Tony Khan could have legally prevented Cody Rhodes from leaving AEW

As previously reported, Cody Rhodes’ AEW departure was officially announced on Tuesday morning after months of speculation about his future.

In the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer noted that some of those close the situation believe WWE made Cody an offer that was so big he couldn’t turn it down. According to Meltzer, there was recently talk within WWE that AEW has a budget issue and “were not going to match the WWE’s high offers unless or until they got a new and higher paying television deal, and that won’t be until the start of 2024.”

Meltzer also mentioned that AEW President Tony Khan had the ability to roll over (extend) Cody’s contract and could have legally prevented him from leaving the company. Cody reportedly had a three-year deal with a two-year option and Meltzer wrote the following…

“One top player said that Khan saw that Cody wasn’t happy and even with the option period, Khan was agreeable to allow him to go if he didn’t want to stay.”

While several people in AEW have publicly defended Brandi Rhodes, Meltzer stated that “a lot of the talent were quietly celebrating” the news that both Cody and Brandi had left the company.