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2022 WRESTLERS LEAVING COMPANIES THREAD (Releases, FAs, etc...)


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You know, he thinks he can act. It wouldn’t shock me if he does a big thing with Cardona & Aldis for the NWA Title, then goes and makes a movie or something while doing big time Indy shots with GCW and shit like that. Why would he believe anything Vince or Nicky Budgets tells him about the spot he’s coming in to?

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3 hours ago, just drew said:

I’ve read a couple semi-trustworthy sources saying that this might’ve gotten contentious after Brandi’s borderline disastrous return. One of her segments lost some 300k viewers and TK (allegedly) told folks that it couldn’t continue that way.

 

Take it fwiw. I’ll see if I can find the source again.

I was wondering that earlier, if this isn't a really abrupt and harsh change of plans on Cody's behalf. Cody leaving now assumes that the reality show they're filming/filmed gets instantly canned, right? Cause why air it when you've got no cross-show synergy and instead are promoting a guy who's now working for a rival company? A company in WWE who have taken actions attempting to damage Warner Media's relationships w/ their advertisers after the Domino's & Rampage Bloodbath incidents?

But Chicago was harsh. Years of resentment towards bad Brandi segments being unleashed all at once. The most go-home heat I've heard on anybody in AEW history, and there's no reason to believe that Cody & Brandi aren't extremely self-conscious people. And the ratings tank on top of it. A conversation is had, an already jaded Cody gets hot, Tony doesn't feel like matching WWE's money, Cody... ruins a reality show, trashes his outreach project before it gets started, and possibly strands a bunch of the Nightmare Factory talent being featured on TV?  There's that. Or there's the conversation I've been trying to have all over the internet for the last year+ that nobody will entertain - Vince will overpay a major AEW star just to tarnish the company's image + morale, and to freak out TK into overpaying the talent he already has when they re-up. Since WWE's never had a thinner roster or more money to spend, maybe Cody was just offered an ungodly amount of money. I figured this was gonna happen to somebody at some point.  But either way, Cody jumping ship would make him look like a total asshole if just for abandoning his shows w/ Warner Media. That's a lot of production costs down the toilet. I'm surprised he can even contractually do this, if he does.

 

EDIT: Wrote this assuming RttT had been filming for awhile. Don't know where I got that from.

Edited by John E. Dynamite
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Cody's a former NWA Champ. Maybe he'll pad out his resume with a short Impact title run? 😅

i'm pretty amused that nobody has even floated the idea of him cameoing in TNA.

Edited by twiztor
forgot the world "title". or should that be "championship opportunity"?
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16 minutes ago, HumanChessgame said:

I have to wonder what kind of negotiations and contract stipulations he's putting in the works for his potential WWE contract. What sort of money is he able to command, and does he have some sort of provision about what kind of push or title run he's guaranteed?

Just for the record this isn't a thing. WWE doesn't guarantee anyone any type of title run in writing. Neither does AEW either. The closest Vince gets is saying "I could see Cody Rhoads as the WWE Champion one day." That doesn't guarantee it. Just that he could see it happening if things go right. This isn't how contracts work. Even WCW didn't guarantee anyone a title run in a contract. Just doesn't happen. Contracts like that are just a fan creation.


As for the rest of the story, I'm not sure I get all the Brandi hate. I enjoyed her promos and shit talking. She was average at worst in the ring. Fine on the mic too. Just seems like sometimes popular opinion gets rolling and it just becomes a thing. Popular opinion is that Brandi is cringe and Cody's out of touch and all this. I feel like he & Tony both realize there's no immediate way to the popular opinion to turn so it's best for them to take a bit apart. Go sign a 3 year WWE deal and see where things are in 3 years. Does he become a top of the card champion in WWE? Does him making himself bigger there help AEW if he comes back 3 years down the line?

I think he'll go to WWE and be treated about how AJ is. He will get a main title run. He'll be protected and treated well. But he'll be the other show champ and never treated like a Reigns or Lesnar. So in the long run what's better for AEW? Let him go. Let the narrative change for him. Then see if you guys want a big shot in the arm home coming for him back to AEW in 2025. But I will admit this is a bit weird feeling. Because promotion wise he was positioned as the AEW flag bearer. Basically the Sting of WCW or Taker of WWE. And instead he's the first one out.

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5 minutes ago, Fartsauce said:

What will they name Cody? 

 

Jackson Daley? 

 

 

 

 

Virgil Wilkes. 

