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WWE WrestleMania 40 kickoff recap: Cody Rhodes chooses Roman Reigns, The Rock slaps the ‘American Nightmare’

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WWE

The WrestleMania 40 main event picture just got more complicated. Expectations were that The Rock vs. Roman Reigns would be formally announced at Thursday’s press conference in Las Vegas, but Cody Rhodes threw a wrench in those plans.

A face-off between Rock and Reigns was the major selling point for the WrestleMania 40 kickoff special. Reigns declared Dwayne Johnson as his WrestleMania opponent. The two shared the stage as Rock detailed the rich lineage of their family. Unfortunately, it was hard to hear him over the chorus of “We want Cody” and “Rocky sucks” chants. The optics of Rock returning and stealing an opportunity earned by Rhodes soured fans over the last six days after Rhodes seemingly stepped aside for The Rock on SmackDown.

Rhodes interrupted the family reunion to a warm ovation from the Las Vegas crowd. Rhodes described the situation as “bullshit.” Rhodes formally challenged Reigns to an undisputed WWE universal title rematch at WrestleMania 40, a right he earned by winning the 2024 Royal Rumble. Reigns and Rhodes traded barbs about their respective families. The Rock took umbrage with Rhodes speaking about his relatives and slapped Rhodes. A pull apart ensued with world heavyweight champion Seth Rollins, who was also present, shunning Reigns and Rock as Rhodes was escorted backstage.

Thursday’s press conference ended without confirming the WrestleMania 40 main event. It’s unclear if the promotion will move forward with Reigns vs. Rock, Reigns vs. Rhodes or both. WWE also seemed to tease a potential tag team match pitting Reigns and Rock against Rhodes and Rollins down the line.

WWE Chief Content Office Paul Levesque posted on social media shortly after the press conference that Reigns would indeed face Rhodes at WrestleMania, making the situation even more confusing.

The all-star presser also featured women’s world champion Rhea Ripley engaging in a verbal altercation with Becky Lynch. Bianca Belair also took the stage with CM Punk and Big E performing desk duties. WrestleMania 40 takes place at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

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