Cody or The Rock: What Do We Do About WrestleMania 40?

It’s the same old story, the same old song and dance.

There are people on the WWE Roster that work hard all year and then a bigger star from yesteryear pops up and takes the main event or an important spot at WrestleMania. It’s tough to figure out what is right. At the moment, there’s a lot of focus on the fact that The Rock Vs Roman Reigns may be the main event at the 40th Anniversary of the biggest show in professional wrestling and sports entertainment history. On the other side of the coin, you have Cody Rhodes who is vying for an opportunity to once again main event the show of shows, and finally see himself culminate his journey in becoming the WWE Undisputed Universal Champion – avenging what his legendary father ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes couldn’t do. What do we go with? What is the choice that needs to be made? Do we worry about the future, or do we hang our hat on the past and give Roman Reigns another feather in the cap?

Cody being at his own Crossroads

Cody’s story of coming back to WWE, feuding with Seth Rollins and ending that feud with a decisive win was a beautiful journey. Especially considering that WWE Hell in a Cell match where he wrestled Rollins with a torn pectoral muscle. When he did that, he not only exposed how gruesome this business can be and the sacrifices that need to be made to succeed at this job, but he gained an infinite amount of respect from fans and colleagues alike.

He was then on the shelf for months on end, before being announced for the WWE Royal Rumble Match in 2023. As we know, Cody managed to win that and was set for his big showdown at WrestleMania 39 against Roman Reigns, the longest reigning champion in recent memory, having held that belt for 3 WrestleMania’s straight. So many fans were clamoring for a Cody win, and for the illustrious title reign to end – but if they did that then, they would have shot themselves in the foot. Cody had only been back about 70 odd days, and that’s how we tell the story and culminate the journey? No. You just can’t do that.

What fans don’t realize when they work themselves into a shoot is that they take it so personally and think the WWE are only doing certain things because they like to mess with people. They have been known to do that over the years so they aren’t 100% innocent in all of this, but I could tell there was a bigger master plan at play when Cody Rhodes failed to defeat Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39. It wasn’t time, and oh boy, did everybody lose their proverbial shiznit over it.

It’s about the Journey

The journey is what matters most. To hotshot it over the space of less than 3 months would have been detrimental to the story they had in front of them. When you prolong a story, you make it more meaningful when it reaches its conclusion. In some cases, yeah, you can prolong a story too long to where the heat has worn off and it doesn’t mean as much as it would if you strike while the iron’s hot.

Cody needed to see failure in this attempt because the next time he gets to that ultimate destination, he will win, and he will have tears in his eyes, because he struggled as well as the fans who struggled with him, which is how you make a Babyface in 2023. He took a detour with Brock Lesnar, which ended up with Cody beating the Beast Incarnate clean, which also lead to Brock doing something he has never done, anointing an opponent that has defeated him by raising his arm and showing that this guy IS the next guy.

Cody Main Eventing WrestleMania 40 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has all the makings of a real meaningful moment and again, culmination of somebody’s journey in life being the most meaningful of all. But then you have to insert the People’s Champ, The Rock…

The Rock and the Hard Place

The Rock is the biggest star in the history of pro wrestling. Dwayne Johnson’s acting career has led him to a place that is unparalleled for anybody that became a big star in the wrestling business and then went into cinema. Nobody has been able to get close. From the likes of Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, John Cena, nobody has been anywhere close to the box office attraction that Dwayne Johnson has been since leaving WWE.

The times The Rock has come back, whether it be WrestleMania 19 where he worked with Steve Austin one last time before putting Goldberg over at Backlash, or coming back for WrestleMania 20 to team with Mick Foley against Evolution, WWE Survivor Series 2011 teaming with John Cena against Awesome Truth, the two back to back headlines of WrestleMania 28 and 29 with John Cena along with the two 20 plus minute CM Punk matches he had leading into 29, and of course the 6 second match with Erick Rowan at WrestleMania 32, and his moment with Ronda Rousey beating up Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at 31 – these were all huge, viral moments that kept The Rock fresh in the fans minds. Yes, they tried to get Rock back for a match with Brock and a match with Triple H at future WrestleMania’s that fell by the wayside, but that’s what happens when somebody is so box office and IN DEMAND that he couldn’t get himself ready for such a thing in time. Plus, Insurance on an Action Film Star is something to be concerned about. This might be the final chance to get The Rock to wrestle before he ultimately says he’s 100% done with the wrestling business, against the biggest star in the WWE, his cousin, Roman Reigns, where the Bloodline storyline and the ‘Head of the Table’ angle is BEGGING for The Rock’s inclusion, he’s one of the highest paid actors on the planet. How in the hell do you not have The Rock headline the biggest WrestleMania of all time when you have the chance to?

Simplifying the Choice

What do we do when we have two incredibly important stories you want to tell, and have to choose between the two of them? It’s simple. It’s really, really simple. You do them both at the same time. On different shows. This may inundate Roman on a big level, but with Cody on RAW and The Rock recently returning to WWE Television on Smackdown, his show – you have the chance to tell two amazing stories at the same time. Guess what? WrestleMania is 2 nights now. This opens up the creative envelope.

My proposal would be to tell these 2 stories every week on Television, and at WrestleMania 40 you end Night 1 with Roman Reigns defeating The Rock. It’s the only way to end The Rock’s journey and finally cement Roman Reigns. On Night 2, Cody defeats Roman Reigns for the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship to end the story and give the rub over the fact Roman beat The Rock the night before. We got emotional moments at WrestleMania 10 with Bret Hart winning back the title over Yokozuna. WrestleMania 20 ended with Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit embracing as they both hit the pinnacle of the business¬†at the same time, WrestleMania 30 you had Daniel Bryan defy the odds and cement his legacy in the wrestling business, WrestleMania 40 needs to end the same. You have two massive main events that draw the cheddar the WWE seeks, and you get that fairytale ending we all pine for.

If it were me, I would have Cody also wrestle on Night 1 like how Bret wrestled Owen and Yokozuna wrestled Lex Luger earlier in the night at WrestleMania 10, but in a Street Fight with the Enforcer of the Bloodline, Solo Sikoa. This only makes it fair that Reigns wrestles before Night 2 on Night 1, so should Cody. This sets the scene one last time before our huge conclusion on Night 2. That’s what I would do, and that’s what I think the WWE should do. This way, we get the best of both worlds and the WWE Universe is back to where it needs to be again with your beloved babyface who has gone to hell and back – and he’s finally ended his journey the way you all hoped he would have last year. That’s what you’re looking for in pro wrestling, that feeling. Every dramatic TV show has heat last for what seems like forever till we get our happy moment, and it’s a formula that works, and that’s why it would work once again when at WrestleMania 40.

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Karlifornia

Karlifornia is a Freelance Journalist for RealProWrestling.Com and TheRockpit.Net and Host on the Insiders Edge Podcast through his YouTube channel, the WZWA Network. He has been a die hard Pro Wrestling fan since 1998, and his favorite time period in wrestling is the Attitude Era/Monday Night Wars.

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