21/02/2024

Image: WWE/YouTube

After a wild week in WWE that promises to get even more chaotic, it has been confirmed that Cody Rhodes will challenge Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40 for the Undisputed Universal Championship… for now.

WWE hosted the WrestleMania 40 Kickoff at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas today, where it was said that the main events of April’s Premium Live Event would be revealed after The Rock returned on last week’s Smackdown and seemed destined to face the Tribal Chief.

The American Nightmare declared he did not want to fight Reigns at WrestleMania, leading to the belief he would instead collide against Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Title. This sparked social media outrage over the weekend, as #WeWantCody trended worldwide on X with the fanbase demanding Reigns vs Rhodes.

Rhodes then backtracked at the Kickoff and used his Royal Rumble victory to challenge Reigns at WrestleMania, a move that was either always the plan or perhaps what WWE was forced into. While a one-on-one is official at this stage, it now leaves huge question marks over The Rock’s involvement in Philadelphia and could lead to a wide range of scenarios.

Reigns and Rollins were both on stage when the former said he chooses to face The Rock at WrestleMania, prompting The People’s Champion to make his entrance. The Rock then showcased The Bloodline family tree, explaining how it is the only, “dominant and powerful royal family” in the industry and why a match between him and the Tribal Chief would be the biggest main event in professional wrestling history.

Rhodes then interrupted and cursed what was being discussed, stating Reigns does not dictate who he faces at WrestleMania. Both parties did not hold back when talking about each other’s families, with the Tribal Chief calling Dusty Rhodes irrelevant and the American Nightmare firing back by saying how The Rock and Roman’s grandfathers would be ashamed of the Undisputed Universal Champion.

The People’s Champion intervened and called out Rhodes’ disrespect towards their family, saying there is now a problem before slapping him. Tensions then flared and a brawl was on the cusp of ensuing, with Rollins and Rhodes teaming against The Rock and Reigns.

After The Rock and Rhodes’ exchange at the Kickoff, it could potentially lead to the former entering the main event of WrestleMania and forcing a triple threat. The People’s Champion could use his power as a member of TKO’s Board of Directors to drive the storyline, telling fans at T-Mobile Arena it does not matter whether they like or dislike a match between him and Reigns.

A double main event with Rock and Reigns on Night 1 of WrestleMania, and Reigns and Rhodes on Night 2 is another scenario that has been discussed in the community.

A mammoth tag team match with Rhodes and Rollins against The Rock and Reigns is also a possibility, and could even take place at Elimination Chamber: Perth on February 24. However, there are multiple factors at play for that to happen, including the Visionary’s fitness and if Reigns and The Rock are even going to travel to Australia.

If The Rock is indeed slated to participate at Elimination Chamber, he could clash against The American Nightmare in a singles match. There are just a plethora of outcomes to come out of this situation, with not one member of the WWE Universe knowing what is going to unfold.

The unpredictability has everyone talking, which is an absolute priority for WWE. It now sets up what is arguably the most intriguing and exciting build to any WrestleMania, compared to last week where there was overwhelming frustration.

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Aside from the above drama, Rhea Ripley also appeared at the Kickoff and was eventually confronted by Becky Lynch. A match between the two has been teased for WrestleMania, with the Eradicator and the Man hyping up Elimination Chamber.

Ripley will defend her Women’s World Title against Nia Jax at the Premium Live Event, while Lynch is one of six contestants in an Elimination Chamber match to decide the challenger at WrestleMania for that championship.

“For me, I have a WrestleMania before WrestleMania,” Ripley said, who is from Adelaide.

“I have the Elimination Chamber in Perth, Australia. My home country.

“So once I’m done dealing with Nia Jax, I will be ready for whoever it is that wins that women’s Elimination Chamber match, because to me, it really doesn’t matter who that person is. You know why, because Mami is always-“

This is where Lynch interrupted Ripley, promising to walk out of Optus Stadium as the number one contender after winning a qualifying match on Raw against Shayna Baszler.

“As of Monday, the Man is officially in the Elimination Chamber for the first time ever,” she said.

“Which means that the Man will win the Elimination Chamber for the first time ever, which means that in front of all your little friends and family in your home country, the Man will challenge you for your title at WrestleMania, where it will be Mami vs the Man for the first time ever.

“That is of course if you can get past Nia Jax first, but you say it doesn’t matter who you face, it doesn’t matter who you face, because Mami is always on top, huh?

“But it does matter Rhea who you face, because I have made a legendary career out of knocking golden girls off their top spot. Mami is gonna learn what it’s like to be a bottom, because that’s what happens when the Man comes around.”

Two more qualifying matches for the women’s Elimination Chamber are set, as Bianca Belair will challenge Michin tomorrow on Smackdown and Liv Morgan will battle Zoey Stark on next week’s Raw.

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