When Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson returned to WWE on January 1, he broke social media records and was embraced by fans. During Friday night's SmackDown, the actor - who is now a TKO Group Holdings board member - stole Cody Rhodes' spot at WrestleMania and has become a reviled figure in the hours which followed.
Various outlets are reporting that Johnson inserted himself into the Show of Shows in a bid to "save WrestleMania," claiming he pushed for the match with Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. In his eyes, it's a bigger draw for a show which has reportedly shifted only an additional 88 tickets since The Rock returned to challenge his cousin.
There's even some chatter online that The Rock is pushing to defeat Reigns, concluding his record-breaking championship run and ending WrestleMania with Johnson holding the title.
We're even hearing that The Rock is trying to exert his influence over WWE on a creative level and is already being viewed as a backup in case Triple H chooses to stand down as the head of WWE Creative. Since his last match 11 years ago, Johnson has made only sporadic appearances in the company due to a focus on his Hollywood endeavours.
However, it appears WWE came back on The Rock's radar after the XFL failed and his efforts to make the DCEU all about himself crashed and burned back in 2022 when Black Adam bombed.
On social media, #WeWantCody has trended #1 as WWE fans make it clear they don't want The Rock to take Rhodes' place at WrestleMania. Even mainstream media outlets like Forbes, Sports Illustrated, and TMZ are reporting on the backlash, surely making this something the company can't simply ignore.
Reigns vs. The Rock is expected to be announced on Thursday so there's still time for WWE to pivot, whether it's by having Rhodes "finish the story" at Elimination Chamber or by giving Johnson a different role at WrestleMania. For now, though, the plan seems to be for the American Nightmare to challenge Seth Rollins instead.
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