WrestleMania 38 just featured a major surprise. During the first night of the two-night show, Cody Rhodes made a surprise return to face Seth "Freakin" Rollins in a singles match. Rhodes, who spent 10 years in WWE, was competing in All Elite Wrestling for the last three years until his contract expired. He was rumored to be heading to WWE shortly after his AEW exit earlier this year.
The last time Rhodes appeared in WWE was in 2016. During his 10 years in the company, Rhodes won the Intercontinental Championship twice, the WWE Tag Team Championship three times and the World Tag Team Championship three times. He also had various gimmicks in WWE, including Stardust, which is a spinoff of his brother Dustin Rhodes' character, Goldust.
In 2019, Rhodes helped launch AEW, serving as an executive vice president. He became the first AEW TNT Champion and won the title a total of three times. His wife, Brandi Rhodes, also worked in AEW as a competitor and Chief Brand Officer. In February, Cody and Brandi Rhodes announced they are leaving AEW.
"I have loved my time at AEW. Amazing locker room, amazing fans, amazing people," Cody wrote at the time, per Wrestling Inc. "The 'revolution' was indeed televised, and I've been incredibly lucky to be part of that. First, I want to thank Tony Khan. He's taken the baton and run with it, and it was an honor to work for him and to know him on a personal level. He's a beautiful soul. Obviously need to thank my incredible wife and the mother of my baby girl, Brandi, for all of her love and support throughout this journey together and the amazing relationships she fostered with Kulture City and the American Heart Association.
Cody continued: "I also need to thank Nick and Matt Jackson (these two, whether they know it or not, took an undesired and not confident lir cub and gifted me the confidence to become a leader of the pack), Kenneth Omega, Chris Jericho, Chicken…we started the fire. I must thank Tim W/Keith M/Greg W and the amazing production crew who understood and captured the vision with such grace, I can't name everybody. But thank you to Megha, Margaret, Harrington, Jeff Jones, Dana, Tony Schiavone, Bern, Raf, and the hardest worker in the game, QT Marshall, for propping me up and kicking me in the ass when I was running on fumes."