Cody Rhodes' retirement promo was interrupted by Malakai Black on last night's episode of AEW Dynamite, as the Dutchman flattened the former TNT Champion with a crutch as Rhodes attempted to leave his wrestling boots in the ring.
This came following a one-sided main event that saw Black destroy the EVP in Malakai's first AEW match. Attacking Rhodes' leg put Black in control from minute one, with a targeted kick to the injury sending Cody flying from the top rope and through the timekeeper's table later on.
Though Rhodes scrambled back in to beat the countout, he was helpless to avoid Malakai's spinning roundhouse kick. Mockingly, Black pinned Cody with a boot on his chest, putting him away in around five minutes.
Emotional and teary-eyed, Cody's post-match promo saw him put AEW and its audience over huge, referenced talk of in-fighting between himself and the other EVPs (as well as Vince McMahon's assertion that AEW isn't competition to WWE), and choke up. Thanking the audience for making his life so special, he began the process of removing his boots when Black struck.
The announcers speculated on whether or not Malakai had just retired Rhodes as Black stood over the fallen body. Whether or not said retirement will stick in a sport where such things never stick is another matter entirely.