Cody Rhodes: What I was doing at the end in AEW was ‘too meta’

Cody Rhodes believes what he was doing at the end of his AEW run may have been "a bit too meta." 

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Rhodes received a mixed reaction from AEW audiences leading up to his departure from the company in early 2022. He told Sam Roberts recently that he loved the polarized crowds but some of what he was attempting to do at the time didn't work. 

Rhodes said:

At AEW, I think trying to do what I was doing there at the end was just a bit too meta.

'Hey, the thing we want is for you to turn heel,' so for me to do that, to turn heel, is by saying verbally out loud I'm not going to do it, which is being a heel. 

It didn't work in a sense and it did because I had a really fun match with Ethan Page where the crowd was just going nuts and I loved the polarized crowds, the split crowds. 

I loved the polarized, split crowds because obviously, I'm part of the Cena-era of our industry, so I loved it. But it might have just been over the heads of people.

Rhodes spoke on a variety of topics during the 40-minute interview. He also promoted the upcoming documentary "WWE American Nightmare: Becoming Cody Rhodes" which will begin streaming on Peacock Monday, July 31.

Rhodes also offered a theory as to why WWE fans responded so positively to him upon his return last year.

I think it's because they knew what you were seeing was real. There's always that gray matter and that suspension of disbelief but I think they knew, 'Oh, his return is more than just an individual returning. This is somebody who's been away for, I think, six or seven years at the time. This is somebody whose song is almost a rallying cry against WWE almost, and here it is playing out loud.'

A lot of what you'll see in the [documentary] is you can be the most talented, you cannot be talented at all these things but betting on yourself, I think maybe, maybe that's what they saw. 'Yeah, he was this guy and helped create a promotion and yes, they did this, and yes, they smashed the throne and all this but he also bet on himself and look where it led us. It us to a beautiful segment at a beautiful show.'

WWE announced on Friday that Rhodes will "respond to Brock Lesnar" on tonight's Raw. The show takes place from the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.