Dustin Rhodes isn’t prominently featured on AEW television these days, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have some strong opinions on the product. As a veteran with a wealth of professional wrestling experience to draw from, The Natural has done and seen just about everything there is to do and see in the business. He was never a prominent champion in WWE (or AEW, for that matter), but his experience as someone who has worked all over the card makes his insight more valuable to mid-carders who may be unhappy with their spots in AEW.
Numerous talents are rumored to be unhappy with how they’ve been treated recently by All Elite Wrestling. Jonathan Gresham, Thunder Rosa, Miro, Andrade El Idolo and MJF are among the performers who have taken various roads to voice their displeasure in recent months. There are also various backstage reports floating around that contact between Tony Khan and the wrestlers sometimes leaves a bit to be desired. This led to creating several new positions within the company to try and smooth out the lines of communication.
When asked about the possibility of former WWE guys heading back now that Triple H is in charge of creative, Rhodes had a lengthy and insightful answer. From his session at Terrificon 2022 (video via Fandom Spotlite): “I mean you got the few that just left there [WWE] that are under five-year deals, right? So we got ‘em for a while. They’re not just gonna’ up and leave, you can’t do that. That’s what a contract is about. As far as anybody else that doesn’t have that deal, hey man, go for it, whatever.” Rhodes then spoke about how both companies doing well is great for fans and wrestlers before landing this right hook. “You got so many places you can go now. But two places that really, really stand out are ours and theirs. You have to want one of those two and whatever you do, just make the best of it. If your contract’s up, and you’ve had enough with AEW, go, get the f*** out.” (thanks and a h/t to POST Wrestling for the transcription)
There are indeed two sides to this coin. Rhodes’ comments fall in line with what Chris Jericho said about MJF’s ongoing contract situation, for instance. And “you signed the contract, see it through” is an understandable stance. It’s worth keeping in mind that Jericho’s perspective comes through the lenses of one of the highest paid stars in AEW, however.
If fans consider Friedman’s point of view, it can’t feel good to be a legit needle mover for the company, only to see ex-WWE guys such as Christian Cage and Mark Henry join AEW and make more money. There’s no right or wrong here. Just an intriguing and insightful perspective from a member of one of wrestling’s royal families.