Following his departure from AEW in February, it was reported Rhodes was in talks with WWE about a return. The decision was made to save his return for this show and WWE kept the same presentation that fans were used to seeing with Rhodes in AEW.
Rhodes stated that there couldn’t have been anyone else but Rollins as his first opponent back due to their history and Rollins being a top star.
“There’s nobody else it could’ve been. Seth walked into the ring in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in his first live event loop ever coming off of Florida Championship Wrestling and it was against me. Dayton, Ohio, the Nutter Center, his first dark match on television and it was against me. The Shield vs. The Rhodes, which I blocked those matches out of my head and then realized, ‘Man, these were special and something,’ and it was him then. It just needed it to be Seth Rollins.
And I am not insulting Seth Rollins, I heard so much about ‘Dusty’s kids’ at NXT to the point where [phew], ‘What about his real kids? What about his actual kids?’ And again slow learner, maybe it took me a little while but to be able to walk out there and earn his respect as he earned mine once, and this is a different man now. This guy has been to the top of the mountain. It couldn’t have been anyone else now that I think about it. It had to be him.”