AEW’s Owner, CEO, and General Manager Tony Khan was not surprised to see Cody Rhodes return to WWE at WrestleMania 38. Rhodes and his wife, Brandi, shared ways with AEW earlier this year.
“He wasn’t going to be here and based on the conversations we were having — he never outright told me — but it was obvious that was what was happening,” Khan told ESPN’s Marc Raimondi.
Tony Khan said his feelings about Cody Rhodes have not changed not that Rhodes is officially back in WWE. Khan was reluctant to discuss how he felt seeing one of AEW’s founding Executive Vice-Presidents on WWE programming.
“Not anything I want to comment on,” Khan said. “Like I’ve said, I appreciate the things Cody and his wife, Brandi Rhodes, did in AEW and I saw Cody show up in WWE. Like I said before, he showed up there – it’s all still true: I still like him and wish him the best. I’m appreciative of the stuff he did in AEW. We spent hundreds and hundreds of hours together and know each other very well. I think we parted on very good terms.”
Cody Rhodes is the first major name to leave AEW and then sign with WWE. Since its launch, AEW has been an attractive destination for training WWE talents. Tony Khan views talent moving between the companies as the natural order for the industry.
“It’s not anything unusual to see stars coming from other promotions, including WWE into AEW,” Khan said. “I think it is now a little different to see a star from AEW go onto WWE television. I think as the years go by — we’re a young promotion — it was bound to happen sooner or later. And now it has.”
Fans have speculated about who could be the next big name to move from AEW to WWE. One of AEW’s top stars, MJF, has publicly discussed his own contract status and future plans. Tony Khan says he expects bidding wars in the future over some of the biggest names in AEW.
“We have a lot of great wrestlers here,” Khan explained. “I expect there probably will be, down the road, interest in some of them because we’re putting on such strong shows. I think there’s bound to be free-agent movement on both sides of the competition. I think it’s great for the wrestlers.”
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