For Cody Rhodes fans, the recent developments have been a whirlwind of emotions. Rhodes has officially confirmed his challenge against Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Title at WrestleMania 40, a matchup anticipated since his victory at the Royal Rumble, where he earned his title shot. This sets the stage for a rematch from WrestleMania 39, where Rhodes narrowly missed victory against Reigns.

However, uncertainty loomed as many speculated WWE would announce a showdown between Reigns and The Rock for the event instead. Reports suggested that The Rock advocated for this matchup to salvage the WrestleMania card. Additionally, WWE appeared to be building towards a tag team match featuring Rhodes teaming with World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins against Reigns and The Rock. However, negative fan reactions prompted The Rock to reconsider taking Rhodes’ spot.

According to Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Rhodes was initially informed he would face Reigns in the fall, with no mention of The Rock’s involvement until later, despite an agreement made on January 3rd.

Meltzer elaborated, stating, “Any interview he did about finishing the story prior to the Rumble was with the idea he was definitely in the match, even with the Rock rumors out.”


Rhodes reportedly learned about The Rock’s involvement on the day of the Rumble, despite plans for him to win the Rumble match. He was also informed that a match against Reigns would still occur later, suggesting that the post-match buildup was intended not to swerve fans, but to lay the groundwork for a future encounter.

“For those who were wondering about what Rhodes did and didn’t know about how things went down, he was told he was facing Reigns in the fall. He was not told about Rock getting the match as part of his deal on 1/3 so any interview he did about finishing the story prior to the Rumble was with the idea he was definitely in the match, even with the Rock rumors out. He was told the day of the Rumble that Rock was facing Reigns even though he was winning the Rumble. He was also told that they would be going to Reigns against him later so all the post-match stuff building that match wasn’t there to swerve people as much a build a later match. But the fact it was not going to be Reigns vs. Rhodes was keep secret from almost everyone (obviously a few knew) because Rock wanted the angle the next Friday a surprise.”

CM Punk was initially slated to win the Elimination Chamber match to earn a title shot against Rollins, but plans changed due to injury. Some within WWE were aware of these changes before Rhodes, but the details were kept under wraps until the WrestleMania press conference.

WWE engaged in extensive discussions with The Rock in December about his potential return to the ring, adding further intrigue to the unfolding narrative surrounding WrestleMania 40.

Are you glad that the WrestleMania plans were eventually changed back? Let us know in the comments below.

Steve Carrier

Steve is the Founder of RingsideNews. He has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He first got into website development at the time and has been focusing on bringing his readers the best professional wrestling news at it's highest quality.

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