May 22nd 2016, Cody Rhodes confirmed to the world he had left WWE. He asked for his release due to lack of opportunities to move up the ladder. Since his release Cody has performed all over the world, and had success all over. Rhodes has shown all current WWE Superstars that life after WWE, can be even better.
Proved Himself Against The Best
With the disappointment of seeing Cody leave WWE, came excitement and anticipation. Rhodes was now a free agent and could have matches with all the best independent talent from around the world. Soon after leaving WWE, Cody made his debut for Evolve and PWG. During his time there he would have matches against great talents such as Zack Sabre Jr, Chris Hero, and Drew McIntyre.
Coincidentally, around the same time Cody became a free agent, so did now, WWE Hall Of Famer Kurt Angle. Kurt finished his time with TNA/Impact and began making appearances on the independent circuit. Cody and Angle would face each other in a series of matches all over the United States and in the UK, for different promotions. It became the match to go and see. It showcased what many of us knew before, Cody Rhodes is one of the best.
Cody Rhodes wanted to take his brand worldwide. He travelled all over the world and all over the US, Canada, and UK.
American Nightmare, Cody Rhodes, In New Japan Pro Wrestling
For the last few years New Japan Pro Wrestling has grown progressively more popular. More and more stars have been created from New Japan or have left Japan to come to WWE. It is a completely different brand to what WWE offers, this is for pure wrestling fans. When Cody left WWE rumours started instantly about his possible appearance in Japan, and eventually those rumours would be reality.
On December 10, 2016, Cody made his first appearance for New Japan via video package during their show World Tag Finals. The video package was very theatrical, not only did it announce he was coming to New Japan, but also revealed his intentions.
During the video package, Cody Rhodes revealed he was the newest member of The Bullet Club. The Bullet Club are the most popular group in New Japan, worldwide. The group has stars such as The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, all stars who are known worldwide too and make a great living being independent stars. Cody was the latest big name to be part of Bullet Club, with the group having previously had stars such as AJ Styles and Prince Devitt (Finn Balor).
Cody made his debut at Wrestle Kingdom 11, which is New Japans biggest event of the year. The Japanese fans took to him right away and has had success with them since then.
Ring Of Honor
Outside of WWE there is two companies that fans say is must watch, the previously mentioned New Japan and also, Ring Of Honor. They two companies are much alike in the way that they are all about the best wrestling in the world. Cody made his way to Ring Of Honor to show everyone and prove he is one of the best wrestlers in the world.
Upon making his debut Cody had matches with the franchise of ROH Jay Lethal. He made his debut against him and then proceeded to have a phenomenal Texas Bull Rope match, which in the end he would lose. The night did not end on a sour note for him though as he attacked ROH World Champion, Christopher Daniels, to make his intentions known, he wants that title.
On June 23rd, at Best In The World, Cody proved just that, he was the best in the world. Cody defeated Christopher Daniels to become the first ‘Rhodes’ to win a world title in 31 years. Rhodes was overcome with emotion as he shared the ring with his Bullet Club brothers. Since then Cody has told the world he will take the company to new heights, and bet Dave Meltzer 100$ that they will fill a 10,000 attendance show.
Life After WWE
Cody Rhodes has been gone from WWE for over a year now and it may be the best decision he has ever made. Throughout his time as a free agent Cody has grown his brand tremendously. He has performed on many different promotions, many of which in doing so, has put them on the map. He is the current Ring Of Honor World Heavyweight Champion and a vital member of The Bullet Club.
Cody has made a great impact to the independent scene and this will only continue. He has become good friends with The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, and has joined them in their venture with Hot Topic. Cody has released multiple ‘American Nightmare’ T-Shirts since his debut at New Japan and they are now being sold all over the US and Canada in Hot Topic stores.
With the experience Cody Rhodes has had so far, he has set a precedent for current WWE stars. He has shown that leaving WWE is not necessarily a step backwards. Since leaving he has had unprecedented success and not lost out on money coming in either.
Cody Rhodes is one of the biggest names in wrestling, in 2017, and it’s down to the choice he made. Cody’s unhappiness and lack of opportunity in WWE led him to leave, and create his own. Whatever happens with Cody in the future, he’s showcased to all other performers, do not be afraid to take a leap of faith and bet on yourself.