The Rock’s WWE Return Clouded By Resentment & Manipulation

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The Rock returned to the ring at WrestleMania 40 but when egos clash and business is to be done, were there more behind-the-scenes games at play than fans were aware of?

The Rock made his huge return to the WWE ring at WrestleMania 40 when he teamed with Roman Reigns to defeat Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins in the night one main event.

That seemed to be a very different main event from what WWE had planned when The Rock returned to the company in early 2024 as the highly anticipated Rock vs. Roman Reigns match was the plan. However, fan support swelled behind Cody Rhodes and he got his rightful main event and captured the WWE Championship from Reigns. And now it seems there might have been quite a few people in WWE happy The Rock didn’t get his way.

Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer revealed that there had been games played in the run-up to WrestleMania involving The Rock:

It seems obvious to me there was a lot of games being played with the whole WrestleMania thing. Cody Rhodes winning the Royal Rumble was definitely done to – there were people who did not want the Roman Reigns vs. The Rock match. There was a lot of manipulation going on that a lot of people aren’t aware of. It seemed too convenient to me and there’s a lot of reasons for it too.

I wouldn’t call it powerplays, there’s just very interesting games being played on both sides. Which is funny because Roman Reigns and The Rock are cousins and everything and there are a lot of people who wanted Cody Rhodes to get that spot before the fan thing happened and didn’t want The Rock to get that spot but The Rock was going to get that spot unless he volunteered not to have it. He’s gonna get what he wants.

Resentment From Some In WWE Towards The Rock

Meltzer then added that some people in WWE feel resentment towards The Rock due to his declaration that his return made wrestling cool again despite a massive year for the company long before he ever returned:

In some ways it’s good, in some ways it’s bad, no one can say anything bad about him publicly but there are people who resent him going like ‘I came back and wrestling’s cool’ after WWE had a tremendous year and the idea that he’s trying to take credit for this resurgence that happened a year before he came back.

[…] Even people who are very negative on him readily admit he made the brand more popular, he drove TV ratings to a great degree, he helped drive this WrestleMania to be the biggest two-day WrestleMania there’s been. There were definitely people who were happy Sunday outdrew Saturday when it came to viewers. But Sunday was the climax, the idea that the match with The Rock and his return did not outdraw Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes but you can also make the argument everyone knew The Rock was gonna be involved in that match too.

The discussion finished up with Meltzer noting that even some in WWE felt The Rock’s return was due to him trying to find some success after some failures in his other ventures:

There were people in WWE who felt like his return to WWE this year was an attempt to turn around a losing streak so to speak. Young Rock got cancelled, some of his movies weren’t as successful as hoped for and WWE was an easy win.

At the same time – put it this way they made him a $30 million a year offer to join the Board of Directors, that’s them coming to him, that’s not him coming [to WWE]. And he’s been talking about returning to wrestling since literally – as far as doing the match with Roman Reigns – 2019 so it’s not something that just came out of the blue because of the idea he wasn’t doing well.

These comments came after an article claimed The Rock arrived hours late to WrestleMania with WWE forced to refute these claims.

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