TJR: WWE WrestleMania 40 Kickoff Press Conference Review

wwe wrestlemania 40 kickoff press event

A big name WrestleMania 40 Kickoff Press Event was held in Las Vegas featuring Roman Reigns, The Rock, Cody Rhodes and more.

WrestleMania 40 is set to take place on April 6 and April 7 in Philadelphia. As we continue on the Road to WrestleMania, WWE decided to do this Press Event in Las Vegas. It’s a great idea because the Super Bowl is in Las Vegas this Sunday, so there’s a lot of press in town.

This event had a 7 p.m. ET start time and 4 p.m. locally in Las Vegas. It was broadcast in Peacock in the US as well as WWE’s YouTube channel and other social media outlets.

It was announced by WWE earlier on Thursday that the hosts will be Michael Cole, Pat McAfee and former WWE Champions CM Punk & Big E. A lot of guests too. I’ll be watching on WWE’s YouTube channel. If you want to watch it after the live press conference, it should be on WWE’s YouTube, Peacock and other social media outlets as well. Let’s get to it.

WrestleMania 40 (XL) Press Event
From T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

Michael Cole welcomed us to the show. They showed arrivals of some of the big names in attendance including Triple H, Cody Rhodes, Roman Reigns with Paul Heyman and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as well.

A video package aired about 40 years of WrestleMania moments.

The arena was packed with members of the media and fans at T-Mobile Arena, which is where WWE shows take place in the city. It’s the home of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights team.

They had a panel featuring Michael Cole, Pat McAfee, former WWE Champion Big E and five-time WWE World Champion CM Punk, who had his right arm in a brace. Punk said he’s injured, but he’s still in the mix with Cole and the Cole Miners. Big E said that his neck is really good. Big E said he’s in great health. Punk said his triceps injury sucks while noting that he’s one week away from surgery. Punk said that he’s still in the mix, so he’ll still piss some people off.

Pat talked about The Rock as his guest on his ESPN/YouTube show earlier. There were a lot of fans boing while some fans chanted “Rocky” as well. As Pat talked about Rock, some more fans chanted “We Want Cody” and when Pat talked about it, he mentioned that Rock called the fans “Cody Crybabies.” Punk asked where were these fans in 2013.

Punk was asked what should happen at these WrestleMania matches. Punk said that the Road to WrestleMania will be really spicy. Punk talked about how he could be in for one hell of a rollercoaster ride. Punk spoke about how he understands box office and he understands making a name for yourself. Punk talked about how he’s especially looking at Cody.

Big E said he was here to beat the drum for Cody. Big E talked about Cody’s special connection with the fans. Big E spoke about Cody helping the Huber family after Brodie passed away. Big E said that what Cody has done, his legacy in the ring and out of the ring and Cody is a guy that can carry this company forward.

Jackie Redmond was backstage talking about how The Rock was there and people close to The Rock said that Rock is very excited to talk today.

Paul Heyman, the Wise Man, was interviewed by Byron Saxton backstage. Saxton asked about the kind of mood that Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns is in. Heyman said he hears people saying “We Want Cody” and we see all the love for The Rock, so the fans booed that. Heyman spoke about what everybody is talking about is who gets to headline WrestleMania with Roman Reigns. Heyman said until somebody beats Roman Reigns, that’s where the main event of WrestleMania will remain. Heyman told Byron that was Roman’s mood.

The panel spoke again with Pat saying he thinks Roman Reigns wants The Rock and Big E thinks the same thing. Big E wants to see Cody finish that story. Punk said that Reigns wants The Rock, but Cody is the one who threw Punk out of the Rumble and Punk claimed that Roman doesn’t want Cody.

It was announced that WWE Speed is coming to X starting in the Spring of 2024. They are fast-paced and action-packed matches that are up to five minutes in length.

Triple H Speaks

The WWE Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque made his entrance to a big ovation from the crowd. There was just a stage that Hunter stood on.

