When Cody Rhodes won this year's Royal Rumble match, the stage was set for him to once again challenge Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania.
The American Nightmare even pointed to the Tribal Chief after winning the 30-man match, but since then, Seth Rollins' planned opponent for the World Heavyweight Championship, CM Punk, has been injured with a torn tricep. WWE is also trying to shake off the horrifying sexual abuse allegations levelled at Vince McMahon.
The answer? Rob fans of Rhodes vs. Reigns II and bring back the actor who tried and failed to build the DC franchise around himself in 2022 with the ill-fated Black Adam.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who was recently added to the board of TKO Holdings Group (WWE's parent company), appears to have thrown his weight around to secure himself the main event of WrestleMania, just as he did in 2013 when he took that spot from CM Punk.
Fans in the building were happy to see the Brahma Bull, but those online and at home don't appear to share the same sentiment. The response to The Rock stealing Rhodes' place at WrestleMania has been overwhelmingly negative, something that's evident from the number of thumbs down awarded to the full segment on YouTube.
Over 78% of viewers have disliked the video, a stark contrast to the 3% of dislikes The Rock's WWE return on January 1 received. This isn't a case of online trolling or a vocal minority; WWE's fans don't want Rhodes to challenge Rollins and, as exciting as The Rock vs. Reigns is on paper, it's not the match the majority wanted to headline the Show of Shows this April.
Will WWE take note of this? Probably not. It seems likely the company will put this down to "internet fans," but if those attending upcoming shows start making their voices heard (similar to what happened with Daniel Bryan in 2014), then we could see a change. This match is also aimed at casual fans and no doubt one the company hopes will generate a great deal of mainstream media attention.
For now, WWE seems to have gone all in on The Rock - who hasn't wrestled a full match in over a decade - facing Reigns and on Rhodes going after a title he's said in multiple interviews he has no interest in winning as part of his quest to "finish the story."
We can only hope there's a twist coming; unfortunately, we don't think anything along those lines is currently being planned...