Eric Bischoff Shares His Thoughts On Cody Rhodes' Departure From AEW And How The Decision Took Guts

On the February 21st edition of 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff Podcast, Conrad Thompson and Bischoff took a short break from revisiting 1997's WCW SuperBrawl VII to talk about Cody Rhodes leaving AEW.

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The former WCW Senior Vice President and WWE Smackdown Executive Director Eric Bischoff would say why Cody Rhodes' departure from AEW did not surprise him as much as it did others.

"Not surprised. Not nearly as surprised as everybody else is, and it's not because I have any inside information. It's not because I speak to Cody. Cody and I text back and forth every couple of months, maybe short, nothing deep."

"Look, I was more surprised that Cody left WWE. Let's think about that for a minute. How old was Cody when he left WWE? Approximately. He's 36 now, so he was 30, 30. So you're 30 years old, you're on the biggest stage in the world in your particular industry. And yes, you might be sour with a character or gimmick that you don't like. But guess what? You're making damn good money now. You could probably retire on in five to ten years if you were smart or less."

Bischoff started with World Championship Wrestling in 1991; it was the same year Cody's father, Dusty Rhodes, would leave the World Wrestling Federation for WCW. Eric and Dusty worked with each other for nearly a decade, and Bischoff would explain how Cody's decision to leave the WWE in 2016 reminded him of Dusty.

"But he was willing to walk away from that because he wasn't satisfied. It reminded me of his dad. I sent Cody a text when the news hit that he left WWE. I sent Cody a text telling him how proud I was of him, and subsequently, Cody called me, and I remember I was in Los Angeles, I was on business, and it was the end of the day. I was in a restaurant. Cody called me, and we spoke briefly about it, and I said, Cody, your dad would be so proud of you because Dusty was a lot like that. Dusty was never satisfied. He always wanted something bigger and wanted something more, and he believed in himself, and Dusty was willing to walk away if need be. When I heard that Cody left WWE, we had that conversation. I just told them how proud of them I was."

"When this happened, and again, I want to be careful with what I say here. I don't know how much time you want to spend talking about this, but from my perspective, despite Tony coming out saying I'm going to try not to make the same mistakes WCW has made. I'm not going to delineate all the things that, in my opinion, he's made significant mistakes doing."

Bischoff, speaking on Rhodes' vision possibly changing, said it's possible things have changed and is the reason why Cody might have decided to leave AEW.

"I think Cody is probably sitting at some point sitting around looking at the landscape of where AEW was going, and it didn't coincide with the vision that he originally bought into, and it wasn't going to get him where he wanted; to go."

"I know you (Conrad) have more insight into what's going on in AEW than I do, and you and I don't even talk about it much, every once in a while, to be honest. But I'd bet a lot of money. If I had a lot of money, I bet a lot of money that Tony offered up a pretty substantial sum of money that an average person walking the face of this country could retire around in a very short period, like a year or two. But, Cody made a decision that was different. He made a decision that took a lot of guts. I can't tell you how proud I am of him for putting his family first and putting his confidence on the line the way that he did."

Eric continued, "Now, I don't know for sure. You and I have speculated. None of us know for sure until after it happens. It's one great thing about this business. It keeps it fun. Yes. But if he ends up at WWE, I'm relatively certain his future is very secure. But it's not even about the money. It's about staying true to yourself and doing what you feel is right for you and your family in the long term and that sounds like it'd be easy, but it's not, especially when you're a young man, 36 years old. I still wear shoes older than Cody Rhodes, 36 is still a kid to me. You learn so much more after the age of 40, even though you think when you're 40 years old, and you're younger than 40, you think you're pretty smart, you think you know everything there is now, you feel comfortable with your grip on life. By the time you hit 40, you'd go, yeah, I didn't know as much as I thought I did."

"Cody is still so young, and to be able to make that big of a decision and to put himself out there because, you know, he's going to get criticized. You know, they're going to be people who want to bury him for doing it because that's the nature of the wrestling audience, I guess, unfortunately, it is, but it's not new. It's always been that way.

Cody's going to take some heat, but he had the balls to do what he thought was best for him. I don't know how you don't admire that.

Eric Bischoff has recently appeared on WWE Raw, SmackDown, and more recently on Raw Talk. Additionally, Bischoff has appeared on AEW Dynamite four times since its inception. Bischoff's last appearance on Dynamite was on May 28th, 2021.

Fightful was the first to report Cody Rhodes' exit from AEW, and we have more on his departure on Fightful Select.

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