Cody Rhodes did his best to take some of the spotlight away from WWE’s latest pay-per-view, Extreme Rules, on Sunday. Reports and rumors swirled around Rhodes’ status with the company throughout the day. Cody even tweeted that everything that was being reported was “100% false and just speculation,” but later issued a statement confirming that he had requested, and soon thereafter granted, his release from WWE. Cody said it was his “one and only statement on the matter” with no “podcasts or tell-all nonsense” to follow. It was his intention for this statement to be the be-all and end-all, but there is more than meets the eye.
In the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer revealed that the split is not amicable at the present time. Cody Rhodes pointed out that money was never an issue during his tenure with the WWE, but money may be an underlying issue now in the sense that Rhodes “quit” with time still remaining on his contract. WWE did not fire or release him, so Cody will have to wait out however much longer is on his current deal before he can work for another company. Rhodes fired a few shots on his way out, some publicly and perhaps others in private, so the WWE is making it difficult during his transition process.
— Cesaro (@WWECesaro) May 22, 2016
The Cody Rhodes situation is similar to that of Daniel Bryan. WWE didn’t want Bryan to wrestle anymore, while Daniel still believes there’s a chance he could compete. Because of that riff, Bryan also resigned on his own recognizance, thus preventing him from wrestling for another promotion as WWE simply waits for his contract to expire. CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio went through similar falling-outs as well. The difference in their cases is that Punk had a misdiagnosis suit and Del Rio threatened company racism. This forced WWE to allow them out of their contracts and to fight elsewhere. Unless Cody Rhodes has something on WWE to that level, he may be stuck until the witching hour of his contractual agreement.
Thank you Cody pic.twitter.com/wr9B1qOJua
— Viktor (@ViktorRiseWWE) May 22, 2016
Cody had been teasing a character transformation on social media for weeks. He posted several pictures with half of his face painted up as his Stardust persona and the other half blank, teasing a potential return to his Cody Rhodes persona. Because there was no payoff, many thought Cody was just trolling the internet and his followers.
As it turns out, there were plenty of discussions around the idea of pulling it off. In fact, there were talks of re-debuting Cody on the Monday Night RAW the night after WrestleMania. Stardust was hastily inserted into the Intercontinental Championship Ladder match at Mania, but it was evident there were no follow-up plans for him. Cody wasn’t just teasing his social media followers but pitching the change backstage to the creative team as well. Obviously, the idea eventually was turned down, prompting Cody to call out WWE’s head writers in his statement.
“…both ‘head writers’ of RAW & Smackdown (one pretending to be Brian Gewirtz and the other too busy hitting on developmental divas) continued to not return my pitches or E-mails, and in face-to-face encounters tried to big league me by pretending to be on their clearly powered-off laptops… barely willing to listen to an idea I considered beneficial to more than one talent. What’s that expression? Don’t take no for an answer… what do you do when you don’t get an answer at all?”
Cody Rhodes’ vitriol in that stanza was directed at Ed Koskey and Ryan Ward, the head writers of RAW and SmackDown, respectively. But where Cody is slightly misguided is that it wasn’t Koskey or Ward who made the decision not to turn Stardust back into Cody Rhodes. While the writers may not have given him the time of day, it was ultimately a directive from Vince McMahon and, to a lesser extent, Triple H not to give Cody the shot he longed for. Maybe it’s the creative team’s fault for not giving him good material to work with, but the call comes from Vince whether a superstar receives a push or not.
[Photo by Jim R. Bounds/AP Images]