By now, even those outside the wrestling world are generally aware of the WWE drama circling Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Cody Rhodes. On Friday, Rhodes inexplicably gave away his chance at a rematch with Undisputed Champion Roman Reigns, handing it to The Rock in a move fans are still questioning days after the fact. Now, new details have emerged that only make these events all the more baffling, especially in regards to a recent booking decision made by WWE.
The ongoing situation has sparked a fairly massive backlash from wrestling fans, and the latest from Wrestling Observer Radio makes it seem like more disruptive and boo-heavy audiences could continue having an impact at upcoming WWE events going forward. It's possible this plotting goes back further than Seth Rollins' injuries and CM Punk's dinged-up arm, and The Rock may have been primed for headliner status against Roman Reigns for a while.
The Plan For The Rock To Face Roman Reigns Was Allegedly In Place Before The Royal Rumble
According to a Feb. 5 report from Wrestling Observer Radio (via Reddit), the deal was in place for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to main event at WrestleMania as a perk of sorts for joining the TKO Board of Directors. The deal was said to be put in place on January 3, but was allegedly kept so secret that most within the organization fully believed WrestleMania 40 plans for Roman vs. Cody were going forward until a week ago.
The Reported News Makes Cody Rhodes Winning The Royal Rumble Even Stranger
The fact that those in WWE were aware that The Rock would be headlining WrestleMania 40 makes the decision to book Cody Rhodes as the winner of the 2024 Royal Rumble even stranger. Had The Rock returned at the Royal Rumble and won, wrestling fans wouldn't be as furious at Dwayne Johnson as they are now.
Unfortunately, the fact that Johnson allegedly locked himself in for the main event of WrestleMania behind the scenes, but didn't participate in the Royal Rumble, makes a longtime fan like me uneasy. While this may not be the case, that scenario implies that Johnson wanted the spectacle of competing on wrestling's grandest stage while not making the full effort to re-climb that ladder. That's not the kind of Superstar I'd like to see hold the title, especially not with the stipulation that he got that main event over Cody Rhodes.
And as fans continue to boo Dwayne Johnson and his daughter in NXT Ava Raine, the WWE seems to have options to save this situation. The most obvious would be to find a way to switch gears and get Cody Rhodes in the main event of WrestleMania against Roman Reigns. Whether or not this will happen remains to be seen, as there's no shortage of people who believe that the wrestling organization might be locked into this situation regardless of what the fans want.
Monday Night Raw airs on USA Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET, and SmackDown is on Fridays simultaneously. Even non-wrestling fans might want to tune in as we get closer to WrestleMania 40 because there's no doubt the situation could get interesting, given the fan response to The Rock's big return.