Cody Rhodes was one of the founding fathers of AEW as one of four co-executive vice presidents alongside The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) and Kenny Omega. Those four, along with Tony Khan, are largely credited with bringing AEW to fruition.
Rhodes surprisingly left AEW after his contract expired at the beginning of the year, returning to WWE at WrestleMania 38. Arguably no one was more against WWE than Rhodes during his time in AEW, often taking shots on screen at his former employer.
Speaking on WWE After The Bell, Cody discussed the reaction from fans to leaving AEW and joining WWE.
"It was initially, unanimously positive, but that fanbase divide that exists among all the different bubbles, if there was any negativity, I can put some of the blame on my shoulders. The last shows I had done before making the WWE return, I'm taking fun potshots and talking smack, which is what wrestlers do. Sometimes, fans attach themselves to those statements and forget we're in the realm of entertainment. I added to the tribalism myself, so I can't get mad at it when I see it. I did see a lot of...it was unique to see people burning my old AEW shirts, which was a trend for a few days on social. It felt like you were leaving a sports team. It didn't break my heart, but I do remember thinking...I thought it was odd because [AEW] doesn't exist without me. There are other people that need to be there for it to exist, for sure, but I'm one of the people where, AEW exists, partially, because of me. For there to be that strong of a (reaction), damn. I saw the term 'sold out,' and thought, 'You have this. It's great,'" he said.
Tony Khan has spoken kindly of Cody since he left AEW, saying that Rhodes found a good situation for him. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
Cody is set to face Seth Rollins at WrestleMania Backlash.
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