AEW TNT Champion Cody Rhodes is, according to a report from Fightful Select's Sean Ross Sapp, a free agent. "The American Nightmare's" contract apparently expired at the end of 2021 and Sapp noted that he's been working with a deal ever since. Neither Rhodes nor AEW have officially commented on the matter. Rhodes was one of the founding members of AEW alongside The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, all of whom hold the position of executive vice president on top of being onscreen talent.
Rhodes won the TNT Championship for a record third time on the Dec. 22 episode of AEW Rampage, then closed out the year by successfully defending the title one week later against Ethan Page. He was supposed to face Sammy Guevara with the title on the line at Battle of the Belts but was pulled from the show due to COVID-19. He is currently scheduled to be back on this week's AEW Dynamite.
He spoke with Sports Illustrated back in early December, indicating he had no plans to leave AEW. He said at the time, "As of now, my future is with AEW," Rhodes said. "AEW would be very strange without the core members of the revolution. We all still talk. We all have this admiration for each other. I can't see myself anywhere else, and I'm very optimistic about what the future hold." He has repeatedly stated in interviews that he intends to stop wrestling full-time once he turns 40 which is still a few years away (he's currently 36).
Rhodes also recently spoke with ComicBook about the divided reaction he has received from fans over the past year. During his feud with Anthony Ogogo leading up to Double or Nothing, he started drawing 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," he continued. "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."
Rhodes' connections to AEW also extend beyond his front office and in-ring roles. His wife, Brandi, doubles as a wrestler and the company's Chief Branding Officer, his older brother Dustin Rhodes wrestles for the company and various students of his Nightmare Factory wrestling school have appeared on weekly AEW television. Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.