@NoFistsJustFlips: I heard about the Brandi "black bitch" thing and I don't even watch AEW. If that is representative of who she is on the mic, she needs to be off-screen forever. 

Edited by SirSmellingtonofCascadia
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this is wild. wasnt it only like 3 weeks ago he was rah rah rahing on TV about AEW and being the guy who blazed the trail

 

sounds like one of those cases where the backstage stuff is far more dramatic than what was going on screen 

 

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18 minutes ago, NoFistsJustFlips said:

Just for the record this isn't a thing. WWE doesn't guarantee anyone any type of title run in writing. Neither does AEW either. The closest Vince gets is saying "I could see Cody Rhoads as the WWE Champion one day." That doesn't guarantee it. Just that he could see it happening if things go right. This isn't how contracts work. Even WCW didn't guarantee anyone a title run in a contract. Just doesn't happen. Contracts like that are just a fan creation.

I don't know if ship-jumpers always get preferential treatment in the WWE, but they sure have been treated well. Vince Jr. started his empire by noticing a guy who jumped from WWF to AWA/Japan, got mainstream attention, and wasn't happy with his new company. No hard feelings, here's Hulkamania. WCW wrestlers who saw cast-offs like Austin and Foley, or unhappy talent like Jericho, rise to the top of the card very quickly realized it might be a greener pasture. Savage saw how WCW treated Hogan when he jumped. Hall and Nash saw the same thing. Bret. Ric Flair was the antithesis of the WWF for over a decade and still got hot-shotted the belt. Half of AEW's World Champions have been noteworthy ship-jumpers. Cody himself in AEW is part of this precedence.  It's a good habit to push talented people, but if those pushes can make talent believe you're a better place to work then where they're at, it's an even better habit to push your hot new recruit. Seems like it's always worked that way.

tldr; it would be very good business for the WWE to push Cody if he signs.

Edited by John E. Dynamite
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I’ll miss the Code Man. I didn’t like everything he did in AEW, but when it worked it REALLY worked. And even when it failed, it could fail in ways that were far more interesting than other people could succeed.  AEW will miss having him in their toolbox.

Edited by EVA
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56 minutes ago, John E. Dynamite said:

I was wondering that earlier, if this isn't a really abrupt and harsh change of plans on Cody's behalf. Cody leaving now assumes that the reality show they're filming/filmed gets instantly canned, right? Cause why air it when you've got no cross-show synergy and instead are promoting a guy who's now working for a rival company? A company in WWE who have taken actions attempting to damage Warner Media's relationships w/ their advertisers after the Domino's & Rampage Bloodbath incidents?

But Chicago was harsh. Years of resentment towards bad Brandi segments being unleashed all at once. The most go-home heat I've heard on anybody in AEW history, and there's no reason to believe that Cody & Brandi aren't extremely self-conscious people. And the ratings tank on top of it. A conversation is had, an already jaded Cody gets hot, Tony doesn't feel like matching WWE's money, Cody... ruins a reality show, trashes his outreach project before it gets started, and possibly strands a bunch of the Nightmare Factory talent being featured on TV?  There's that. Or there's the conversation I've been trying to have all over the internet for the last year+ that nobody will entertain - Vince will overpay a major AEW star just to tarnish the company's image + morale, and to freak out TK into overpaying the talent he already has when they re-up. Since WWE's never had a thinner roster or more money to spend, maybe Cody was just offered an ungodly amount of money. I figured this was gonna happen to somebody at some point.  But either way, Cody jumping ship would make him look like a total asshole if just for abandoning his shows w/ Warner Media. That's a lot of production costs down the toilet. I'm surprised he can even contractually do this, if he does.

According to SRS, losing Cody might be a net positive for a large segment of the locker room in terms of morale. You want to demoralize AEW? Sign away Britt or Jungle Boy. I’m not sure a self-obsessed weirdo like Cody leaving is gonna make too many people sad…

 

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From Meltzer

https://www.f4wonline.com/news/aew/dave-meltzer-cody-and-brandi-rhodes-leaving-aew

Spoilers due to length and Dave speak

Spoiler

Cody and Brandi Rhodes, who were part of the original AEW crew along with The Young Bucks and Tony Khan, have left the promotion after failing to come to terms on a new contract.

Both had signed three-year deals that expired on December 31, 2021. Over the last six weeks, there had been negotiations for a new deal with both continuing to work in community relations and on television as if they were staying. 