Hunter talked about how in 1985 at Madison Square Garden, a tag team match took place between Paul Orndoff & “Rowdy” Roddy Piper faced Mr. T and Hulk Hogan. Hunter talked about the celebrities on hand like Muhammad Ali, Cyndi Lauper, Liberace and The Rockettes. Hunter said that it was named WrestleMania. Hunter talked about how now they are a global juggernaut selling out stadiums all over the globe. Hunter talked about how things changed over the years leading to television cables, then pay-per-view and then WWE Network. Hunter also mentioned their recent deal with Netflix for over $5 billion. Hunter mentioned icons like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Andre The Giant, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock (some boos), The Undertaker, Mick Foley, Batista, John Cena and the list goes on and on. Hunter did not include himself.

Hunter said that on April 6 and April 7 in Philadelphia, they are going to take it to a whole new level. Hunter said that it’s a new time, a new era and an all-new WWE. Hunter: “I promise you that you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Hunter did his “Are You Ready?” bit to end it.

A video aired about Bianca Belair.

Bianca Belair Speaks

There were some “EST” chants for Belair. Bianca talked about how the road to WrestleMania is one of the most exciting times of the year. Belair plugged her Hulu reality show Love & WWE with husband Montez Ford. Belair said that they wanted to show the world about their life as WWE superstars.

Belair talked about how WrestleMania is a spectacle and it’s where history is made. Belair mentioned making history at WrestleMania 37 as the first two black females to headline a WrestleMania. Belair talked about how she also won title matches at WrestleMania 38 and WrestleMania 39. Belair said this year is different because she’s not going into WrestleMania as champion. Belair said she wants to continue to be on the road to WrestleMania and said you can’t spell WrestleMania without EST. That is factual information.

Cole and McAfee talked about how energetic the crowd was.

That led to a video about Rhea Ripley.

Rhea Ripley Speaks

The Judgment Day’s Rhea Ripley made her entrance as the WWE Women’s World Champion. The fans gave her a great response. Ripley was dressed in black as usual.

Ripley: “Las Vegas…Mami’s here.” The fans cheered and chanted “Mami” for her. Ripley spoke about how they are currently on the road to WrestleMania. Ripley said that this isn’t any WrestleMania because this is WrestleMania 40 and what makes this so special is that Mami is walking in and out as the most dominant woman to hold a championship in this company. More “Mami” chants.

Ripley said it wasn’t a surprise to her that Bayley chose to face her friend Iyo Shirai (she meant IYO SKY) instead of Ripley. Rhea moved on to talk about Elimination Chamber in her home country of Australia. Ripley spoke about beating Nia Jax at Elimination Chamber and then said that it didn’t matter who she faces at WrestleMania…here comes Becky Lynch.

Becky Lynch wasn’t advertised for this event, but there she is with the fans cheering. Lynch said you can’t have a big WrestleMania press conference without Big Time Becks because The Man has come around to Las Vegas. Lynch said that as of Monday, she’s in the Elimination Chamber for the first time ever. Lynch said she’ll go on to WrestleMania to face Ripley for the first time ever…if Ripley can get by Nia Jax first. Lynch said it does matter who Ripley faces because Lynch has made a legendary career out of knocking girls off their top spot, so Mami will learn what it’s like to be a bottom because that’s what happens when The Man comes around. The two women had a staredown, so Raw GM Adam Pearce was there to break it up.

Analysis: I think that is WWE’s way of telling us that Ripley will face Lynch at WrestleMania. I predicted that months ago and I’m sure many others have too. The Ripley-Lynch match will be awesome.

The announcers plugged Elimination Chamber with Ripley facing Jax and the Women’s Elimination Chamber match announced so far.

There were commercials for Pizza Hut and the WWE 2K24 video game.

They showed some WrestleMania 1 highlights.

A video aired about Seth “Freakin” Rollins, the World Heavyweight Champion.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins Speaks

The WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance in a green suit and shades. Rollins had black shoes that had bows on them. A unique look as usual. The fans were singing Seth’s song.

Seth did his usual bit to start the promo. Seth talked about how WrestleMania 40 – XL – was the biggest WrestleMania of all time. Seth wanted to cut to the chase and make a main event for WrestleMania. Seth said he can’t make that decision because he’s just a prize. Seth called for Cody Rhodes…but instead, it was the “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion.

