One year ago, Cody Rhodes lost a match against Chris Jericho and, as a result, is never allowed to challenge for the AEW World Championship again as per the stipulation of the match. Since then, Cody has held the TNT Championship twice, though many people believe he will eventually change his mind. Cody swears that won't be the case, however, and suggests the Young Bucks made a mistake in making the same stipulation this year in their match for the AEW Tag Team Championships against FTR.
"We're on our second annual Full Gear, and it was Full Gear last year where I had this situation made, and it isn't my fault, and I don't mean to make excuses, and that sounded so terrible, it's definitely MJF's fault for throwing in the towel. But nonetheless, I can never challenge for the world championship again," Cody said on a media conference call Thursday about the AEW Full Gear PPV. "I'm not going to challenge for it under a different name. I'm not going to be the Midnight Rider. We're not doing any of that. I gave you my word."
As to why Cody is so adamant that he sticks to this stipulation, he says it comes from his personal experience as the son of Dusty Rhodes, a man who held booking power over his own matches. "I do not want fans to think nepotism is involved," the AEW EVP said. "I do not want fans to try and put an asterisk on my career because I'm in any sort of management. I gave you my word as fans. I gave you my word is people who cover the industry. I will never challenge for the world championship. With that said, that was specific circumstances to me because I had grown up, and I had seen how the wrestling smarties — look, not the best way to put it — I had seen how they came after my dad. And it wasn't until the last two years of his life, and certainly, in death, people realized Dusty was the most over guy on the show. That's why he was wrestling Ric Flair. Other than Ric, at times. That's what it was. They sold tickets. And that personal experience and that genuine angst, that apology for something that never truly happened, as a son, carrying that forward is difficult. And it's really hard to wrap your head around, but that's where the stipulation came from. I wanted to do my best. To avoid that in my life. I wanted to do my best, whether it was true or not.
But without that same context, Cody thinks the Young Bucks making a similar stipulation for the AEW Tag Team Championships is a bad idea. "So with that in mind, I don't fully understand the Bucks wanting to do that in terms of, I wouldn't have recommended it," Cody said. "Matt and Nick Jackson, on one of the best things in the world if not the best tag team in the world. And Nick Jackson's an outstanding singles wrestler in his own, which more and more people have discovered, and no doubt Matt is as well. I think doing this is a bad idea. And I told them that in the conversation we had. I think doing this is a bad idea. Look at me. I can never challenge to the world championship again."
AEW Full Gear takes place on PPV at 8 PM Eastern time.