As seen during the February 2nd 2024 edition of WWE Smackdown, Cody Rhodes seemingly stepped aside for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to face Roman Reigns at WWE Wrestlemania 40. The Vince McMahon sex trafficking lawsuit, WWE canceling creative plans for Brock Lesnar, and CM Punk getting injured were said to be factors in plans being changed.
In regards to the change, Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com confirmed with multiple sources that Rock was pushing to get the Wrestlemania main event spot. Rock reportedly pushed for the match as he felt him vs. Reigns is the bigger attraction for the company and was said to have received the backing of multiple top executives at WWE’s parent company TKO.
Johnson noted the following…
“While WWE had been expertly building to a Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns rematch, some sources believe it was done by Johnson [Rock] to, as one source stated, ‘save Wrestlemania’ after CM Punk and Brock Lesnar, for very different reasons, were taken off the board from the biggest weekend of the year.”
“PWInsider.com is told this wasn’t done to target and politic Cody out of his main event out of malice, but out of the belief that Johnson was the best idea to make money now and respect his new position with the company’s parent company. This was a strategic move to give Johnson more political power overall and to show Endeavor’s faith in his involvement and that even Paul Levesque [Triple H], who has done an admirable job as the Chief Creative Officer, would ‘lose that power struggle with Johnson at this point’, as one source surmised.”