Cody Rhodes On What He Told Vince McMahon During Their Meeting

WWE superstar Cody Rhodes joined BT Sport’s Ariel Helwani to talk about his return to the company at WrestleMania 38 to challenge Seth Rollins. It was reported directly after his departure from AEW that The American Nightmare had met with Vince McMahon to strike a deal with the company. Cody spoke with Ariel about his meeting with Vince and the WWE and revealed the one request he did make about returning to the company.

“There wasn’t any true guarantees, there was a request,” Rhodes said. “I said I never want to ever see Stardust ever again and I never want to see, hear it or talk about it and it was a handshake and that was all I needed. Then the first thing I did in the match last night was a random Stardust reference, I thought what’re you doing? You’re going back on your own strange request, other than that it was complex to get this all together and maybe one of wrestling’s biggest contracts, which I’m so flattered about. I have a child so yeah.

“But it was more a matter of, I don’t not trust people right, it’s not that I don’t trust this person’s word or this person’s words, but at this point in my career, I do trust myself, fully, implicitly I trust myself. So I know what I can do and given the platform to do it, I’m able to move on, I’m able to get over, I’m able to get what I want and that was presented to me on a silver platter last night. Nothing changed, nothing, Kingdom played, wrestling is more than one royal family and this is a world where wrestling term isn’t said that often. So to hear that was a big give from them and to be me. There’s nothing silly about the entertainment industry to me because this is my life’s work, sports entertainment, pro wrestling. I think I’m the best there is and how I define it as a wrestler, because there’s all these terms, to me what a pro wrestler is is your ability to capture people’s imagination from week to week.

“Are they talking about it, good, bad or ugly? That’s what I’ve been able to bring to the table everywhere I’ve gone and to be able to carry it without saying a word for 40 something days and them understand when I walked out felt like yup, I am the best. But, Roman and Brock are wrestling for the best, what matters the most and a title that was never on a Rhodes. Not saying anymore than that but my intentions are probably clear as to what I like and it’s another thing if it’s unattained but I don’t want it to go unsaid.”

Ariel Helwani also interviewed MJF recently, where the AEW superstar spoke about his upcoming free agency in 2026 where he’ll ponder between WWE and AEW. As the first big name to leave AEW for WWE, Cody Rhodes spoke about what other talent he sees following in his footsteps and making the same jump. The former TNT Champion spoke about the advice he would give other talent looking to make the same move he did and talked about how easy WWE made it for him to jump ship.

“I know there’s so many things printed about me and such but I would only give somebody honest advice,” Rhodes said. “That might be right for somebody and this was right for me. I think I know who those people will be [who come to WWE from AEW] because there’s certain people who fit that superstar mode. I think I know who those types might be and when they ask I’m just going to give them the best advice I possibly can. I can say that the schedule here, at least the schedule I was on the first time, is not for the non-committed. You can’t be one foot in, it is a full time commitment. You are not getting paid 1 day a week to work, it’s not knocking anybody who is. That might be the biggest shock and change. The structure here is a positive, there’s a wonderful structure, it’s a little less punk rock. Punk rock is great but then you want to play something else and that’s really what I experienced.

“When they start coming and talking, I’m sure people will make the transition, I’m sure you can probably guess some of the people that will come over and undoubtedly, not unlike Daniel Bryan and Adam Cole, people will make that move [to AEW]. It is a healthy thing, it doesn’t seem healthy when you watch the show because all you’re doing is talking trash about each other which I really hope that nobody here does because it’s lazy and you’re discrediting what got me. You’re discrediting me so you’re incorrect in a sense that it doesn’t matter. I’ll always give the best advice because this schedule is not for everyone, WWE and Nick Khan specifically made it so easy. There’s a bus, your family, your wife, your daughter. Just a red carpet and I know with that red carpet comes it’s time to get to work but I’m curious you know, how I’ll do it but I’ll never do it in terms of leveraging. I can only give honest advice because everyone’s path is different.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit BT Sport with Ariel Helwani with ah/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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