ESPN has been hosting a voting tournament over the past few weeks to determine what the four nominations for the WWE Moment of the Year will be at the 2022 ESPY Awards. Those four have now been selected by fans — The Undertaker's WWE Hall of Fame induction, Cody Rhodes returning at WrestleMania 38, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin nailing Vince McMahon, Austin Theory and Pat McAfee with Stunners at WrestleMania 38 and Big E cashing in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE Championship.
The WWE-centric award was first introduced to the ESPYS in 2019 with Becky Lynch's WrestleMania 35 victory and the Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks WrestleMania 37 match taking home the first two awards. There's now a 50% chance that a moment from this year's WrestleMania will bring home the gold.
Of the four, Rhodes' return wound up being the biggest surprise. At the start of 2022 Rhodes was still an Executive Vice President for AEW and its reigning TNT Champion, but he then announced in mid-February that he was leaving the promotion. His return was immediately followed by a match with Seth Rollins and the pair continued to feud up through Rhodes suffering a torn pectoral. He still managed to wrestle with the injury and complete the 3-0 sweep against Rollins at Hell in a Cell in June.
"The American Nightmare" has explained numerous times why he chose to leave the promotion he helped create, saying that he felt it was the right time and that there was a matter he and AEW President Tony Khan simply couldn't agree on.
"I chose to remain silent about my departure from AEW and I'm going to keep my word on that," Rhodes told Variety. "There's no shoot interview. There's no nefarious tale that's going to be told. There were all these different theories and none of them are correct. I mean, there were things about money and creative control. They were printed as fact and it's been a very difficult two months to see that, when the reality is it was just time. It was a personal matter and we couldn't move past it. I have nothing but respect for Matt [Jackson], Nick [Jackson] and Kenny [Omega]. I'm rooting for Tony Khan. His name is going to be in the history books as someone who helped to bankroll and support this entire alternative and revolution that AEW became but for me, it was just time to move on. I get an opportunity at my dream, I get another chance at it. And you really can't leave any stone unturned with that."
Which moment gets your vote? Tell us down in the comments and stay tuned for the 2022 ESPY Awards on July 20 on ABC.0comments