News broke on Monday that Cody Rhodes, current TNT Champion and one of AEW's executive vice presidents, was working without a contract with All Elite and was technically a free agent. Both Rhodes and AEW were quiet on the matter when the news first broke, but "The American Nightmare" popped up on Tuesday with a message for his texting community "Bet on yourself, always." Rhodes is scheduled to appear on AEW Dynamite this week for the first time since missing his Battle of the Belts title defense due to COVID-19. In his absence, Sammy Guevera won the interim TNT Championship and defended the title against Daniel Garcia last week.
It's worth noting that, while fans have started guessing Rhodes will make some sort of surprise appearance at WWE's Royal Rumble at the end of the month, Dave Meltzer reported on Monday that Rhodes isn't going anywhere. He explained on Wrestling Observer Radio, "The Cody Rhodes rumors, I'm sure that at this point given that nobody has been denying them that they actually want it out like this. There's nothing of substance to the story in the sense that he's got a reality show (Rhodes to the Top), he's got a game show (Go-Big Show) [and] he was just in touch with me the other day about the ratings of his game show. He was very happy with those ratings and he's Executive Vice President. He may not have signed his contract because he hasn't been there. He was supposed to go January 5th to Newark and he actually went to Newark but he had to fly home because that's when there was a family health issue and he had to go home. He has not been to an AEW show yet this year. His first one will be Wednesday so that's the basic situation there."
Rhodes spoke with ComicBook several weeks ago to promote the second season of Go-Big Show and discussed the mixed reactions he's been receiving from fans over the past year (as well as the comparisons to Homelander from The Boys).
"I never want to ruin it for anybody," Rhodes said. "I never judge our fans or hold them accountable. They pay their money. They can do whatever they'd like. That's the beauty of being a fan, but I can tell you Sandra Gray, who's been making my gear since Dashing Cody Rhodes, has no idea about Homelander. And now, that jacket is forever synonymous with it, but it is a really unique parallel. I know people have a lot of fun with fan art when it's concerned. With what's happening with me and the reactions, I don't want to ruin it for anybody, but I feel like the luckiest wrestler alive that we're able to cause this polarity, that we're able to have every show be clickbaited and discussed.
"And just the thing I am most excited about is, as with all things AEW, we're not going a path that perhaps you saw on another wrestling show. We are going to be going in a different direction and that makes for great wrestling because it's new, because it's fresh. But yeah, with everything that's going on with the crowds for me right now, I really have to pinch myself, in terms of (being) very lucky," he added.