MR. TITO: WWE Wrestlemania 40 Hangover: What Happens on RAW?, Cody Rhodes, Bloodline, & More

On the day after Wrestlemania 40, I felt compelled to write a column to discuss what could or should happen on tonight’s RAW and the WWE storylines moving forward in the aftermath of what we just witnessed. Look, I heavily enjoyed Wrestlemania 40 as indicated by my Night #1 Review and my Night #2 Review, thus I’m NOT here to complain about any outcomes. Just giving my honest thoughts of what could happen moving forward.

Let’s get right into it with Cody Rhodes, you’re NEW “Undisputed” WWE “Universal” Title holder. Can we just call it “WWE Title” again? That belt has the lineage of the original WWE Title and of course, the WCW Title as well. And if they bring back the winged eagle title, I’ll really appreciate that for nostalgia purposes.

As you’ve read in my previous columns, I always worried that Cody’s “story” relied heavily on two specific things:

(a) His rebuking of AEW

(b) Dusty Rhodes never won the WWE Title

The anti-AEW stuff has worn out, as Cody has been here 2 years now and AEW has more than crumbled without him on the roster and apparently backstage too. But now that Cody has won the WWE Title, the Rhodes desire to be champion of the WWE has been finished. So now what?

It all depends on WHO Cody’s opponent is directly after Wrestlemania. In my opinion, where guys like Ultimate Warrior, Daniel Bryan, and Seth Rollins have failed in their post-Wrestlemania runs as WWE Champion was due to lousy opponents or storylines afterward. Warrior defeats Hogan in 1990 and essentially works with midcarders for much of 1990. Daniel Bryan gets the big redemption win at Wrestlemania 30, but he gets to wrestle Kane as his first opponent. Huh? Seth Rollins wins his WWE Title at Wrestlemania 31 and he not only loses the Curb Stomp finisher (HUGE mistake), but he gets to feud with Kane too. Excuse me, Corporate Kane and gets to suffer through that pain all summer long.

I worry that Cody will get someone like AJ Styles out of the gate as his first opponent. While I like and respect AJ Styles, he’s not a top main event guy right now. In fact, he just lost to LA Knight cleanly. If he somehow wrestles Gunther out of the gate, well, that’s an issue because it’s expected that Gunther will get that World Title push soon to win the title, not just be an opponent. Maybe Logan Paul gets a push, but he’s currently US Champ? With Roman out, wrestling Solo or Jimmy would be downgrades.

Roman Reigns is scheduled for significant time off after Wrestlemania 40. Many of you internet nerds are somehow insisting that he’s sick again, but he took time off after Wrestlemania 39 too. The fact that he went through Leukemia is reason why he doesn’t wrestle as much, yet most of you internet dorks cried about him not wrestling much at all as WWE Champ. Yeah, that A&E documentary opened your eyes, didn’t it, but now you insist that he’s taking time off because he’s sick again. No, he’s taking time off because he WAS sick and is just monitoring his health as any twice survivor of cancer should. Besides, LESS IS MORE and Roman always brought it for the past year on Paid Live Events (PLE) and could just cut promos on Smackdown to draw equally as well, if not better, than he would if wrestling in a match.

The Rock has a movie to film for May and that will carry into most of the Summer. He’s not going to risk millions at the box office to wrestle a match at Backlash in France, guys. Maybe he’s ready for SummerSlam, but I still insist that Rock will save his first singles match with Roman Reigns next year at SummerSlam 40.

Thus, no Roman or Rock for post-Wrestlemania 40 title defenses for Cody Rhodes… Maybe Brock Lesnar has been kept as a surprise for the night after RAW? But again, we’ve already seen Lesnar vs. Cody.

What happens to the Bloodline? For one, they have an AMAZING case to argue because John Cena came in and delivered an Attitude Adjustment to Roman Reigns. In a match with “Bloodline Rules”, Cena attacking Roman Reigns should be illegal and should nullify Cody’s title win if this were based in reality. But again, those “Bloodline Rules” were SLOPPY, as we had ZERO Bloodline interference until about 2/3 the way into the match when Jimmy interfered and then it was a slow drip to have Solo and then the Rock interfere. I was picturing this match being more like a Lumberjack match with the Bloodline surrounding the ring and punishing Cody Rhodes. We didn’t get that, so WTF was the Bloodline Rules anyway? Made ZERO sense and again, a product of trashing long-term booking and quickly stapling something together with the Rock’s injection into the storyline.

Bloodline Rules should have been Cody vs. Roman with Rock, Jimmy, and Solo at ringside and maybe other family members and recruited heels beating Cody at will. Because Roman is a heel, he won’t score the easy pin and just enjoys the Bloodline beating the crap out of Cody. THEN, Cena, Undertaker, Seth Rollins, and Jimmy could come down and fend off the Bloodline to allow it to become Cody vs. Roman. Instead, we got a slow drip and ZERO Bloodline interference until 2/3 of the match. The “Bloodline Rules” made ZERO sense and thankfully, the match was GOOD to GREAT despite that sloppy booking.

