Backstage AEW and WWE Rumors: Latest on Cody Rhodes, Eddie Kingston and More

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2022

Backstage AEW and WWE Rumors: Latest on Cody Rhodes, Eddie Kingston and More

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Cody Rhodes is currently working for AEW without a contract as a wrestler or EVP of the company.

    The TNT champion made reference to his status Wednesday on Dynamite before setting up a ladder match against interim champion Sammy Guevara to determine the one, true titleholder. Might it be one of the final appearances for The American Nightmare with the company he was so integral in building? 

    That stunning report headlines a week of rumor and innuendo that also features the latest on an injury suffered by Eddie Kingston and an internal push within WWE to sign one of the most promising free agents on the market.

What Is Cody Rhodes' Contractual Situation in AEW?

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    Cody Rhodes returned to AEW Dynamite Wednesday, lighting up the microphone with his own version of CM Punk's famed Pipebomb promo, in which The American Nightmare claimed to have created the Forbidden Door in pro wrestling and made reference to his ongoing pursuit of a new contract from AEW officials.

    Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported that Rhodes is currently a free agent and working without a contract as either a wrestler or Executive Vice President in the company he helped found.

    "We've had a lot of inquiries regarding Cody's status as an EVP, or if there's a separate contract in relation to him. We haven't heard back from Cody Rhodes directly, but were told that "he's a free agent, with no contract with AEW at the moment." We haven't been able to confirm this beyond that statement. "

    Sure, with Rhodes having his own, successful reality show with his wife Brandi, this could all be a work on his part to help drive viewers to season two. It could also be a temporary thing in which there is no contract at this point, but Rhodes and Tony Khan are in negotiations to rectify that situation.

    The bigger question is just how a star of that magnitude is allowed to have his contract expire, it gets out that it is, and there is no statement by any of the parties involved that the story is either true or not. If it was strictly a wrestler, it makes sense that they might way to keep things under wraps but the fact that Rhodes is also an EVP and the face of AEW's community outreach efforts makes it a unique situation.

    Dave Meltzer reported on F4WOnline's message board that AEW sources were mum on the topic so "either it’s true and they are all mad it’s out or it’s a work and they don’t want to lie to me," (h/t Cageside Seats). 

    Whatever the case may be, Rhodes' contractless status seems like a much bigger deal than the company is making it. Whether that means the current TNT champion moves on and looks to further establish his legacy in another promotion or sticks around with the one he helped create is the question. 

Eddie Kingston Injury Update

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    Eddie Kingston suffered an orbital fracture at the most recent AEW Dark tapings and will be out "a few weeks," per Mike Johnson of 

    The injury is certainly ill-timed as it comes in the middle of a storyline pitting Santana and Ortiz in the middle of a spat between Kingston and Chris Jericho, making them choose sides and threatening the future of The Inner Circle.

    Even without Mad King's presence on Wednesday's Dynamite, the story continued with a tense confrontation between Santana and Le Champion.

    Hopefully, the extent of Kingston's injuries are as expected and he can return in relatively short order for a program that would likely benefit both him and Jericho following weeks of battling Daniel Garcia and 2.0 in a feud that has been more beneficial to the heels than anyone.

    That Jon Moxley just made his return and has an established tag team with Kingston only makes the latter's return that much more significant.

Internal Push to Sign Independent Standout

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    Following an impressive tryout with the company, and a fantastic match against Deonna Purrazzo on the January 13 episode of Impact Wrestling, there are higher-ups in WWE pushing the company to sign former Ring of Honor women's champion Rok-C, per Sapp of Fightful Select. 

    "Fightful specifically heard that Rok-C performed well at the WWE tryouts, and there was a significant push within the company to get her signed even before that."

    Sapp noted many considered her a "no-brainer" but that Wheeler Yuta was also labeled as such and was not hired.

    Rok-C was trained by WWE Hall of Famer Booker T and gained early recognition for her work as part of his Reality of Wrestling events. In 2021, she became the Ring of Honor women's champion and the youngest competitor to ever hold a title for the company at age 19.

    With ROH currently on hiatus and all talent released from their contracts, she is a free agent able to compete for any company she pleases.