Roman Reigns had the “Wise Man” Paul Heyman with him as Reigns posed with the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship in his hands. The fans booed Reigns, but there were some “Tribal Chief” chants too.

Roman Reigns Speaks

Roman Reigns was on the stage telling the crowd to acknowledge him. Rollins said that Reigns showed up to work once and it’s good to see him. Reigns said that Seth showed up in his wife’s shoes.

Reigns said let’s talk about Cody Rhodes, who is the man that can’t make his own choice. Reigns said that if you hesitate, your moment is going to move on. Reigns said that it is no longer Cody’s decision and Reigns said that it is now The Tribal Chief’s decision. Reigns said tonight, he gets to choose who faces him in the main event of WrestleMania. Reigns wanted this “bum” Rollins to get out of here.

Reigns: “I choose…(long pause)” and the fans chanted “Cody.” Reigns said he chooses The Rock. The fans booed that.

The Rock Joins Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins On The Stage

The Rock made his entrance wearing a black tank top and walked around the stage a bit as the fans cheered him, but definitely some booing going on too. As The Rock was about to speak, fans were booing him. The Rock tried to speak again and there was more booing. The Rock: “Finally…The Rock has come back to Las Vegas.”

The Rock asked the fans if you think that Roman Reigns is going to be at The Rock at WrestleMania? There was a mix of cheers and boos while some fans chanted “NO” as well. The Rock asked if you think he’ll beat The Tribal Chief at WrestleMania? A mixed reaction again. The Rock paused leading to the fans chanting “We Want Cody” at Rock and I think some fans chanted “No We Don’t” after that.

The Rock asked the fans if they think that The Rock and Roman Reigns would be the biggest main event in the history of WWE. There were boos. The Rock said he loved the passion, so to members of the press, he welcomed them here and to the WWE Universe, there were loud “We Want Cody” chants and more “No We Don’t” chants. The Rock welcomed everybody watching and to the millions of The Rock fans and to the millions watching, he introduces you to the Cody Crybabies. Reigns was laughing.

That led to The Rock saying he wanted to show you something that you are going to love it. The Rock said that one thing for damn sure, you are going to respect it.

A graphic was shown about The Bloodline showing the family tree of The Rock and Roman Reigns along with the Samoan Dynasty Family Tree. The Rock mentioned the top of that tree is The Rock’s grandfather and Roman’s grandfather made a blood oath. The Rock said that this is proof there is only one dominant and powerful Royal Family in professional wrestling (that drew boos). The Rock said if you think that The Rock and Roman Reigns isn’t the biggest main event in WrestleMania history then, save your boos, in simple Rock speak…it doesn’t matter what you think.

The Rock said that at WrestleMania 40 in Philadelphia, it’s Roman Reigns – the Universal Champion against The Rock – the People’s Champion – in the biggest main event in the history of professional wrestling. Rock said that they are bound by blood. Rock and Reigns locked their hands together on the stage and hugged.

Cody Rhodes: “Hold on!”

Cody Rhodes Joins Roman Reigns, The Rock & Seth Rollins On The Stage

Cody Rhodes arrived in a suit. Cody said that this right here is bulls**t! Loud “Cody” chants from the crowd. Cody said that Reigns is calling the shots and he has a lot of stroke, but it is not Roman’s distinction to determine the main event at WrestleMania because it is Cody’s right since Cody won the Royal Rumble.

Cody said he had wonderful conversations with The Rock and he had many other conversations. Cody said he has made his decision.

Cody Rhodes: “At WrestleMania 40 in the main event, I choose you Roman Reigns!”

Roman Reigns said that Cody must be crazy and must be stupid. Reigns said that this was a done deal. Reigns said Cody was old news and should go to the number two table in the loser’s bracket with the dummy in green (Rollins). Reigns claimed that Cody was just a chapter in Roman’s book and that nobody cared about Cody finishing his story. Reigns mocked Cody saying Cody was embarrassing his family now and Reigns told Cody he was irrelevant just like his dad.

