Backstage Updates On Cody Rhodes’ Negotiations With Tony Khan, WWE Return Talks, More

New details are being revealed on what led to the AEW departures of Cody Rhodes and Brandi Rhodes.

As noted, it was announced this morning that Cody and Brandi have left AEW. You can click here for the original statements from Rhodes and AEW President Tony Khan. You can also click here and click here for for the initial reports on Rhodes possibly returning to WWE, along with more on his AEW departure. You can click here for what Dustin Rhodes had to say about the departures, and click here for an update on the WWE return talks.

In an update, PWInsider reports that Cody and AEW President, CEO, General Manager & Head Of Creative Tony Khan hit a snag in contract negotiations a few weeks back, due to differences in pay. That led to the end of their negotiations.

Khan reportedly learned of the departures this morning, according to ESPN’s Mike Coppinger. Rhodes signed his departure paperwork then. This is interesting as it was previously reported that WWE knew Rhodes’ AEW departure was going to be announced this morning.

The negotiations officially fell apart on Monday, according to F4Wonline.com. It was also noted that both Cody and Brandi had been working on AEW projects for the future. It was also said that as of Monday morning, lawyers were involved with working out the split between the two sides. Khan has said in the past that he had contract options on all key talent for 2022. Rhodes did have an option year, and possibly a two-year option, so Khan would’ve made the decision not to exercise the option.

It was reported before how Rhodes was not at the Atlantic City, NJ Dynamite taping last week. Word now is that Cody’s road case, which contains his gear and other belongings for the road, had been cleaned out at that point, which some saw as a sign that he was “as good as gone.” Up until then it was expected that Cody and Brandi would remain with the company as there were plans for them to appear at upcoming Dynamite tapings.

We’ve noted how multiple sources state that Cody has been in talks with WWE about a return deal, and sources within WWE expect a deal to be reached soon. PWInsider adds that WWE has had “contact” with Rhodes dating back to the end of 2021 when his AEW contract expired. There is still no word on Rhodes inking a WWE contract, but he does have a longtime relationship with WWE Talent Relations head John Laurinaitis, which should help.

There is said to be a feeling of excitement among some people who work in WWE about a potential Rhodes return as an in-ring talent, while others have noted that from a strategic standpoint, Rhodes would be the first AEW talent to jump to WWE, and also have an intimate knowledge of how AEW is ran due to his previous position as an Executive Vice President.

One WWE source believed Rhodes could be at the WWE Performance Center as early as this weekend to prepare for a return but as noted, nothing is official as of this writing.

In regards to speculation on Rhodes’ departure changing the way AEW is ran, PWInsider reports that not much will change, if anything at all. There are some who were very down earlier today when the departure was announced as Rhodes was someone who made time for everyone and did take on the role of a mentor behind-the-scenes with several talents, not just his Nightmare Academy associates and students. Cody will reportedly remain on the Nightmare Factory school. Amanda Huber will be taking over AEW’s Community Outreach division. She’s been working the department since AEW hired her last year, but Rhodes has been deeply involved as well.

There is no word yet on how WarnerMedia executives feel about the departure, but it was noted that the Rhodes To The Top reality series will not be moving forward for a second season. There is no word yet on if Rhodes is still contractually obligated to appear on TBS’ Go-Big Show, if it’s picked up for a third season.

As reported earlier today, Rhodes does not have a non-compete clause with AEW, and he is free to begin working for any other promotion immediately. There is still no word on if WWE would also bring Brandi in, but she has made it clear she wants to be a wrestler.

Stay tuned for more.

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