Cody Rhodes Finishes The Story, Roman Empire Falls

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Cody Rhodes is the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion.

On April 8th, 2024, Roman Reigns will wake up without the World Championship for the first time since August 20th, 2020. While that day almost four years ago ended with Reigns clutching the Universal Championship, there was no such luck as the credits ran at the end of WrestleMania XL.

Reigns’ record-breaking run has seen him beat the biggest names of today, the biggest names of yesterday, and men who’ll one day take their place in the WWE Hall of Fame. But on a wild night in Philadelphia, that run came to an end at the hands of Cody Rhodes.

Inside Lincoln Financial Field there was magic in the air. Rhodes fought back the tears as he entered with wife Brandi, and the far-away look in the eye of Reigns proved he too was keenly aware of the gravity of the moment.

But the emotion and jolt of electricity that greeted the opening bell paled in comparison with the unbridled joy that exploded from the 72,000-strong crowd almost an hour later.

Cody Rhodes has finished the story.

How Cody Rhodes Became Champion

While Cody Rhodes might have been the first man to try and grab some weaponry from under the ring, it was Reigns who struck first with a kendo stick — but only after shoving a table back under the ring.

The contest was fought at a methodical pace, something of a Roman Reigns trademark in recent years. After a fight through the crowd, the action picked up a gear when back in the ring as Reigns delivered a Perfect-Plex and a Cross-Rhodes shortly after. But despite his confidence, Rhodes had plenty more to give.

The momentum continued to swing back and forth. Reigns delivered a vicious low blow before Powerbombing Rhodes through the announce table, but again Rhodes kicked out. Feeling the adrenaline in his soul, Rhodes countered a Spear into a Cody-Cutter, and at the end of another quick exchange almost ended the match with a Spear of his own.

With Reigns at the mercy of Rhodes and starring down the barrel of defeat, the expected run-ins began. Jimmy Uso smashed Rhodes with a Superkick, but Jey Uso came to even the score, meeting his brother on the ramp. Just seconds later the pair went flying off the ramp and through a pile of tables.

Back in the ring, Reigns hit another Spear but quickly found himself Speared straight through the barricade. Rhodes then hit a series of Cross-Rhodes, only to be interrupted by Solo Sikoa. But despite a huge Spike, Rhodes kicked out. After the beatdown continued, John Cena sprinted down the ramp to a monster ovation to take out Sikoa and Reigns, but within seconds he was confronted by The Rock — who arrived at a much more leisurely pace.

The staredown with Cena ended with the 16-time World Champion taking a Rock Bottom, but as Rock threatened to deliver more punishment, Seth Rollins appeared in Shield gear with Shield music. Yet somehow he was cut off by Reigns before he could use the chair was carrying.

As Rock stood tall once again, the stadium was thrown into darkness, only to erupt as The Undertaker’s music hit, and he hit a Chokeslam on the final boss.

When the lights dipped for a second time, Undertaker and Rock disappeared, leaving Reigns to smash Rollins in the back with a chair — revenge for the breakup of The Shield a decade earlier.

In amongst the chaos, Rhodes gathered himself for one more assault and went back to the Cross-Rhodes to finally pin Reigns, ending the madness.

Samantha Irwin struggled to announce Rhodes as the new champion, the emotion robbing her of her voice at the crucial moment. But no one cared.

Through hell, high water, and The Bloodline, Cody Rhodes is the new Undisputed WWE Universal Champion.