The Rock urged to change WrestleMania storyline following fans' backlash: report

The People's Champ was earlier scheduled to take on Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40

By Web Desk
February 17, 2024
It is reported that The Rock backed down from facing Roman Reigns. — WWE

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson made a surprising turn on Friday Night SmackDown in response to fan dissatisfaction with his previously proposed storyline.

The Hollywood megastar had been expected to headline this year’s WrestleMania against Roman Reigns for the Undisputed Universal Championship.

However, this plan faced backlash, especially after Cody Rhodes won the 2024 Men’s Royal Rumble match and indicated his desire to face Reigns.

In a dramatic reversal, The Rock appeared as a villain, adopting his iconic "Hollywood Rock" persona and aligning himself with Reigns’ faction, "The Bloodline".

Addressing the crowd in Utah, The Rock delivered cutting remarks, taunting Reigns’ opponents and mocking the "Cody cry babies".

Speculation arose when The Rock joined the board of TKO, WWE’s parent company, leading fans to speculate about his influence on securing a high-profile match against Reigns.

The unexpected negative reaction towards The Rock at WWE live events, in contrast to Rhodes’ popularity, may have surprised the former wrestling icon, who has been warmly received in previous appearances.

According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, The Rock himself orchestrated the switch to confirm Reigns vs. Rhodes for WrestleMania.

While The Rock rose to fame as a cocky heel in the late 1990s and later as "Hollywood Rock", his recent portrayal as a villain is a departure from his usual heroic image.

Wrestling Observer Newsletter further revealed that there is more to the story behind the scenes, but the timing does not allow for full disclosure.

Johnson reportedly suggested stepping back from the Reigns match, endorsing Rhodes instead. Additionally, he proposed a match featuring Reigns and himself against Rhodes and Seth Rollins for the first night of WrestleMania.

Rhodes, enjoying a revival in WWE after his Royal Rumble victory, is thriving following his return to the company in 2022 after a successful stint on the independent circuit and with All Elite Wrestling.

If The Rock participates in WrestleMania or before, it would mark his first major in-ring appearance in 11 years, since his defeat to John Cena at WrestleMania in 2013.