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Should Roman Reigns Face The Rock Or Cody Rhodes At WWE WrestleMania 40?

January 12, 2024 | Posted by Blake Lovell
The Rock WWE Raw, Roman Reigns, Samantha Irvin Image Credit: WWE

It’s been a while since I’ve written a column.

All that’s happened since then in WWE is Vince McMahon “retiring,” Triple H being put in charge of WWE creative, the company merging with the UFC to form TKO, CM Punk returning after being fired by AEW, The Rock returning for a match with Roman Reigns and, most importantly, Dominik Mysterio returning from prison as a changed man.

You know, just business as usual in pro wrestling.

But let’s talk about The Rock one. He’s back, which means we’re finally getting the long-anticipated match with Roman Reigns to crown the rightful Head of the Table.

The question, when and where should that match happen? And how does it affect Cody Rhodes?

Let’s discuss three potential options.

Option 1: The Rock vs. Roman Reigns At WrestleMania 40, Cody Rhodes vs. ????

Image Credit: WWE

There’s one scenario that must be addressed.

I’ve seen it on social media and talked about on other different platforms.

Roman Reigns is not losing the title at the Royal Rumble. Yes, they booked a four-way match. And yes, there’s an argument to be made that they did it so someone in particular wouldn’t have to be pinned.

That someone isn’t Roman Reigns.

The popular pick in this hypothetical scenario is Orton winning the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. That leads to Cody finishing the story against his former mentor and Legacy pal, while The Rock faces Reigns in a non-title match which, I agree, is a match that doesn’t need a title.

It’s a fine thought, but does it make sense for this particular scenario?

There’s money to be made in a Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton story. No doubt about it. But having Cody finish the story by defeating someone other than Reigns – who the story has been about for almost a year now – two months into that someone’s title reign?

That’s not how you finish the story. Not Cody’s story, at least.

WWE has not teased Cody vs. Orton a single time to this point. I have no doubt they’ll get there in the summer if Cody becomes champion. But surely there’s no way Reigns’ historic reign is ending via him not getting pinned in a four-way match at the Rumble.

There’s another possibility here: Could the ending to Cody’s story be delayed another 365 pages until WrestleMania 41?

Many said it was a big risk to have Cody lose at WrestleMania 39 and that WWE would struggle to get fans invested in a rematch. I questioned whether they could create that same type of moment, that same type of atmosphere again.

They’ve proven they can. Cody is an even bigger star now, and his fans are even more invested in his quest. But the risk only increases the longer you wait. The Rock is a megastar, but the potential backlash from hardcore fans – who are buying tickets to an event like WrestleMania – is real. Wrestling fans expressing their displeasure during a WrestleMania main event? Yeah, that would never happen.

Asking fans to wait another year, for the second straight year, seems like a huge gamble. To play contrarian, yet another setback could make fans even more invested in Cody’s eventual triumph.

So, Cody being hung out to dry with a WrestleMania opponent that makes no sense for the story they’ve been telling for over a year may be off the board.

If it is, that leads us to a few other options…

Option 2 – The Rock vs. Roman Reigns at Elimination Chamber, Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40

Image Credit: WWE

I was recently listening to a podcast (I wish I could remember which one) that brought up an interesting point.

Imagine Triple H finally getting The Rock vs. Roman Reigns, and his first order of business is to make this pitch:

“Dwayne, we’re excited to have you back. It’s going to be you against Roman in a once in a lifetime match…..at Elimination Chamber…and your Hollywood friends can watch it at 3 a.m. on the award-winning WWE Network or Peacock.”

On paper, that would seem like a bold move that risks The Rock laughing in your face and saying “thanks but no thanks” before shutting down the match altogether.

Because this is The Rock we’re talking about here, right? The biggest box office attraction in wrestling history. The biggest star in Hollywood. No matter how many years it’s been since he wrestled, he’s not used to playing second fiddle to anyone.

He’s not the setup guy. He’s the guy.

However, there’s another factor that doesn’t make this idea seem as silly, and it’s something The Rock is no stranger to:


We know the Australian government has paid a huge site fee to bring this event to Perth. There were also a report that the government’s tourism board inquired about a potential appearance from The Rock prior to his return on the Day 1 edition of WWE Raw.

For all we know, an astronomical amount of cash has led all parties agreeing on this option as the best one.

History tells us doing a match of this magnified at Elimination Chamber would be laughable. But this is the new WWE, where getting paid to put premium live events in cities around the world is the top priority. And if governments in those cities want a wrestler and are willing to pony up the cash to get them, anything is possible.

