AJ Styles Wants Cody Rhodes in the 2022 WWE Royal Rumble

AJ Styles wants a piece of Cody Rhodes at the Royal Rumble this Saturday night. News broke earlier this month that Rhodes is operating in AEW without a contract despite being both one of its top stars and an executive vice president. After dropping the TNT Championship to Sammy Guevara in a wild Ladder Match on this week's AEW Dynamite, he admitted as much by saying, "There's so many elephants in the room. This is an insane week in wrestling. People think that the Sean Ross [Sapp] story is bs — it's not. I am working here without a contract. I'm not even on payroll anymore. I'm working here on a handshake deal. That is 100% legitimate, I swear on Pharaoh's life [his dog] if you want to know how serious things got."

"But I can tell you this," he added. "I have never felt more at home, then under those lights, wrestling for the TNT title. A title that will never, ever, ever be secondary because of matches like that. Old school promoters will tell you, the title could make the man or the man can make the title. At this moment we don't know which is which. I'm very proud of Sammy Guevara. I absolutely wish I could go home to my baby girl, to my other — my family, and say, 'Hey, the TNT champ once again.' A belt that was synonymous with my name, doesn't look like it's gonna be just about me. Brodie [Lee}, Miro, Darby [Allin], Sammy, myself. I'm slow when it comes to rematches, but maybe I won't be so slow getting my rematch for this one. But for now, gonna take a beat, get with Arn — Arn's been there for my whole career. I'mma think about it. Again, an insane week, where I have heard the most wonderful, crazy things from all walks of the wrestling world on what it is that I do next. But like I said, I've never felt more at home than wrestling for that title in front of a crowd like that."

There's been some speculation from fans that one thing Rhodes could enter the Royal Rumble as a free agent. AJ Styles spoke with Wrestling Inc. Daily on Friday and, when asked about Rhodes, said he didn't buy the idea that "The American Nightmare" couldn't show up.

"Cody, I am going to call you out man, I don't know about that one. Because, you're able to do independents while working for AEW, right? So what's the difference?" Styles said. When asked if he'd like to see Rhodes in the Rumble, Styles said "Of course! Who wouldn't?"

Rhodes and Styles were both prominent members of the Bullet Club faction in Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, albeit never at the same time. The only time the pair were ever in the same match was the 2016 Royal Rumble when Styles made his WWE debut while Rhodes was still operating under the Stardust gimmick.