WWE to stick with The Rock vs Roman Reigns despite massive backlash

As per the sources, this is a 'done deal'

By Web Desk
February 07, 2024
The Rock (L) and Roman Reigns (R) will fight at WrestleMania 40. — WWE

WWE is adamant about keeping The Rock vs. Roman Reigns as the headline match for WrestleMania 40, despite significant backlash involving The Rock, Reigns, and the overlooked Cody Rhodes.

According to PWInsider (via SEScoops), WWE remains committed to the showdown between "The People's Champ" and "The Tribal Chief" at its flagship event, disregarding the strong fan backing for Rhodes. 

Sources indicated that The Rock's participation in the ring at WrestleMania 40 is confirmed, stating, "There is 'no scenario' where Rock is not wrestling Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40, unless something unforeseen happens, like an injury."

Just over a week ago, Rhodes made history by winning his second consecutive Royal Rumble, presumably setting the stage for Rhodes vs. Reigns II, a rematch from the WrestleMania 39 main event. In fact, Rhodes was reportedly assured just last week that he would be facing Reigns at WrestleMania 40.

The Rock allegedly secured a $30 million payday upon joining TKO's board of directors, with one condition being a blockbuster match against Reigns for the Universal title at WrestleMania. This raises questions about why Rhodes won the Royal Rumble in that scenario.

With both CM Punk and Brock Lesnar withdrawn from the WrestleMania 40 card, The Rock reportedly stepped in to face Reigns, believing he could "rescue" the show. However, WrestleMania 40 hardly needed rescuing.

During this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, there was a throwback to 1996. In a promo segment between Rhodes and Seth Rollins, mentions of The Rock triggered "Rocky sucks" chants, evoking a crowd reaction reminiscent of The Rock's rookie year nearly three decades ago. 

Although there were some pro-Rock chants, the crowd overwhelmingly supported Rhodes, WWE's top babyface.

WWE officials were reportedly caught off guard by the negative fan response to The Rock's return. However, Rhodes apparently cautioned WWE officials that his segment with The Rock on last week's SmackDown wouldn't elicit the desired reaction.

Despite knowing the outcome beforehand, Rhodes cooperated with the plan like a true professional. This highlights why he has become the new face of WWE and underscores why the creative team should have—but didn't—interpret The Rock's return as a villainous move.