The former AEW TNT Champion, who's currently signed with the WWE, might be ready to compete once again sooner than expected.
Rhodes has been sidelined with a torn pectoral muscle since June, after suffering said injury in the lead-up to June's WWE Hell in a Cell 2022 Premium Live Event. Although most aren't expecting him to be back anytime soon, Rhodes is teasing that his return won't take nearly as long as expected.
The WWE reported in June that Rhodes' recovery will take at least nine months, which hints at a March come back. However, Rhodes shared an Instagram story showing his ring gear inside a travel case and tagged WWE's streaming distribution partner, Peacock.
In addition, Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter (hat tip Subhojeet Mukherjee of Ringside News) is claiming that Rhodes' recovery is "a little ahead of schedule." Rhodes has reportedly also tapped WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page to help him prepare.
Meltzer reaffirmed that WWE has "no firm date" for Rhodes' return and will keep it under wraps until the last minute.
Rhodes put up one of the most daring WWE performances after fighting through his injury and defeating Seth Rollins in a Hell in a Cell match in June. Rhodes had his injury fixed right after. If we believe that the timeline has moved up, the WWE might bring Rhodes back as a surprise entrant to the Royal Rumble in late January. This could set Rhodes up as the one to defeat Roman Reigns, as many have theorized, at WrestleMania 39 in April.
Having said that, the "ideal" story isn't the only one that WWE could follow. Triple H could bring Rhodes back in time for WWE Raw's 30th anniversary on January 23. But, if Rhodes is not ready by then, Rhodes could compete at next year's Elimination Chamber by February. The WWE could also book Rhodes on the 26th for the Survivor Series WarGames. After all, Rhodes' father, Dusty Rhodes, was the one who came up with the concept in the first place.
After seeing how successful Cody Rhodes was whenever they booked him before his injury, the WWE can always bring him back whenever they feel best.