Cody Rhodes successfully defeated Seth Rollins for the second time on pay-per-view on Sunday, taking down “The Visionary” at WrestleMania Backlash with a roll-up and a handful of tights. Rhodes nailed his second Cross Rhodes of the match and attempted to go for a third, only for Rollins to keep countering out of his moves and attempt to roll him up. Rhodes finally managed to counter one of those roll-ups with one of his own, grabbing Rollins’ tights as the referee counted the pin. “The American Nightmare” flashed two fingers as he walked up the entrance ramp while Rollins was left seething in the ring.
Rhodes has talked extensively in interviews about why he chose to leave AEW and return to WWE over the past month, consistently reiterating that he felt it was the right time. He told Variety, “I chose to remain silent about my departure from AEW and I’m going to keep my word on that. There’s no shoot interview. There’s no nefarious tale that’s going to be told. There were all these different theories and none of them are correct. I mean, there were things about money and creative control. They were printed as fact and it’s been a very difficult two months to see that, when the reality is it was just time. It was a personal matter and we couldn’t move past it. I have nothing but respect for Matt [Jackson], Nick [Jackson] and Kenny [Omega]. I’m rooting for Tony Khan. His name is going to be in the history books as someone who helped to bankroll and support this entire alternative and revolution that AEW became but for me, it was just time to move on. I get an opportunity at my dream, I get another chance at it. And you really can’t leave any stone unturned with that.”
Since the night after WrestleMania 38, Rhodes has made it clear that his only goal in the WWE now is to win the WWE Championship. If he does, there’s a good chance he’ll revive the title’s classic “Winged Eagle” design that defined much of the 80s and 90s in the WWF.
“If the ultimate dream was to be achieved, I did do that once with the Intercontinental Title and it took a lot of work, but it was the right call once we got there,” Rhodes said on After The Bell recently. “I think there is a particular design of the WWE Championship, that people are very fond of, I don’t even want to say it, it’s two words [Winged Eagle]. Hypothetically, it would be something, it really would be something to do that, achieve the ultimate industry dream and be the best of the best, ever and then perhaps give it a fresh coat of paint with the Winged Eagle, the redundantly named title, that would be something.”