Cody Rhodes requested and was granted his WWE release in 2016 after becoming creatively frustrated with the Stardust gimmick he had been saddled with. Following his exit, he quickly re-invented himself on the independent pro wrestling scene before signing with Ring of Honor, bleaching his hair, and becoming an official member of Bullet Club. His ties to the infamous NJPW faction fostered his friendship with The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, with whom he went on to found All Elite Wrestling.
Rhodes’ time in AEW was filled with many notable moments and matches, but it ultimately ended in early 2022 when he decided to jump back into the WWE fold. The American Nightmare has said there was one particular interpersonal issue that led to his exit but has remained coy about exactly what that is. In a new interview with Sports Illustrated, he spoke about one big match that was dangled before him prior to deciding to leave AEW.
“The last match I was offered in AEW was that match,” Rhodes said when asked about his time working with Sting in AEW. “It wasn’t confirmed or anything like that, but just the little I had to do with his debut there is a wonderful memory. I was a little Stinger. Maybe I’ll pull out a Stinger Splash in his honor. Seriously, cheers to a wonderful career.”
Last month, Sting announced that he is retiring from active competition at AEW Revolution in March 2024. In celebration of his career and contributions to AEW, Tony Khan gave Sting the gift of Ric Flair two weeks ago, who made his AEW debut. Flair made it clear that he is not going anywhere, as he plans to be by Sting’s side as he rides off into the sunset. The Nature Boy’s comments were followed up the following week with an announcement that he had signed a multi-year deal with the company that will see his Woooo energy drink become the company’s official energy drink sponsor.