Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe and All Elite Wrestling.
Cody Reportedly WWE-Bound, Set for Big Push
After AEW and Cody Rhodes mutually announced Tuesday that they were parting ways, multiple reports emerged that Rhodes was in discussions with WWE.
While nothing is official, PWTorch’s Wade Keller (h/t WrestlingInc’s Sai Mohan) reported that Rhodes is indeed going to sign with WWE, where he will receive a “big push.”
Keller noted that sources told him WWE Chairman Vince McMahon “loves” the idea of signing someone who co-founded AEW and served as an executive vice president. The expectation is Rhodes will appear on WWE programming soon.
While Rhodes never held the AEW World Championship, he was a key cog behind the scenes and was also presented as one of the company’s top stars, holding the TNT Championship three times.
Cody held the TNT title as recently as the Jan. 26 edition of Dynamite, which is when he dropped it to Sammy Guevara in a ladder match.
Keller reported that he expects Rhodes to either compete in a match at WrestleMania 38 in April or make his first appearance for the company on that show.
He also said he could see Rhodes appearing on WWE programming as soon as next week in order to build up to a WrestleMania match.
Rhodes began his wrestling career in WWE, signing a developmental deal in 2006 and remaining with the promotion until his requested release was granted in 2016.
While he never ascended to a main event level during his first WWE run, Rhodes experienced plenty of success, holding the Intercontinental Championship twice and tag team titles six times.
There have been several WWE-to-AEW defections already, including Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole, but Rhodes would be the first major star to go from AEW to WWE.
Because of that, it would make sense for WWE to position Cody in a big spot if and when he makes the leap.
WWE Reportedly Planning Another “Austin-Level” Surprise for WrestleMania
Rumors and speculation are already running rampant that WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin will return to the ring at WrestleMania 38, but that may not be the only surprise WWE has up its sleeve.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Michael Perry of Ringside News), the current plan is for Austin to compete at WrestleMania, likely in a match against Kevin Owens on the heels of Owens running down the state of Texas on Monday night’s episode of Raw.
Meltzer added that WWE has another surprise in store for WrestleMania as well, and noted that it is at an “Austin level.”
He then proceeded to list The Rock, The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and John Cena as talents that could be considered “Austin level” if they were to appear at WrestleMania.
While Hogan and Flair would likely be unable to wrestle a match at WrestleMania or any time in the future, the others could.
The Rock hasn’t had a match with an actual build since WrestleMania 29 nearly a decade ago, but with Roman Reigns doing the best work of his career, there is some belief The Rock could face his cousin at some point.
Cena is no longer a full-time wrestler due to his commitments in Hollywood, much like The Rock, but he returned for a program with Reigns over the summer.
The Undertaker retired after WrestleMania 36 nearly two years ago and has not had a match since then, but he left the door open to at least listen to McMahon if he were to pitch him a match.
Meltzer noted that both The Rock and Cena are busy with filming, but if it is just a one-off appearance for WrestleMania, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that one of them could show up.
Perhaps the biggest thing WWE could do would be for The Rock to appear after the main event match between Reigns and Brock Lesnar in order to set the stage for The Rock vs. Reigns at WrestleMania 39 in Inglewood, California.
Jericho Reportedly Under Contract with AEW Until 2024
While Rhodes may be making the leap from AEW to WWE, that reportedly won’t be the case for Chris Jericho any time soon.
According to Meltzer (h/t Perry), Jericho signed a two-year contract extension with AEW in January 2020, and his contract is not set to expire until January 2024.
Jericho was the inaugural AEW world champion, and he played a huge role in establishing the credibility of the promotion when it was in its infancy.
While Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks were stars in New Japan Pro-Wrestling and other companies, Jericho was a top guy in WWE, holding the world title on six occasions.
Other wrestlers who enjoyed success in WWE have gone to AEW since then, including Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson and CM Punk, but Jericho was the one who started the trend.
While the 51-year-old veteran hasn’t been near the top of the card in recent months, he is still an integral part of the AEW roster. In addition to his own matches and promo work, he has made it known that he enjoys sharing his knowledge with the rest of the roster.
Jericho would likely be a name of interest for WWE when his contract expires since he has a long history with the company and with McMahon.
At 53 years old, Jericho may not have been of interest to WWE as a full-time performer, but WWE would likely have been open to signing him to a legends contract and putting him in the Hall of Fame.
Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: profanity).
The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.
The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.


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