There are some more details on Cody Runnels/Rhodes' WWE departure in the latest Wrestling Observer newsletter. As noted before, the key thing was that Cody wanted to drop the Stardust gimmick so he could revert back to being Cody Rhodes. In fact, this was agreed to several months ago and the plan was for him to become Cody Rhodes after WrestleMania.
It doesn't appear that his wife Brandi gave them much notice because, while we speculated that she looked to be leaving the company, she still worked at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view on Sunday. The thing that tipped us off that she could be on her way out was that she removed the WWE references from her twitter bio. When we noted that there was heat over the comments made about the head writers, the reason for that is that the company feared that his comment about Ward would end up on a TMZ-style news site. Luckily for WWE, that didn't happen.
Cody wanted to be a main event star and he had talked to people over the years so he could get advice on what he needed to do to get to the next level. Unfortunately for him, he had been slotted as an undercard guy for so long that it would have been very difficult for him to be perceived as a top guy even if the company got behind him. The belief is that he was told in February that he would be switching back to Cody Rhodes but Vince McMahon ended up nixing the idea. At the time, he started doing teases on twitter and because the Stardust gimmick was never dropped, it was believed at the time (by fans and myself) that he was just messing around but that was not the case. One person close to the situation said that Runnels had been unhappy as of late and, understandably so, was taking his father's death hard.
Cody doesn't know his status in wrestling right now and, according to WWE contracts, you can leave the company if you ask to be released, but you cannot wrestle or fight in MMA until the contract runs out. In the case of CM Punk, he was able to get out of his contract because he had a strong lawyer. The split between Runnels and WWE was not a smooth one and the company has been making it difficult for him as far as working anywhere at this point. Brandi is trying to leave on good terms but WWE is making it difficult for Cody. It will be interesting to see what happens with the "Cody Rhodes" name since WWE has trademarked it. Also, if he ends up wrestling elsewhere, he could work under his real name Cody Runnels but WWE owns the trademark to "Cody Rhodes." He had not used the name "Cody Rhodes" in wrestling prior to WWE even though the "Rhodes" name had been used by the family since the late 60s.