International expansion is a clear priority for Nick Khan and company, and this would be another way to make every single PLE a must-see attraction moving forward.

Also, doing The Rock vs. Roman Reigns at Elimination Chamber, and Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40 could be ideal from a timing perspective. No, not timing as it pertains to when the event airs, as Elimination Chamber will air live at around 6 a.m. eastern on February 24 (a potential logistical issue if WWE wants to maximize buzz on Rock’s return match).

It’s more about how the timeline of doing those matches on those respective shows works because neither match steps on the other’s toes, and everyone gets what they want. Rock puts over Reigns, Reigns gets a career-defining win, and Cody gets his career-defining win to finish the story.

Is there another scenario where you can achieve the same thing?


Option 3 – The Rock vs. Roman Reigns on WrestleMania 40 Night 1, Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns on WrestleMania 40 Night 2

Image Credit: WWE

Maybe the initial question is misleading. Maybe it’s not a matter of whether The Rock or Cody Rhodes should face Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40.

What if, instead, the question is whether The Rock and Cody Rhodes should face Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40?

In this scenario, you could do The Rock vs. Roman Reigns as your Night 1 main event. No matter which option proves to be true, there’s something we know for sure:

Roman Reigns is beating The Rock.

I’d even go as far as to say that there’s an argument to be made that Roman Reigns should defeat The Rock in convincing fashion. I don’t mean in 10 seconds or anything like that, but it’s more about this:

Why should The Rock, who hasn’t wrestled a match in over a decade, be competitive with the most dominant champion of the modern era? Sure, Steve Austin had a competitive match with Kevin Owens, but that was a different.

This is Rocky Balboa vs. Clubber Lang fight one.

Perhaps The Rock hits an early Rock Bottom and delivers The People’s Elbow to play the hits, and Reigns kicks out before turning his aggression up to a level we’ve never seen before. He unleashes all his anger and frustration on The Rock to prove that he’s the true Head of the Table.

A dominant win adds suspense and raises the stakes for part two of the equation:

Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns on Night 2.

Cody couldn’t finish the story a year ago against a dominant Roman Reigns. He’s going to do it against this version of Reigns? The one that just did that to The Rock?

No way. It’s impossible.

You want everything stacked against your hero. Just when he thinks it’s his moment, he sees another side of the villain. A scarier side. A side that makes him question everything he thought he knew to this point. He wasn’t prepared for this version of his nemesis. Unfortunately, there’s no way out. This is the final battle. He must slay the beast or die trying.

That’s one way to tell the story. There are others as well. It could be more interference from The Bloodline to help Reigns on Night 1, which leads to Rock holding off The Bloodline to allow Cody a clean win on Night 2. The most important thing is that puts Cody’s back against the wall entering the biggest match of his career.

There are arguments to be made against this option.

Does Reigns having to wrestle back-to-back nights lessen the impact of Cody’s win?

That sort of stacks the deck against the heel, which could be the opposite of you want. Then again, there’s a way to do it where Reigns accepts both matches to define his legacy as the greatest WWE superstar in history. That’s also where a dominant victory over The Rock leaves him fresh entering the second match.

You’d also be building up two matches at once, which presents another potential challenge.

And then there’s the idea that it prevents CM Punk from main eventing WrestleMania yet again, with the Punk vs. Seth Rollins match being the favorite to main event WrestleMania Night 1 prior to The Rock’s return.

Still, this is the winning scenario if you want both matches on the biggest stage.

Which Option Should WWE Choose?

There are more options than just these three.

That’s the good news for WWE.

It’s hard to envision a scenario where you can go wrong here. It’s an embarrassment of riches with the two of the most anticipated matches in years at your fingertips.

On one hand, it makes way too much sense not to do Roman Reigns and The Rock at WrestleMania 40. You don’t need The Rock vs. Roman Reigns to sell WrestleMania, but it feels wrong to sell The Rock vs. Roman Reigns anywhere but WrestleMania. It’s simply the biggest match WWE can do, so if the only way to do Rock vs. Reigns is option one, you have to do it.

On the other hand, Cody finishing the story against Reigns this year after everything you built up over the past year may be the best move.

Which would I choose?

I’d be most intrigued by option three, think option one is better than it seems, and yet can’t rule out option two without knowing the financial incentives for both The Rock and WWE.

Which option would you choose?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! You can follow me on Twitter @wrestleblake for more wrestling thoughts.