Hollywood Superstar and WWE legend The Rock just made a surprise return to WWE’s flagship program Monday Night RAW and gave some hints by expressing his desire to “sit at the head of the table” which references Roman Reigns. This seems like a fever dream for most WWE fans that these two will finally end the dispute for the Anoa’i clan to be legitimately called as the true “Tribal Chief”, and they will finally face off inside the squared circle. Business-wise, this will automatically sell out any stadium wherever WWE wanted to bring this high-caliber match. This sounds as a threat to rising full time WWE Superstars that their aspirations of either main eventing WrestleMania, winning the Royal Rumble match, or claiming the world title especially by dethroning Roman Reigns. As Roman’s challenges are getting more difficult as time goes by, beating The Rock might be the peak victory that he is going to have but it does not mean it will stop here. The endgame for Roman’s title retention will not be The Rock, but for anyone else than his greatest enemy in WWE. Time might be short if WWE wants to hit 2 birds with one stone, without making someone walk out and waste another huge opportunity.
Cody’s opportunity to finish his story will be delayed…again!
It’s simple as it gets but Cody Rhodes should have won against Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE championship at WrestleMania 39. Undeniably, both Cody and Roman fought a good fight during their first major encounter as well-improved individuals in their respective gimmicks inside the jam-packed SoFi Stadium, and many people would have thought that it was Cody’s time to have the gold. The closing moments of the high-stakes match was a lackluster idea where a member of The Bloodline just casually interfered during the match without being seen by the referee, and this happens all over again. It is already long overdue for Cody Rhodes to finish his own story, unless Cody Rhodes wants to stay in WWE for another five years or so. With Roman Reigns successfully defending the title against Cody, then it would just for the sake of breaking records only.
When Cody Rhodes came back to WWE, it was surreal for pro wrestling fans to see a former Executive Vice President and one of the top wrestlers of AEW, joining its so-called “closest competition”. As he jumped from one ship to another, sticking with All Elite Wrestling is easy, but his match was booked with a stipulation of stripping him away for another shot at AEW World Championship match, in a fight against pro wrestling legend Chris Jericho. During that time, the Le Champion was still holding the AEW World Title. After that, Cody was never seen as number one contender for the AEW World Championship. If that stipulation didn’t come to exist in the first place, then we might still be seeing Cody Rhodes in AEW now and would not seek a story to “finish” somewhere else. Fans would probably see Cody having a Bullet Club reunion or a match with the likes of Kenny Omega, Bryan Danielson, Kazuchika Okada and others in their “Forbidden Door” PPV in partnership with NJPW. A Bullet Club reunion will also be seen if Cody is still a part of AEW and he will be a part of the historic “All In” PPV in London. On the other hand, WWE will be left with a blank answer to who will be the next top huge babyface after John Cena (perhaps).
Pipebomb version of the American Nightmare
A pipebomb promo by Cody might happen this 2024? Not really.
This is due to the reason that Cody will remain as WWE’s top Superstar for now, especially that The Rock might still be a part-timer to fulfill his Hollywood projects. Well, this also similar to what happened to CM Punk in 2011 up to early 2013 where he almost always headlined weekly WWE shows and monthly PLEs, but Vince McMahon did not gave CM Punk an opportunity to be the main event and close both WrestleMania 28 and 29. Instead, the WWE Universe received John Cena vs The Rock twice and ironically dubbed their first match as “Once in a Lifetime” but eventually had a rematch a year after but with the WWE Championship on the line. In other words, John Cena was the “top guy” during CM Punk’s peak in his WWE run and he was merely a far second in the eyes of Vince McMahon.
The situation is different now in comparison to CM Punk’s 2011 WWE run with Cody’s current WWE run, even with CM Punk coming back to WWE after almost 10 years at “Survivor Series: WarGames PLE”, the American Nightmare is undeniably the top babyface and WWE will do everything to keep him around since no one will be able to replace him in his role as of now. He might also go back to AEW to help his buddies and Tony Khan but if Cody will be sticking with his current “American Nightmare” babyface gimmick, then the AEW audience will give him the “John Cena treatment” of booing him despite being a babyface. He tried this before during AEW’s first few years, but the audience felt it was cringe-worthy. Simply, Cody Rhodes’ current American Nightmare gimmick perfectly fits WWE.
Situation for other rising WWE Superstars
This is not a good time yet for the likes of LA Knight (YEAH!) to finally reach the top and potentially main event WrestleMania. With his next huge match going to happen at the Royal Rumble PLE this 2024 in a fatal-4-way match against Randy Orton, AJ Styles, and the defending champion Roman Reigns, it will be a great matchup on paper. It will remain unsure for both AJ Styles and LA Knight if both pro wrestlers will be immediately followed by another title shot in WWE, but pretty much they will potentially be facing off at WrestleMania 40. Although, it will be nice to see LA Knight win the Money in the Bank ladder match and will have the opportunity to cash-in to win a championship in the future. One of Triple H’s weaknesses in terms of decision-making though is that he can’t book the Money in the Bank cash-in well, that makes the entire gimmick weak and useless.
“Main Event” Jey Uso on the other hand is more of a threat to his cousins for now but not to Roman himself. Jimmy and Jey might have their one-on-one match for the first time in a “huge” PLE, but they might reunite after that and will eventually betray Roman on full circle that would help Cody Rhodes to dethrone him completely and take away the Undisputed WWE Championship. After this devastating loss to Cody Rhodes, it will be a good time for Jey Uso to challenge Roman to be the next “Tribal Chief” of the Anoa’i Clan and will completely kick Roman out of The Bloodline for good if Roman loses. If this match happens, Roman will still win despite being “alone” since Jimmy and Jey Uso reunited with Solo being either “written out of TV” or joining The Usos, this time being a rare clean win.
I almost forgot to add Gunther, who had an excellent performance from last year’s Royal Rumble match that lasted more than an hour, that he’s still doing great being the Intercontinental Champion even though a part-timer like The Rock came back without being buried. Gunther’s accomplishments are also credited to Triple H for treating him very well as a dominant champion with excellent matches even though he won the Intercontinental Championship during Vince McMahon’s final days as creative head. The timing really favored Gunther that his character was not dented by Vince for a few months after being called up from NXT. He is also seen as a frontrunner for winning this year’s Rumble match but extending his IC Title run is the best thing for him as of now. Gunther will remain as WWE’s top guy and a heel.
Just business at the end of the day
For the past 2 years, pro wrestling has been thriving as fans drew huge interesting at almost every event of any company. The Rock’s return to WWE will create huge viewership numbers in both cable TV and social media platforms which means more money will be brought to WWE. Cody Rhodes is still stuck with a feud with Shinsuke Nakamura for both not finishing their story from winning at Royal Rumble to having a title shot at WrestleMania. Cody will remain as a crowd favorite even though obstacles are hindering his path in going back to the main story of winning a world title in WWE. What matters in every company is what makes the profit most. If ever Cody’s contract with WWE is up without renewing it, then he could take to social media or go back to AEW and shoot a controversial promo to WWE for the sake of breaking the internet. Although there’s a low chance he will do it, but who knows… NEVER SAY NEVER!