Cody, who was TNT Champion, missed a title defense due to a COVID-19 issue with the family, but returned to lose the title to interim champion Sammy Guevara in a unification ladder match, one of his two best singles matches he had during his AEW run, the other being a classic 2019 match against his brother Dustin. Brandi had just shot an angle with MMA fighter Paige VanZant.

Behind the scenes, both had major positions. Cody was an executive vice president, headed community relations, and was also partners with QT Marshall on the Nightmare Factory training school where he will remain part of.

Dustin, who is staying and has said he's very happy in AEW, was also training wrestlers. Cody also has been part of two television shows: Rhodes to the Top -- a TNT reality show about the couple which ended up with the timing of Brandi giving birth to their first child and Go-Big Show, a wacky and dangerous competition show on TBS where he is one of the judges and was the pitchman in the television commercials. 

The latter is in its second season while a second season for Rhodes to the Top was agreed upon some months back. No formal announcement was made and the belief has been with the situation as it is that it will not be back.

Until the negotiations fell apart on Monday, most of the top people in AEW were not aware anything was up and figured both Cody and Brandi were staying. Several were surprised and didn’t know anything until the day of, but one person did tell us that he never thought it would happen when Rhodes’ contract expired. That person did actually know this was coming for a few weeks and categorized it as unhappiness, even though everyone said that the EVPs were getting along the best they have in a long time. They were working last week on projects for the future. One person close to the situation used the term “heartbroken,” but didn’t know the machinations of the split. 

Both have kept quiet on the talks and haven’t spoken to anyone that we are aware of regarding the split or what led to it. Until the split, Cody had acknowledged working without a contract but gave the impression he expected a new deal. Brandi, who was the company’s chief brand officer, had just closed a partnership deal a week earlier with the American Heart Association. Cody had worked strongly with Amanda Huber in the community relations division.

As far as the story behind the story, there is a ton of speculation right now. What we do know is that as of Monday morning, lawyers were involved working out the split. With no contract, both could go to WWE immediately. In WWE, there was locker room talk that Cody was possibly coming in. Whether Brandi would come in and wrestle wasn’t known, but it was clear that she wanted to be a wrestler and made it clear that after giving birth, she wanted to return.

Khan had said in the past that he had options on all the key talent for 2022. Rhodes did have an option year, and possibly a two-year one, so it would have been Khan’s call not to exercise it.

While we don’t know if the Rhodes’ deals are different, the big key original deals with the Young Bucks and Chris Jericho were all for three years, meaning they would end this year, plus an option period. The Bucks and Jericho’s options were picked up and they are still with the company. Kenny Omega’s first deal was for four years. Jericho was the highest money deal in the company until CM Punk came in at what was believed to have been the same level of money.

If Cody and Brandi are leaving, the only logical place they could go is WWE, but could this be a carefully crafted Brian Pillman-esque work? It always could be because this is pro wrestling. While there had been times Cody had butted heads with others, those discussions, differences of opinions, and arguments are always part of numerous people having different ideas of what pro wrestling is. 

At the end of the day, Khan made all the choices, approving all angles and choosing who wins and loses. But there was never a period where the EVPs weren’t talking. Although Omega and the Bucks were close personally and the relationship between the Bucks and Cody was more business, they always talked and, again, were said to be on their best terms of late.

Cody absolutely had great input, but his character was struggling. He had been getting booed at every show by a percentage of the audience, probably starting with his feud with Anthony Ogogo. Some believed he was running the company and blamed him for making the call not to put younger talent over when he beat Ogogo. It was not his call and it was the only call that could have been made at the time with Ogogo needing eye surgery. However, nobody was privy to that information.

Cody tried to make it a United States vs. United Kingdom program, which would also get Ogogo over as a UK star since he has some name value there for being an Olympic medal winning boxer. Cody channeled his father in a controversial promo that some loved but others criticized. It was the type of promo that his father thrived upon that Cody was doing, right down to saying for this match he would be "The American Dream," but it wasn't as great with a very different type of audience. 

When Cody beat Ogogo in the match, stories came out that he was not putting younger talent over. The irony is that was actually one of his strengths as all the EVPs probably put people over too much in the early days because they wanted the perception of what Cody’s father had. MJF, Darby Allin, Brodie Lee, Malakai Black, and recently Guevara were all elevated by beating Cody. He made it clear from an early stipulation that that he would never challenge for the AEW World Championship after a loss to Chris Jericho in 2019, one he vowed not to break. The TNT title became his domain with three title runs.

