After weeks of rumors and speculation, Cody Rhodes has made his return to WWE.
Last night’s WrestleMania 38 Night One event saw Rhodes make his return as the opponent for Seth Rollins, hand-picked by WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon as the storyline goes. Rhodes defeated Rollins in tonight’s return match.
Rhodes had a special entrance as he was raised from under the stage. He was introduced as “The American Nightmare” and received pyro and a huge pop on his way to the ring. The back & forth match ended with two straight CrossRhodes, the signature right hands and Bionic Elbow of the late WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, and then one more CrossRhodes for the pin to win. The announcers did acknowledge how Cody has been away from WWE, and how he’s wrestled around the world, but there was no mention of AEW.
This was Cody’s first WWE match since May 16, 2016, when he lost to Zack Ryder at a WWE Superstars taping, while working as Stardust. Rhodes helped launch AEW, as a talent and Executive Vice President, but left the company back in February after his contract expired and he was unable to agree on a new deal with AEW President Tony Khan.
Rhodes is reportedly scheduled to be a regular member of the RAW roster moving forward. It’s been reported that he signed his new WWE contract around three weeks ago.
Rhodes’ team issued a press release after his WrestleMania return and confirmed that he is signed to a new multi-year deal with WWE. Cody’s team consists of the Hyperion Talent Agency, the Spanos Law firm, and the Vision PR firm.
The press release also revealed that Rhodes is serving as the Executive Producer to A&E’s “Biography: WWE Legends” documentary on his father, WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes. The doc was mentioned in the earlier Variety interview, but the release from Rhodes’ team has confirmed that he will be the Executive Producer.
The release also included the following blurb on Rhodes’ return and career. It’s interesting to note that there is no direct mention of AEW, but they do acknowledge that he is a three-time TNT Champion. The return press release was not issued by WWE, but it’s possible they had a chance to approve it before it went out. Rhodes’ team issued the following:
The most sought-after free agent in professional wrestling, “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes, has landed back at WWE, the company where he began his career. Saturday night, in front of a massive crowd at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Rhodes returned in a main event match with multi-time former WWE Champion Seth Rollins. Rhodes has inked a multi-year deal with the company.
Rhodes began his wrestling career with WWE developmental territory OVW and went on to compete with WWE for a decade before his departure in 2016. Over the past six years, Rhodes has wrestled all over the world including in Japan, England, Mexico, and Canada. In 2018, Rhodes was named Wrestler of the Year by Sports Illustrated. During his first run with WWE, Rhodes became a two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion and won six tag team championships (three World Tag Team Championships and three WWE Tag Team Championships). During his time away from WWE, Rhodes won many top championships including the Ring of Honor World Champion, IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion, ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champion, and most recently the TNT Championship on three separate occasions. His father, the legendary “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, is a WWE Hall of Famer and both Cody and Dusty won NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship titles making them the first father/son combination to win the title.
Source: Wrestling Inc.