Following his departure from WWE, Cody Rhodes began wrestling on the independent circuit, also making several appearances in Total Nonstop Action (TNA). In the time frame spanning from early 2016 to early 2017, he competed at WWE's WrestleMania, Ring of Honor (ROH)'s Final Battle and the New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) Wrestle Kingdom events as well as appearing for TNA at Bound for Glory.
In September 2017, Rhodes wrestled in ROH, where he became a one-time ROH World Champion, one-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion (due to ROH's partnership with the National Wrestling Alliance), one-time IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion and a one-time ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champion (with The Young Bucks)—at one point holding the NWA World, IWGP U.S., and ROH Six-Man titles simultaneously.
In a recent interview with IGN, Rhodes talked about his AEW World title match against Chris Jericho: “This is one of the positive uses of ‘card subject to change.’ I’m coming off a win over Dustin, one of the best of all time, and coming off a win over Shawn Spears, who’s an absolute stud.
Those were two huge wins. So me going for the title makes all the sense in the world. But it may not end up being me versus Chris Jericho. Because Chris Jericho still has a title defense before that in Philadelphia. And it may not be me if I take a loss to Sammy Guevara on the premiere episode.
I think Chris Jericho is probably going to get through his first title defense, but if he doesn’t we’re going to stick to our word about win/loss records being a deciding factor. It’s really about the data and who has the best record”.