On Saturday, Rhodes tweeted he had formally asked WWE to release him from his current deal.
Rhodes posted a lengthy statement Sunday on Twitter:
He joins a number of midcard Superstars who have recently left WWE. The company released Damien Sandow, Santino Marella and Alex Riley on May 6, and Wade Barrett asked to be let go from his contract this spring too.
Barrett sounded off on Rhodes' departure:
While sudden, the move isn't all that much of a surprise. Rhodes has spent nearly a decade with WWE, so he could be looking to take a break from wrestling altogether.
Still only 30, he might, on the other hand, feel his talents would be better utilized in a different company. His WWE career has seemingly stagnated with little hope for change on the horizon. The South Florida Sun Sentinel's Scott Fishman is among those who thought the company didn't make the most of Rhodes' abilities:
WWE had opportunities to elevate Rhodes into more of a regular main event role in the past but failed to do so. The Rhodes Family vs. The Shield was the company's hottest storyline in the fall of 2013:
And before that, the company missed the mark after Sandow's Money in the Bank briefcase win in July 2013. Rhodes and Sandow could've seamlessly pivoted from a Team Rhodes Scholars breakup into a battle over the World Heavyweight Championship:
Instead, Sandow's attempted cash-in failed miserably against John Cena, thus eliminating any chance of Rhodes' competing for the title.
Not to mention WWE dropped the ball during Rhodes' feud with his brother, Goldust, in the fall of 2014 and winter of 2015:
Rather than have the rivalry culminate at WrestleMania 31, the two wrestled at Fastlane 2015 and then went their separate ways.
Rhodes is a good in-ring technician, and his run as Stardust put to bed the once-valid criticism he lacked charisma. Should he join another North American wrestling company or head overseas to Japan, Rhodes would likely thrive in a way he rarely did in WWE.
And in the event he becomes a major star elsewhere, it wouldn't be a shock to see Rhodes return to WWE a few years down the road, similar to how Luke Gallows recently came back after stints with TNA and New Japan Pro Wrestling.