WWE Hall of Famer Bully Ray has claimed that AEW fans have only themselves to blame for Cody Rhodes leaving the company.
Cody Rhodes was one of the most important parts of the puzzle that saw AEW formed in 2019. Fans grew to adore The American Nightmare during his time in ROH and NJPW despite him being a supposed villain for most of that time. That led to a huge emotional outpouring when Rhodes captured the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship at the original All In show in 2018.
But things don’t stay the same forever and as 2021 wore on, fan reaction to Rhodes in AEW started to turn. The reactions mirrored those that followed John Cena throughout his WWE career as fans were desperate to see something different from their former hero. Cody Rhodes stayed firm in his belief that he did not want to turn heel.
In February 2022, Cody Rhodes stunned the wrestling world when he announced his AEW exit before returning to WWE as Seth Rollins’ surprise opponent at WrestleMania 38. Since his return to WWE, Rhodes has been greeted as a beloved hero everywhere he goes and remains the favourite to dethrone Roman Reigns for his WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania 40.
Speaking on Busted Open, Bully Ray – who is currently under a WWE Legends contract – ranted about AEW fans and why he believes they are to blame for Rhodes leaving that company:
“AEW fans have nobody to blame but themselves, for the Cody situation. It’s as if AEW fans welcomed Cody with open arms & then pushed him away. Those fans pushed that man out of that company, not saying it’s the number 1 reason [why Cody left] but those fans started booing that guy out of the building — The guy was the savior then all of a sudden he was public enemy number 1.”
Why Did Cody Rhodes Leave AEW?
Cody Rhodes has admitted a personal issue led to his AEW departure but has so far publicly declined to reveal exactly what that was.
A stipulation in his AEW Title match against Chris Jericho in November 2019 meant Cody Rhodes could never again challenge for the AEW World Championship somewhat limiting the creative options for a main event star.
The last of Rhodes’ 72 matches in AEW came on the 26th of January 2022 edition of Dynamite when he lost to Sammy Guevara in a unification match for the TNT Championship.