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

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The WrestleMania 40 main event picture just got more complicated. ​​​​​​The Rock vs. Roman Reigns was expected to be formally announced at a press conference on Thursday in Las Vegas, but Cody Rhodes threw something in those plans.

A face-off between Rock and Reigns was the main selling point for the special kickoff of WrestleMania 40. Reigns announced Dwayne Johnson as his WrestleMania opponent. The two shared the stage as Rock detailed the family’s rich lineage. Unfortunately, it was difficult to hear over the chorus of “We want Cody” and “Rocky sucks” chants. The optics of Rock returning and stealing an opportunity that Rhodes won has worried fans over the past six days after Rhodes stepped aside for The Rock on SmackDown.

Rhodes headlined the family reunion to a warm welcome 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 made fun of Rhodes talking about his relatives and slapping Rhodes. A fight broke out with World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, who was also in attendance, avoiding Reigns and Rock as Rhodes was brought back to the stage.

Thursday’s press conference ended without confirming the main event of WrestleMania 40. It is unclear whether the promotion will go ahead with Reigns vs. Rock, Reigns vs. Rhodes or both. WWE also seemed to be teasing a tag team match that could pit Reigns and Rock against Rhodes and Rollins down the line.

WWE Head of Content 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 Star Press also featured women’s world champion Rhea Ripley engaged in a verbal spat 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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