But no matter what he did, Cody couldn’t shake the booing at live events. Some believed it was because fans thought he went Hollywood doing two other shows. He would do promos talking about how he helped build the company and would not go heel. But it was one of those things where, even when put across the ring from Dan Lambert who did the anti-AEW Jim Cornette gimmick, a percentage of the crowd would boo Cody. Those live always said it wasn’t the majority, but boos travel better than cheers so the perception was worse and it became the thing to do. The same thing happened to Brandi, although her last interview was weird because she insulted the local fans on purpose by getting the town wrong, but then had a verbal battle with Lambert, one of the biggest heels in the company.

From a perception standpoint, this would be the first major AEW star to leave for WWE if it happens. The question is whether Brandi would be brought in as a performer. Obviously it hadn’t looked good for WWE for the perception that all the talent moves were one way. In that sense, this would be a major move for WWE. Still, Cody would always be pushed as a top star in AEW and WWE never saw him as that when he was there before and he left to prove he could be a top star. Signing a big money deal would at least guarantee him being used better than his first run. But he did have far more creative freedom with both his promos and his matches in AEW than he would in WWE.

 

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3 minutes ago, just drew said:

According to SRS, losing Cody might be a net positive for a large segment of the locker room in terms of morale. You want to demoralize AEW? Sign away Britt or Jungle Boy. I’m not sure a self-obsessed weirdo like Cody leaving is gonna make too many people sad…

 

You know how the wwe recruits who never even watched wrestling think about the biz and how the fed is the only game in town? I can see some of the wide eyed aew rookies who feel like they came to this magical perfect place suddenly feeling really weird and uncertain now that papa Cody is gone. But it will only be temporary. 

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kinda fun how the thing a company would do in a work is the same as what the company would do if the talent gave them the heads up that he'll be on RAW or EC within the week

Cody doing what he'd need to do to not Lex Luger/Jeff Jarrett AEW is also what he would do if this was a round-about way of taking a break and coming back later.

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Guest Jimbo_Tsuruta

Cody Rhodes v Shane McMahon v Paul Levesque will headline an Impact PPV one day and you can send me to the wall with a cig and blindfold if I'm wrong. 

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2 minutes ago, Jimbo_Tsuruta said:

Cody Rhodes v Shane McMahon v Paul Levesque will headline an Impact PPV one day and you can send me to the wall with a cig and blindfold if I'm wrong. 

You're just looking to get a free cigarette out of this, aren't you?

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15 minutes ago, matt925 said:

You know how the wwe recruits who never even watched wrestling think about the biz and how the fed is the only game in town? I can see some of the wide eyed aew rookies who feel like they came to this magical perfect place suddenly feeling really weird and uncertain now that papa Cody is gone. But it will only be temporary. 

Yeah. Like I said earlier. Tony should offer extensions to the folks Cody brought in or helped train asap. Wardlow, Preston Vance, Anna Jay, Ricky Starks, Red Velvet, Jade Cargill. Wwe is gonna start pillaging. Or trying to. I don’t think there’s any danger of these kids all ignoring Mox, Punk, FTR and others saying “don’t fucking work there, it sucks,” and Wardlow and Cargill have been vocal about how much they disliked their PC tryout experience, but it still would behoove TK to continue to lock up his future stars.

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LWhen AEW started up ,specifically when Dynamite started I think most people were very interested in the creative flow of the company. You've got 4 or 5 VPs and probably a few different schools of thought. Honestly it has seemed like Tony Khan has really appeared more of the definitive head of the company in the past 6 months which is great but like alot of you said being an EVP isn't something you just wake up and say" F*** it " and leave. So I don't know what to believe right now. I wouldn't be mad if it was all a work either because I'm here for the ride if that's the case. 

On the wrestling side,  I am happy that a guy like Cody took a chance and left WWE on his own terms. He's a wrestler that came up from that system and worked and really was a prototypical WWE developmental talent and he needed to get out of that system to grow as a performer.

I never would have expected he'd be an executive of WWEs competition so he's definitely exceeded my experience and he got a chance be what his Dad was.

It would be interesting to see him in WWE because he kinda got redundant with the taking shots at HHH on the shows randomly and given WWEs new corporate structure that probably won't get him buried in WWE. 

I'm here for the ride either way. No body wants to be worked anymore and we want to know everything but If your cleaver enough to work us or even half of us than props to you man so I'm with it either way 

 

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