2022 was filled with many great moments, but one stands out to Daily DDT writers the most. At WrestleMania 38, Cody Rhodes made his triumphant return to WWE after six years away as the “surprise” opponent for Seth Rollins. It wasn’t much of a surprise as Rhodes had been rumored to return at “The Show of Shows” for weeks.
Rhodes’ WWE return took 64% of the vote while Bray Wyatt’s return garnered 17%. Eddie Kingston attempting to set Chris Jericho on fire during AEW’s Anarchy in the Arena brought in 11% of the vote.
In what could’ve been the news story of 2022, Rhodes unexpectedly left AEW after he couldn’t come to terms on a new deal. Rhodes helped found the promotion and along with wrestling for them, he was also an Executive Vice President. While in AEW, he was the TNT Champion three times. On his way out, Rhodes had a 2022 Match of the Year candidate with Sammy Guevara for said championship at Beach Break in an incredible ladder match.
There was immediate speculation that Rhodes would return to the company where it all started. When he left AEW, it was in the midst of the Road to WrestleMania. It was perfect timing for “The American Nightmare” to make his return.
On Night One of WrestleMania 38, with “The Visionary” in the ring and the lights down, Rhodes’s voice would say, “wrestling has more than one royal family” and the fans came unglued. Rhodes brought his AEW entrance with him. It was the worst-kept secret in wrestling, but it was still an incredible moment.
Rhodes would hit consecutive Cross Rhodes on his opponent. While appearing to go for a third, he instead came at Rollins with several punches and a Bionic Elbow. This, of course, was an homage to his father, the late, great Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes picked up the victory in what would be a trilogy of matches with Rollins.
Unfortunately, Rhodes would tear his pectoral muscle before Hell in a Cell but would face Rollins anyway. He would get the win before taking time off to have surgery and to heal. He is scheduled to make his return at Royal Rumble in a few weeks where he will resume his quest of winning the WWE Championship.