what, exactly, WWE has planned for the former Stardust following ‘The Show of Shows’.