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Cody Rhodes leaving AEW, has no non-compete which could mean WWE return

The wrestling prodigy is leaving the company he helped launch and there’s already speculation that he could be returning to the WWE in time for Wrestlemania.

Cody Rhodes is introduced during AEW Dynamite on January 26, 2022, at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, OH. Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cody Rhodes’ time with All Elite Wrestling has come to an end.

After weeks of speculation, the news was confirmed on Tuesday morning that Rhodes will be leaving the upstart wrestling organization. ESPN boxing insider Mike Coppinger first reported that the AEW superstar/executive vice president had informed CEO Tony Khan that he would be leaving. He also reported that the second-generation talent didn’t have a non-compete clause in his contract, opening the door for a return to the WWE in time for Wrestlemania.

Both Rhodes and AEW released statements just after the news was reported.

The son of wrestling icon Dusty Rhodes, Cody spent a decade in the WWE before leaving the company in 2016 to pursue his own wrestling interests independent of the sports entertainment juggernaut. After a few years on the independent circuit, he was instrumental in helping launch AEW in 2019. Serving as both an executive and wrestler, he became a staple on AEW programming and won the TNT Championship three times.

Word started to spread in January that his contract with AEW had expired and that he was working on a handshake agreement with Khan. Did led to initial speculation that he’d be leaving the company outright in the near future and some even tabbed him as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble last month. Rhodes made his last appearance for the company when he dropped the TNT title to Sammy Guevara in a ladder match on Dynamite a few weeks back.