Cody said that Roman is all about family, is that what the Bloodline is, then how is Jey? Cody trashed Reigns saying he was just a meal ticket while the family but lackeys, yes men and goons. Cody wondered what this Reigns and Rock match is all about anyway, who sits at the Head of the Table? Why does it matter when neither one of them has been doing the cooking for two years. The fans let out a big “ooohhh” for that.

As Cody continued, he spoke about how Reigns invoked Cody’s father, so Cody would do the same. Cody said that if Roman’s grandfather was here and Rock’s grandfather was here, they would be ashamed of Reigns. Cody stared at Reigns after that.

The Rock stepped up to Cody’s face. The Rock said when you talk about Roman’s family, you talk about Rock’s family. Rock said that Roman’s ancestors are Rock’s ancestors. Rock said when talking about Roman’s blood, you are talking about Rock’s blood. The Rock told Cody we have a problem. Rock slapped Cody in the face. It was broken up quickly by Raw GM Adam Pearce, Smackdown GM Nick Aldis and Triple H. Rollins yelled at Rock that he doesn’t run this place. Rollins said that this is bullcrap. Rock shouted at Cody that he’ll slap the piss out of him again. Rollins told Rock he doesn’t get to do whatever the f**k he wants. Rock said he does whatever the f**k he wants to do. Rollins walked to the back. Rock stared back as Rollins left. Rock walked on the stage some more while the fans booed Rock & Reigns to end it.

Analysis: The key thing here is that Cody Rhodes picked Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40. I like that Cody picked Roman there (it was made official after the press conference). They clearly had Rock out there as a bit of a tweener who was also heelish because they knew the fans were for Cody and that led to Rock having a bit of an attitude. Good for Cody stepping up and delivering a strong promo while making his choice that he wants to face Reigns. The slap by Rock to Cody was good too in terms of making us want to see Cody get some revenge for that too. I liked it overall. I feel like we might get a Rock & Roman vs. Cody & Seth tag at WrestleMania Night 1 and then Roman vs. Cody at WrestleMania Night 2. I don’t know for sure, but that’s kind of where I’m leaning at this point. I can see it being something where Cody beats Roman on night two, then Rock accidentally costs Reigns the split and you do the Rock-Reigns rivalry coming out of that.

The analysts talked about it with CM Punk saying that he wanted to see Cody Rhodes punch Rock in the face. Big E said that was explosive. Big E wondered if we were building a tag team match. Big E said he doesn’t know where it’s going. McAfee said that The Bloodline was flexing as if they could do whatever they wanted. Cole asked Punk if Cody can finish the story and Punk said that Cody has to start swinging back. Big E said that The Rock is a big star that’s also a Member of the Board and Cody has a lot of things up against him. McAfee said that Roman and Rock were standing next to eachother. Punk said that Punk that Rollins had to stop with the stylist, get the balls out of his wife’s purse, and hit somebody in the mouth. Big E talked about how this is Cody’s chance. Big E spoke about how this was the time for Cody.

It was clarified by Cole that Cody picked Roman for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Punk wasn’t sure what was official. Cole summarized it. Punk said that Rock is on the Board of Directors and Punk wants to see everybody fighting. Big E wondered if we get multiple matches at WrestleMania. McAfee spoke about how he’s still not sure what happened here.

Triple H was interviewed by Jackie Redmond, who called him Paul. Hunter said moments like this are difficult where everybody goes into business for themselves. The Rock and Roman Reigns walked behind Triple H. Rock didn’t like Cody talking “s**t” about Rock’s family and Rock told Hunter to fix it. Rock didn’t like Cody “talking s**t” about their family and Rock said Hunter has to fix it or they will fix it. Rock also said he would “slap his teeth out of his f**king mouth.” Rock left at that point.

Analysis: The Rock swore a few times there to put over the intensity of the situation. I love heel Rock. I hope he cranks up the heel intensity too.

Punk summarized it saying let them fight. Punk said that they needed to solve things by fighting. The panel summarized it and ended it there. WrestleMania 40 is 58 days away.

This WrestleMania 40 Press Conference went 71 minutes.

After the press conference, Triple H tweeted that the Cody Rhodes match with Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 40 is official.


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