The Rock return to WWE; is WrestleMania match against Roman Reigns a go?

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson returned to WWE on SmackDown this week, likely setting up a showdown with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania XL.

Last Updated on March 5, 2024

The Rock WWE

Do you smell what The Rock is cookin’? Well, Roman Reigns does, as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson returned to WWE this Friday, all but guaranteeing a showdown between the “cousins” at WrestleMania XL.

During a promo between Reigns and Cody Rhodes on Friday’s SmackDown, The Rock emerged with his signature theme, causing an eruption from the WWE fans in attendance. After pointing out the goosebumps the reception gave him, The Rock entered the ring and embraced Rhodes. With an unheard whisper, both Rhodes and fans got the message: The Rock may have just punched his ticket to WrestleMania. It was a hell of a twist to the promo, which found The Rock and Reigns standing in the ring together, the champion holding his belt while the WrestleMania banner hung above.

Fans initially expected a showdown between Reigns and Rhodes at WrestleMania XL, as Rhodes won the men’s Royal Rumble match last weekend, giving him a shot at the title of his choosing. The obvious choice was Reign’s Universal Championship, which he has held for more than 1,200 days. Rhodes failed to win last year under the same circumstances, setting up an inevitable win this time around that would let him “finish the story.” But that story may have to wait…and so will we, as the WWE will hold a press event on Thursday to presumably confirm the Rock/Reigns match.

The Rock has propositioned a match against Roman Reigns before, but it didn’t seem as likely until everything aligned through both injuries – CM Punk tore his tricep at Royal Rumble – and behind-the-scenes drama, as Vince McMahon recently resigned over damning allegations. With Punk out, that leaves Rhodes to challenge Seth Rollins for his World Heavyweight Championship. Further, The Rock – who serves on TKO’s board of directors – stepping into the squared circle could help bring some much-needed positive press back to the WWE.

According to The Internet Wrestling Database, The Rock hasn’t had a match in WWE since WrestleMania 32 in 2016 (although that six-second squash hardly counts); prior to that was WrestleMania 29. If he keeps with this pattern of premiere events, The Rock will no doubt be headlining this year’s WrestleMania, ideally on night two.

The Rock returning to the WWE is huge news, but these particular circumstances may rub fans the wrong way. Is he worthy of a title shot against Roman Reigns even though Cody Rhodes had a long-developing story going? Give us your take below.

Source: WWE

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.