Roman lost the WWE Title and on the prior night, he accidentally speared Rock. Will that have any implications? Could we see a mirror image of a post Wrestlemania 14 where Degeneration X moved on from HBK and recruited new members to DX? Rumor has it that WWE finally signed Jacob Fatu, and maybe the Rock comes out on RAW tonight and introduces a “NEW” Bloodline and that becomes the stable that continually harasses Cody Rhodes moving forward and can allow for the Rock to remain “final boss” by proxy with possibly Paul Heyman still running the operations while he and Roman are gone.

I believe, however, that we’re going to get Rock vs. Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 41 no matter what. It was denied at Wrestlemania 40, but they personally want to still have that match and Rock performing well at WM 40, I believe, solidifies it. The old man still has it… I wouldn’t doubt that on RAW or Smackdown, friction happens between Rock and Roman and maybe they repeat the storylines of 2011-2012 where Rock and John Cena announced a Wrestlemania match 1 year in advance to make it extra special. I could see that happening tonight on RAW or Smackdown later this week, and then both guys take long vacations.

What I fear is that without a Roman Reigns led Bloodline, viewership and attendance numbers could tank especially if the Rock takes a long break too. Roman CARRIED the WWE business since August 2020 with his new heel character along with Paul Heyman. With due respect to Cody, he’s not even close to the star that Roman is and never will be. Pulling the WWE out of the COVID-19 Era is significant and I worry that we’ve already seen Cody peak. Roman has many more layers to him, now that he’s experienced and listening to the RIGHT advice with Paul Heyman, and could have many more great years to come with a babyface turn that’s ready to go. Cody lacks the chase and the story, so I predict a shorter title reign for him UNLESS he finds the right opponent that can boost him.

Being honest here, I just don’t know about Damian Priest as World Heavyweight Champion and if he’s got any drawing power to pull people into watching a 3 hour RAW broadcast. He feels like a MIDCARDER to me, though he looks like a million bucks (or a “Bisexual Undertaker”, as everybody called him online yesterday and it trended everywhere). He wrestled in the damn Tag Team ladder match on Night #1’s undercard, for Christ’s sake, and has hardly been a drawing difference on RAW. If you pull Dominik and Rhea out of that Judgment Day stable, nobody cares about the rest of them no matter how many times we’ve tried to push Finn Balor.

The DRAFT seems where the WWE is heading and may happen in the upcoming weeks, as it historically has in the past. That may reshuffle some things, but what Cody needs are top level stars fed to him. Not guys we’ve seen in the mix for a while or have underwhelmed when pushed to the top.

The post-Wrestlemania RAW only works when we have major returns of wrestlers or big debuts of younger wrestlers. Yet, we’ve already seen some of NXT’s top stars already injected into the WWE main roster and they are doing just OK. Some were still working the NXT event over the weekend, but I’m just not seeing “that guy” yet though I like Bron Breakker a lot (though I hate the name).

Before anyone declares the upcoming months to be “Summer of Punk” Part Deux, I want to bring your attention to AEW from 2021-2023 regarding CM Punk. Yes, he’s still talented as a personality and still killing it on the microphone… But I saw a much SLOWER and WEAKER CM Punk wrestling when we had a decent sample of work to view. You can only blame AEW’s talent level so much, but he was clearly struggling to lift people and execute the GTS move, even when the guys were smaller. He wasn’t as quick in the ring, and there was a little bit of struggle jumping off the ropes for Punk. Furthermore, he’s injury prone at an older age.

I’m just saying, this is a 45 year old man about to turn 46 in 6 months with injuries racked up recently. While Punk can still draw by being a personality, that may wear thin if he cannot perform as well inside the ring.

LOOK, I’m going to trust in the process under Triple H, but we’ll really see how great he truly is if the Bloodline somehow disbands or if Roman’s post-Wrestlemania 40 vacation is longer than expected. With due respect to Triple H, he’s had the Bloodline storyline for his entire tenure of his WWE return to EVP of Creative and Talent (June 2022). WWE was heavily reliant on that storyline and it helped rise all boats surrounding it. That said, many wrestlers have improved under Triple H’s role and are happy working for him.

I’m going to keep repeating this… Everything for Cody Rhodes will depend on WHAT is his post-Wrestlemania 40 storyline or WHO he feuds with for his WWE Title. If it’s a bad choice, we’re going to see a brief champion and Cody will prove to be a transitional champ before wrestling for the US and IC Title.

Personally, I’d have Cody feud with John Cena, who is expecting a “THANK YOU” from Cody from Wrestlemania 40 but is upset when his help isn’t fully embraced. Then, in a shocking post-Wrestlemania 40 move, John Cena finally turns heel and we get a 1-2 month program of Cena LUSTING over becoming a 17-time World Champion in the WWE. THAT is the perfect post-Wrestlemania 40, in my opinion, and could give Cody a strong feud out of the gates to bolster him as WWE champion. Hell, they could trade the title for a few events and it would work out. Cena gets his record and Cody gets a great opponent for multiple PLEs.

Otherwise, a rematch with Roman or a feud with the Rock is only going to do it for me with Cody.

Simple as that, right?

Have a great day!

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