WWE Cody Rhodes Discusses Tense AEW Encounter with Matt Cardona and Tony Khan

Unexpected tensions rise during a backstage AEW discussion.

by Noman Rasool
WWE Cody Rhodes Discusses Tense AEW Encounter with Matt Cardona and Tony Khan
© Paste Magazine/YouTube

On "The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast," WWE Champion Cody Rhodes finally fell silent, detailing the awkward encounter that had unraveled right backstage at an AEW taping; it was indie wrestling sensation Matt Cardona and AEW President Tony Khan, from a meeting set up by Rhodes himself in 2020.

At the time, Rhodes envisioned bringing Cardona into AEW and using him as his "best friend" for a television storyline. It wasn't long after Cardona's exit from WWE, who night or day billed him as the "Deathmatch King." He liked the idea and agreed to meet with Rhodes, not realizing how acquainting in an informal setting would add a few wrinkles to things.

Backstage Meeting Blunder

Instead of booking a secluded office or professional boardroom, Rhodes scheduled the meeting right after an AEW show backstage, inadvertently making it a public spectacle before the whole roster.

Rhodes described feeling mortified not just because of the openness in which that meeting was held but because of how things went once Cardona had spoken up. Cardona opened and closed the discussion with a bomb: "Let me stop you right there, Khan.

I want you to know I don't want to be here to be 'Cody's friend.' I wouldn't be caught dead wearing a Nightmare Family jacket." Rhodes was flabbergasted by such a candid declaration and likened his reaction to wanting to "take a back bump on the cement" out of pure disbelief.

Cardona would later tell Rhodes that he had expected the meeting to be private, so the bold statement was a matter of astonishment and discomfort with their conversation being in public. This telling principle not only exposes what goes on behind the scenes in wrestling promotions but also gives fans a taste of the challenges of balancing your relationships with expectations at work in professional wrestling.

This is an incident that acts as a stark reminder of the many layers that often exist within a scripted television storyline, unmasking actual emotions and strategic calculations for all to see.

Cody Rhodes Matt Cardona Tony Khan