The Rock’s Influence Led To WrestleMania 40 Plans Changing

The Rock TKO

The WrestleMania 40 main event will not see Cody Rhodes face Roman Reigns and a big reason why is The Rock’s influence with TKO Group.

It was announced on January 23rd that Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock had joined the TKO Group’s Board of Directors. TKO Group owns WWE & UFC and is powered by the Endeavor group. The Rock has been close with Endeavor/TKO’s CEO Ari Emanuel for 20 years while Rock is a WWE legend as well.

Along with his spot on the TKO Board of Directors, Johnson also officially owns the rights to the name “The Rock” and he got a generous $30 million out of the deal.

At the end of WWE Smackdown on February 2nd, Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes told Roman Reigns he wouldn’t challenge him at WrestleMania 40 as expected. That led The Rock to appear as a surprise and he had a staredown with Reigns. It has been reported that WWE was planning on doing Rhodes-Reigns and Seth Rollins-CM Punk, but Punk suffering a torn triceps in the Royal Rumble changed that.

More details have emerged about WWE’s plans with PWInsider’s Mike Johnson doing a lengthy post about how Rock is involved with WrestleMania to “‘save Wrestlemania’ after CM Punk and Brock Lesnar, for very different reasons, were taken off the board from the biggest weekend of the year.”

The PWInsider report added that others feel that The Rock pushed for the move due to his $30 million TKO Group payday being contingent on certain milestones. One of those milestones/contingents was that Rock would return to the ring and that led to Rock likely pushing for the match at WrestleMania because he felt like Reigns facing Rock was a major attraction match.

As for Men’s Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes, PWInsider added the following: “This wasn’t done to target and politic Cody out of his main event out of malice, but out of the belief that Johnson was the best idea to make money now and respect his new position with the company’s parent company.”

Cody Rhodes is likely going to use his WrestleMania championship match opportunity on Seth “Freakin” Rollins, who is the World Heavyweight Champion on the Raw brand. As Cody said on Smackdown, the 60+ year title held by Roman Reigns is what he wants, but he’ll settle for the title with less than a year of history that’s held by Rollins.

Former WWE Writer Expected To Be Hands-On With The Rock’s Creative Involvement

It was also added by PWInsider that former WWE head writer Brian Gewirtz will be involved in the WWE creative process going forward as it relates to The Rock. Gewirtz is a Senior Vice President of Development at Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions company.

There is also a feeling among some people in WWE that Gewirtz will be around physically at some major WWE shows moving forward.

An unnamed WWE superstar even wondered to PWInsider if Rock-Reigns was going to be the plan all along, regardless of what happened at the Royal Rumble and what happened with CM Punk getting hurt.

World Wrestling Entertainment has yet to officially announce Roman Reigns against The Rock at WrestleMania 40 yet. That could be coming as soon as this Thursday, February 8th when the company holds a WrestleMania 40 press conference with Reigns, Rock, Rhodes, and others