Cody Rhodes was granted his release from the WWE the same night the company put on its Extreme Rules pay-per-view. Just hours after WWE released its customary good luck wishes in all his future endeavors, Ryback went on Twitter to tease a possible signing with TNA under the ring name of Ryborg. Whether they were intentionally trying to steal some of WWE’s spotlight that night or not, both Cody Rhodes and Ryback were clearly frustrated with their positions in the company and did something about it.
Cody and Ryan Reeves (Ryback’s real name) also went all the way, alienating themselves from the WWE in a similar fashion to Adam Rose. Ryback posted a lengthy blog about “pay equality” and had some pretty unorthodox demands during his contract negotiations. Rhodes declared that he’d release just one statement on the matter and be done with it. However, his one statement sparked a lot of controversy and added even more fire to the split that was far from amicable.
Cody took to Twitter to bash WWE’s head writers, blaming them for his lack of push or creative direction. As it turns out, Vince McMahon had the final say on pulling the plug on a proposed character change. There were discussions about turning Stardust back to Cody Rhodes in order for Cody to give it one final effort in an attempt to climb up the card, but Vince scrapped it. Cody was sure to thank the chairman and Triple H, but his frustrations should have been aimed at them instead of the writers. It was Vince’s decision that ultimately led Cody’s frustrations to boil over to the point of quitting the company.
A mere week later, the WWE announced that it would once again undergo a brand extension, splitting the talent pool into two unique rosters for Monday Night RAW and Tuesday’s new live edition of SmackDown. Vince and top WWE officials had recently signed the pink slips for several WWE superstars, but at the same time, he was claiming that we’d be witnessing the company’s largest roster in history in just a matter of months.
Cody Rhodes would not be a part of that expansion. Many of Cody’s former co-workers shared their love for him via social media, with some praising his bravery for walking away from the global leader in sports entertainment. However, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is not among those sharing in those sentiments for the son of the American Dream. Appearing on his podcast, The Steve Austin Show, the Texas Rattlesnake feels that Cody Rhodes jumped the gun a bit and made a mistake by walking out (thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription).
“Cody Rhodes decided to ride off into the sunset. He wasn’t happy with creative [and] he wasn’t happy that he couldn’t do what he wanted to do. His value would have been at an all-time high because of the brand split and they’re going to need all hands on deck. And so maybe him leaving wasn’t such a good idea, to take himself out of the picture, as he might have had a little bit more leverage or might have been used in a higher regard due to the brand split because they’re going to need all the talent they can muster.”
Vince certainly had the brand split idea spinning in his head when things went sour with Cody Rhodes, but it’s not known whether Vince saw the forest through the trees when it comes to the Stardust vs. Cody Rhodes debate. Maybe the brand split would have allowed the character transformation to come to light, or maybe Vince was convinced it wouldn’t have worked regardless.
In any event, Cody Rhodes hasn’t had any difficulty finding work since he left WWE. He’ll be performing for Northeast Wrestling in a marquee match, billed as the first time ever, against Kurt Angle. And he also recently tweeted out an Evolve logo, indicating he’ll be wrestling at their show on August 19. But you have to wonder what might have been had he stuck around for the brand extension.
[Image via WWE]