10 Most Mind-Blowing Wrestling Secrets Of 2023

Wrestlers controversially switching sides, shoot fights and and the shocking return of a dead brand.

Vince McMahon triple h mask

We're a long way removed from the era of all wrestling being shrouded in secrecy, but there's a good chance you wouldn't be on this site without the thirst for backstage nuggets of news, "rumour and innuendo" and scuttlebutt still being forever unquenchable.

There's a great chance the writers here - your current one included - wouldn't have found places just like this one decades ago without the first wrestling newsletters, such was the interest in everything that went on behind the curtain and/or with the cameras well and truly off. The secrets are less salacious than they once might have been, but the facts behind the fiction remain just as intoxicating.

WWE's business has boomed in 2023, and while AEW's domestic success has sagged compared to transcendent terms between 2019 and 2022, one of the biggest shows in industry history at Wembley Stadium suggests that interest in the industry could be at an all-time high.

The market leader and the challenger brand are in good health heading into 2024, but what went on below the radar in the 12 months leading up to one of the business' biggest-ever years?

10. Cody Rhodes Lets A LITTLE More Out On His AEW Exit

Vince McMahon triple h mask

The Cody Rhodes documentary "American Nightmare" was - like most things Cody Rhodes in WWE - a stunning over-delivery even if expectations had been set quite high.

Though peppered with all the usual bells and whistles one expects from an extended in-house special, a fascinating tale of career highs and lows was made all the more unique thanks to the specific journey Rhodes had been on between the market leader, the indies and All Elite Wrestling.

Rather than being an elephant in the room, Rhodes' exit from AEW was summarised amicably, but for the first time ever he did let slip a little more about one of the most shocking switches in recent history. At the time, he'd tweeted; "I have loved my time at AEW. Amazing locker room. Amazing fans. Amazing people. The 'revolution' was indeed televised, and I've been incredibly lucky to be part of that" and just about left it there.

In the documentary, he added; "I can't tell you why I left AEW, I can't and I won't. But I can tell you the reasons that were said – that didn't actually matter. I didn't leave AEW because of money and I didn't leave AEW because of other talents. I left AEW because of a personal issue. That's it. The byproduct of leaving AEW is the opportunity to go for the biggest dream I ever had and the first dream I had in my life."

Naturally, that resulted in more speculation, which is perhaps why what isn't known about the story remains so intriguing.


Michael is a writer, editor, podcaster and presenter for WhatCulture Wrestling, and has been with the organisation over 7 years. He primarily produces written, audio and video content on WWE and AEW, but also provides knowledge and insights on all aspects of the wrestling industry thanks to a passion for it dating back over 30 years. As one third of "The Dadley Boyz", Michael has contributed to the huge rise in popularity of the WhatCulture Wrestling Podcast, earning it top spot in the UK's wrestling podcast charts with well over 50,000,000 total downloads. He has been featured as a wrestling analyst for the Tampa Bay Times and Sports Guys Talking Wrestling, and has covered milestone events in New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, London and Cardiff. Michael's background in media stretches beyond wrestling coverage, with a degree in Journalism from the University Of Sunderland (2:1) and a series of published articles in sports, music and culture magazines The Crack, A Love Supreme and Pilot. When not offering his voice up for daily wrestling podcasts, he can be found losing it singing far too loud watching his favourite bands play live. Follow him on X/Twitter - @MichaelHamflett