The whiplash of WWE information in January remains to be virtually not possible to understand. We went from the announcement that Monday Evening Uncooked can be transferring to Netflix in 2025, adopted virtually instantly by bombshell allegations that Vince McMahon committed sex trafficking in a lawsuit that led to him stepping away from WWE in each capability, with rumors swirling that federal prices might be introduced in opposition to McMahon.
In an effort to alter the narrative, the Royal Rumble gave followers the feel-good ending they wished, with the promise of lastly seeing Cody Rhodes “end the story” in his try to win WWE’s greatest prize at WrestleMania. Lower than every week later these good vibes have been gone, and followers have been actively booing The Rock in the course of a WWE ring.
What the hell occurred?
It begins with the story of Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes was WWE’s greatest signing of 2022 by a mile. Son of the legendary Dusty Rhodes (which Cody will remind you of at each nook), he was typically ignored by administration throughout his time within the firm from 2006-2016.
It wasn’t till Cody left, saying he wished to do extra within the enterprise, that he turned a mega-star. Rhodes spent important time in Japan, he labored for numerous impartial promotions within the USA, and was one of many architects behind All Elite Wrestling, WWE’s greatest rival.
Rhodes was a legit star in AEW, however his journey within the firm was coming to a detailed. Followers have been rising weary of his matches, his promo fashion, and it was changing into obvious that Rhodes didn’t actually jive with the long run path of the corporate he helped construct.
When it was introduced that Rhodes was returning to WWE, the hype behind him was unbelievable. This was partly a case of absence making the guts develop fonder, and half that he was a serious “win” for the corporate. Rhodes was the primary wrestler to go away AEW and head again to WWE, throughout a time the place followers appear extra intent on cheering for rival companies that particular person wrestlers.
Cody was a logo, as a lot as the rest. Followers wished him to succeed, and he rapidly turned the most important babyface (good man) within the firm.
Rhodes returned on night time one in every of WrestleMania to tackle Seth Rollins, saying after the match that it was his want to return to WWE to do what his father by no means may: Win the WWE Common Championship.
It was broadly believed that Cody would ascend to lastly take the title off champion Roman Reigns, who has held the belt since 2020. As beloved as Reigns is as a heel, followers had been rising weary of the title being perennially locked on Reigns, and wished to see extra intrigue with the belt on another person.
The consider was that this title change may occur at Summerslam, however Cody Rhodes suffered a torn pectoral muscle that put him out of competitors for 9 months — stopping the story in its tracks.
A return to … greatness?
The 2023 Royal Rumble was the time to place the story again in motion. Rhodes returned from damage, profitable the Royal Rumble match and getting his alternative to face Reigns at WrestleMania.
Absolutely this can be the time for the title to alter palms, proper? No. In a questionable choice WWE had Reigns beat Cody, maintain the title, and rewind Cody’s story as soon as extra. A 12 months of ready resulted in an unsatisfying conclusion, and it was beginning to really feel as soon as extra like Rhodes wasn’t being taken significantly as a fundamental occasion wrestler who may carry the title.
Restarting the story
There was legit intrigue surrounding the 2024 Royal Rumble. Cody Rhodes was within the match, however so was C.M. Punk — one other returned star, one who legitimately eclipsed Rhodes in each method. Punk shared the identical AEW exodus story, however to a better diploma, with many believing that Rhodes can be handed over for Punk.
That didn’t come to move. For the second straight 12 months Rhodes gained the rumble match, and closed out this present by pointing to Roman Reigns within the field seats, teasing the promise of lastly ending the story began two years earlier.
Damage, points, and The Rock
It’s right here we get to what occurred on Friday night time. WWE was reeling from the belief that C.M. Punk was damage and wouldn’t be capable to compete at WrestleMania, paired with needing to sever all connections with Brock Lesnar, who was named as a part of the McMahon intercourse trafficking lawsuit.
It was broadly believed Lesnar would return at WrestleMania to problem Gunther, that Punk would tackle Seth Rollins, with Cody set to go for the title in opposition to Reigns. Now two of the three greatest matches have been off, and WWE wanted to search out some pop.
Cody appeared on WWE Smackdown to inform followers that regardless of pointing to Reigns on the Royal Rumble, he had a change of coronary heart. He wouldn’t be difficult for the championship, which got here to the confusion of followers, at which level The Rock made his return.
Don’t let the group noise confuse you, as a result of a lot of this was faux. Reviews from inside the world have been that there was little or no precise cheering for The Rock coming in and taking Cody’s spot, and the “That is superior” chants have been piped in by WWE over the sector PA techniques.
Some followers joined in, however this was largely manufactured enthusiasm. Followers have been LIVID, booing The Rock each in particular person, and exhibiting their clear displeasure on YouTube, the place the above clip is now the most-disliked video WWE has ever placed on the platform.
What occurs now?
All indicators level to us constructing for a Rock vs. Reigns WrestleMania, which is one thing followers wished to see — however not on the expense of Cody Rhodes ending his story. To make issues worse, this 12 months’s present is going down in Philadelphia, a metropolis the place followers wont hesitate to boo and destroy something they love if it means registering their emotion.
It’s unclear if WWE had any thought this might have the fallout it did, however issues are unhealthy. It is a case of the corporate pondering it is aware of finest, when in actuality it’s dictating what its viewers desires — with out having any understanding of what they need.
This was a knee jerk response by WWE and the query now’s, why? Was this merely due to the accidents? Did the corporate wish to deflect consideration away from the McMahon lawsuit, so it gave one thing new for folks to hate? Regardless of the purpose, at a time the place wrestling followers must be extra excited than ever, they’re crushed.
No one is aware of what to do, aside from boo.