Fans Think Top AEW Star Is Teasing WWE 'Royal Rumble' Appearance
By Jason Hall
January 29, 2022
Cody Rhodes is doing little to downplay rumors about a possible appearance for his former employer amid his reported free agency.
Several tweets indicated that All Elite Wrestling executive and former TNT champion shared and deleted an Instagram story showing what appeared to be an airplane window view of St. Louis, Missouri, the site of Saturday's (January 29) Royal Rumble match, hours ahead of WWE's annual live event.
That added to speculation that Rhodes was in St. Louis for the event as a surprise entrant in the Men's Royal Rumble battle royal match as his in-ring contract with AEW has since expired.
Rhodes confirmed after his last appearance on Wednesday's (January 26) episode of Dynamite that he was "working here without a contract" on "a handshake deal" during a promo shared on AEW's verified social media accounts Wednesday.
Rhodes, the son of late WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes and younger brother of WWE legend and current AEW wrestler/coach Dustin Rhodes, formerly known as 'Goldust,' began his wrestling career in WWE's developmental program in 2006.
The 36-year-old spent nearly 10 full years with the company, having last appeared as 'Stardust,' before requesting his release from WWE on May 21, 2016.
Rhodes and his wife, Brandi, a former ring announcer who had also requested her release from WWE days later, began appearing for numerous independent promotions, as well as IMPACT Wrestling, Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2016, at which point he developed a relationship with 'The Elite' members Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) as a member of the NJPW/ROH faction 'Bullet Club,' while also appearing as a reoccurring character on the Being the Elite webseries.
The group responded to a perceived challenge by veteran wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer to launch their own pay-per-view All In on September 1, 2018, which inspired the launch of All Elite Wrestling.
Cody and Brandi Rhodes, Omega and the Jacksons have all served as executives, as well as in-ring talent, in partnership with co-owner, president and CEO Tony Khan since AEW's launch in 2019.
Rhodes' last AEW appearance came during a loss to then-interim champion Sammy Guevara during a unification ladder match for the TNT championship.
Rhodes had initially defeated Guevara for his third TNT championship reign in December, but was unable to defend the title due to medical protcol earlier this month, with Guevara defeating Dustin Rhodes for the interim championship.