It was largely anticipated that Cody Rhodes was going to finish his story at WrestleMania 39, defeating Roman Reigns to become the new Undisputed Universal Champion. However, the Tribal Chief reigned supreme and it now leaves question marks on what happens next.
The Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania painted a clearer picture on the short-term direction for the American Nightmare, as he was attacked by Brock Lesnar when the two were supposed to battle Reigns and Solo Sikoa in a tag team match.
Rhodes had asked for a rematch against the champion prior, but it now seems like he will be taking a detour and facing adversity in the form of the Beast.
Lesnar’s assault caught fans by surprise and hopefully he reveals his motive soon, but a match against the American Nightmare seems imminent and could happen as early as Backlash in four weeks.
It is also apparent that WWE will allow Reigns to reach 1000 days as Undisputed Universal Champion, as he is currently sitting at 940+.
With that being said, The Inner Sanctum will provide an extensive roadmap on how Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes should be booked from this point until WrestleMania 40.
Backlash: Cody Rhodes vs Brock Lesnar
For Puerto Rico’s first Premium Live Event since 2005, a main event between Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar would be one to remember.
Roman Reigns is assumed to be taking a break and will not be appearing at Backlash, leaving the spotlight on the American Nightmare and Beast to battle in a match that no-one saw coming.
It is a unique clash of styles, but the grander story lies within Rhodes and how overcoming Lesnar is his first step towards another title opportunity against the Tribal Chief.
The 2023 men’s Royal Rumble winner would defeat the former WWE Champion, as Lesnar would then undertake a hiatus until SummerSlam.
Rhodes would use this victory as momentum and catapult himself for another match against Reigns, but the Tribal Chief would not accept just yet and instead send Jey Uso to take care of the problem.
However, a new challenger for the Undisputed Universal Champion should emerge from the King of the Ring tournament to culminate on May 28.
Money in the Bank: Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins, Cody Rhodes vs Jey Uso
As mentioned before, Roman Reigns’ number one contender should be determined via the King of the Ring tournament. The Premium Live Event is scheduled for Saudi Arabia, only three weeks after Backlash.
Seth Rollins should triumph and be declared king, receiving a title match against the Tribal Chief at Money in the Bank.
While the tournament could be awarded to an upstart who would benefit from the boost, the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match looms as an alternative option to create a new star like LA Knight.
The Visionary should also be pushed to the top of the card, incredibly received from the crowd and after involving himself with the United States Championship and Logan Paul in recent months.
A match at Money in the Bank between the two former Shield brethren’s would be a callback to their clash at the corresponding Premium Live Event in 2016, where Rollins defeated Reigns to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
The Visionary is also owed another match after what happened at the 2022 Royal Rumble, where he won by disqualification against the Tribal Chief after suffering a steel chair assault. It is quite poetic for these two to challenge each other at Money in the Bank, while also bridging a nice pathway for Reigns vs Rhodes II.
Reigns would finally defeat Rollins, as Cody Rhodes would compete against Jey Uso at the same event in another mountain to climb.
The Undisputed Universal Champion should throw his cousin at the American Nightmare, as Jey would need to redeem himself and restore his status in The Bloodline after losing the Undisputed Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 39.
The two have not been on the same page since the Royal Rumble, while Reigns has showed on television that he wants nothing to do with The Usos yet as a result of falling to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
Rhodes would again emerge victorious and not only would it help his case for a rematch against Reigns, but further tension would be displayed between Jey and the Tribal Chief for an eventual collision down the road.
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SummerSlam: Roman Reigns vs Cody Rhodes
After defeating Jey Uso at Money in the Bank and conquering the Beast at Backlash, Cody Rhodes would have been challenged with enough adversity to prime himself for another match against Roman Reigns.
SummerSlam would be the perfect destination for a rematch, also marking three years since the Tribal Chief made his remarkable comeback to WWE in 2020.
By the Premium Live Event on August 6, Reigns would have held the Undisputed Universal Championship for 1070 days and should finally succumb to the American Nightmare.
Some have called for the rematch to take place at WrestleMania 40, but that would require Rhodes winning the men’s Royal Rumble for a second straight year and occupying him with other storylines for 12 months.
While an argument could be made that Reigns dropping his title is now only suited for an environment like WrestleMania, this and the above scenario is unrealistic.
Jey Uso could also cost his cousin the Undisputed Universal Championship and finally secure his revenge after months of animosity, which would set the foundations for a clash between the two.
The seeds have also been planted with Sami Zayn constantly telling Jey in the build to WrestleMania 39 that Reigns has never been loyal to him, which has been evident since their rivalry in 2021.
Royal Rumble: Roman Reigns vs Jey Uso
Following SummerSlam and losing the Undisputed Universal Championship, Roman Reigns would take a lengthy break for the rest of the year. However, he should return for a grudge match against Jey Uso at the Royal Rumble.
The Tribal Chief should make an appearance on the show and there would be no reason for him to be involved with the men’s Royal Rumble match, holding the world title for over 1000 days and not needing to compete for it again.
Reigns and Jey would renew their feud from two years ago, as the former champion would want to teach his cousin a lesson for failing the family at WrestleMania 39 and betraying him at SummerSlam.
Survivor Series could also serve as a potential stage to host this match, but it would not provide a grander magnitude than the Royal Rumble and it would also depend on how long Reigns is absent for after losing his title.
The story writes itself and although it could be a controversial decision, the Tribal Chief should defeat the former tag team champion and punish him so badly that someone would have to get involved to stop the onslaught.
Enter The Rock or Solo Sikoa.
WrestleMania 40: Cody Rhodes vs Gunther, Roman Reigns vs The Rock or Solo Sikoa
Depending on his availability, The Rock could finally challenge Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40 in a match that has been anticipated for several years. Some are understandably against it, thinking that this year in Hollywood was the only appropriate time.
Next year’s Showcase of Immortals fascinatingly emanates from Philadelphia, the same place where the Brahma Bull coronated the then-Big Dog after the latter won the 2015 Royal Rumble. In 2024, he would look to right all of Roman’s wrongs and avenge the destruction he has left in The Bloodline.
However, Solo Sikoa is another option and could intervene to protect his brother from the Tribal Chief’s wrath. The Enforcer has been built strongly on television, suffering only one pinfall loss and could receive the torch from his cousin if the two were to compete at WrestleMania.
Sikoa has always been by Reigns’ side since helping him at Clash at the Castle, including an interference in the WrestleMania 39 main event. It could reach the point where Jey suffers too much at the hands of the former world champion and Solo needs to step in for revenge.
Meanwhile, Gunther should lose his Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series to Sheamus and it would be the perfect time for him to win the men’s Royal Rumble match.
The Ring General should then face Cody Rhodes for the Undisputed Universal Title, depending on if the titles stay merged or separate.
Their match would be a throwback to their battle during the 2023 men’s Royal Rumble, when the American Nightmare eliminated Gunther to win it all.
The current Intercontinental Champion could be slated as the next Roman Reigns, dominating all competition for a prolonged amount of time and making the world title even more important.
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