After taking his big moment in NXT to talk smack on AJ Styles, hint at a future title shot for Trick Williams, and accept an invite to the proverbial cookout – despite the Fourth of July being almost a month away – the “American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes walked through the Performance Center on his way to the infamous NXT parking lot, but not before running into a few friends along the way.

First came Shawn Spears, the man who nailed Rhodes in the head with a steel chair so hard it got him his “Chairman” nickname back in AEW. With Rhodes already in place as the WWE Champion, Spears wants a crack at his brand's top belt via a Battle Royal of his own.

“You won the Royal Rumble, and you got yours, next week in the Battle Royal, I get mine,” Shawn Spears declared.

Before Rhodes could respond, another one of his former AEW frenemies, this time “All Ego,” Ethan Page, cut into the conversation, letting the “American Nightmare” know that he is also gunning for a win in the Battle Royal.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, I'm in this thing next week too, you don't want to wish me good luck, Cody?” Ethan Page asked.

Before Rhodes could respond, again, another another one of his former AEW frenemies butted into the conversation in Lexis King, who wrestled under his given name, Brian Pillman Jr., for Tony Khan's company. After securing the win in his match against Dante Chen, King is looking to get to a title shot of his own, too.

“The ‘King' is going to win the Battle Royal,” Lexis King declared.

Barely unable to get a word in one way or another, Rhodes simply threw his hands up and left his pals with a few words of wisdom before leaving the PC for a trip to Scotland.

“It seems like you guys are in a good place,” Cody Rhodes declared.

Could WWE have done more with this segment? Yes, for one thing, Rhodes and King don't have nearly the history the former has with Page and Spears and left things on less than ideal terms with both men, considering they were heels and he was a babyface at the end of his AEW run. Still, in the end, this was a tip of the cap to the smart fans, AEW crossover audience, and IWC members who tuned into the NXT after Battleground, as some of their favorite performers from AEW 2019-21 now call NXT home, with their midcard spots in AEW now replaced by the former top stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Cody Rhodes hints at a future match against Trick Williams.

Speaking of the reason why Cody Rhodes went to NXT in the first place, the “American Nightmare” cut a passionate promo to the fans in Orlando about his love of the Performance Center, but not before he could talk some smack on AJ Styles ahead of Clast at the Castle for good measure first.

“It's magical here, isn't it? Certainly, it's well-known that there's a magic here in NXT. Perhaps I needed to be here today; perhaps I needed to be here to feel that magic as I head towards Scotland, towards Clash at the Castle towards a WWE Championship defense against AJ Styles,” Cody Rhodes declared. “AJ Styles has been a lot of things, he's been the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, the NWA World Champion, the WWE Champion; he was PWI's Wrestler of the Decade. But for sure, one thing you can add to that list after this Saturday is that AJ Styles is going to look at all of Scotland, he's going to look at our referee, and he's going to look me in the eyes, and he is going to say ‘I Quit!'”

With that out of the way, Trick Williams entered the ring and celebrated Rhodes for joining NXT in Orlando, but before he could let him go, he had a question about of how handle being a champion now that he's gone from being the hunter to the hunted as the promotion's top star.

“How do you go from being the hunter to the hunted, right?” Rhodes asked. “How do you deal with the fact that on the other side of that wall right there, all of our peers are watching you, watching me, and they're not going ‘Oh man, go get 'em, Trick,' no, they are judging you, they are thinking they can wear that better than you, and they are thinking that they can do this better than me. But one thing to keep in mind, champ, is even though we've concurred certain mountains, there's always another mountain that you can climb… but I don't want to get ahead of ourselves here, I actually have been granted the authority, Ava has granted me the authority to let you know who your next challenge is going to be. The next challenger for your championship will be decided on NXT next week in a 25-man, Over-The-Top Battle Royal. And you may know some of them but some of them might be from other locker rooms. Trick Williams, champ, good luck, my friend.

Whoa, a 25-man Battle Royal, you say? Now that sounds like a fun use of NXT's television time indeed. Still, Williams wasn't done, as he had one last question for Rhodes that will certainly fire up another part of the IWC.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on, Cody, there's one more thing I've got to ask you and it's very, very serious,” Williams declared, “with Forth of July right around the corner, on behalf of all of my people, we all want to know: are you coming to the cookout?

“Yes, I am coming to the cookout!” Rhodes declared.

Is NXT having a Fourth of July celebration in a few weeks, even though the day actually falls on a Thursday this year? No, this felt like another example of inside baseball, and frankly, it likely left more fans confused than laughing at the end of it.