Cody Rhodes says he is partly to blame for the divide between AEW and WWE fans.
Rhodes appeared on After the Bell with Corey Graves and spoke about having contributed to the tribalism amongst wrestling fans.
“I feel like that fanbase, that divide that exists amongst all the different bubbles I like to call them, if there was any negativity, well I can put some of the blame on my shoulders,” Rhodes said.
“The last shows I had done before making this WWE return, I’m taking little fun potshots and talking smack which is what wrestlers do. I think sometimes the fans attach themselves to those statements and forget that we are in the realm of entertainment. But I added to the tribalism myself, so I can’t necessarily get mad at it when I see it."
"It was unique to see people burning my old AEW shirts which was a trend for a few days there on social. It felt kind of like you were leaving a sports team, like I left this city to go to this city. It didn't break my heart but I do remember I thought it was odd because the place doesn't exist without me. There's other people that needed to be there for it to exist for sure but I am one of the people that that place exists because of. AEW exists partially because of me.”
Earlier in the discussion, Rhodes also spoke about how fatherhood has changed him and how he approaches his career.
"Upon her being born, it became more about less wanting it for me and more about wanting it for the whole unit," he said.
"I thought a million things but one of the things I thought is, 'Gosh, I need to make a lot of money, I need to make a lot of money because I don't want her to ever want anything."
"This is my one child, I'm going to go the completely opposite route of perhaps how my dad did with me. Actually, I'm going to go the route he went with my sister, Teil, she's going to get everything."
"That's what's changed, it's all about, 'I've got to get this for Liberty.'"
Rhodes continued to say that one thing he really enjoyed about transitioning from WWE to the independents in 2016 is the meet and greets he would do at shows.
"You did get the opportunity to do these meet and greets. That’s a big part of independent wrestling, the meet and greet. To me, the match was almost secondary. I wanted to meet every fan. That’s why I started wearing the suit and tie everywhere I went, it became a second nature to me. I wanted to meet them. I never felt like I fully crossed the aisle. I never felt like I really met all these fans over the years.”
"I left as Stardust and part of becoming the American Nightmare and really building this whole brand and the logo and every aspect of it, and the Nightmare Family, and the Nightmare Factory and all this stuff, that was really genuinely connecting with the fanbase."