Cody Rhodes Accidentally Cost AEW Signing Of Ex-Bullet Club Member

Since joining New Japan Pro-Wrestling in 2019, El Phantasmo has become one of the promotion’s most notable gaijin stars. Phantasmo primarily found success in the junior heavyweight division in which he won both the 2019 and 2020 Super J-Cup tournaments and captured the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team title with Bullet Club ally Taiji Ishimori on three separate occasions – before being ejected from the faction earlier this year.

Through NJPW’s working relationship with AEW, Phantasmo has also competed twice in AEW – most recently getting a singles victory over Stu Grayson during the Zero Hour of Forbidden Door this past June. As the man himself revealed in a recent interview, however, we could have seen him in AEW full-time instead of NJPW if not for a mistake on the part of former AEW Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes.

Speaking on Fight Game Media’s Speaking of Strong Style podcast, Phantasmo revealed that in the early days of AEW, Tony Khan offered him a contract after watching an independent match between himself and Rhodes. Phantasmo had also received interest from NJPW but attempted to get in touch with Cody to hear more about AEW’s offer.

“It’s funny, I was texting Cody Rhodes on WhatsApp and he didn’t respond,” Phantasmo explained. “I was like ‘Cody, I kind of need to talk to you,’ and he didn’t respond. Then Rocky [Romero] got the Japanese visa and they’re like, ‘Hey, we want you in Bullet Club.’ I was like ‘Sh-t, I can’t say no to that.’ If you ever talk to Cody, he’s like, ‘I’ve only ever used WhatsApp for one person’ because I don’t have iMessage or anything like that.

“Tony Khan was like, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ and I was like, ‘Well, he didn’t respond to me on WhatsApp.’ Then he f-cking called Cody backstage in front of everybody like, ‘What’s going on with ELP?’ I was like, ‘Dude, you didn’t respond on WhatsApp’, he’s like ‘Oh sh-t, you’re the only person I talk to on WhatsApp!’ So he forgot to check it, kind of a funny story.”

If you use any quotes from this article, please give a h/t to Haus of Wrestling and credit Speaking of Strong Style.