Cody Rhodes Will Face Roman Reigns For Undisputed WWE Universal Title At WrestleMania XL

The word is out: Cody Rhodes will challenge Roman Reigns at WrestleMania XL.

The WrestleMania 40 press conference in Las Vegas was nothing if not explosive. For the entirety of the men's segments, chants of "we want Cody", "let's go Rocky", and "Rocky sucks" reverberated off of the walls of the T-Mobile arena.

Roman Reigns made the first move by announcing that he wants to face Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in Philadelphia. "The Rock" came out immediately after to greet Las Vegas, and was met by a swelling wave of boo's. Johnsonstood silent for several minutes as the audience continuously hijacked the segment with chants, boo's, and off-handed comments. Once the crowd offered a moment of quiet, Johnson formally welcomed the many media journalists in attendance, and introduced them to the "Cody Crybabies".

Johnson presented a picture of the extensive Anoa'i family tree, and spoke about how Amituana'i Anoa'i and Fanene Anderson (formerly known as Peter Maivia), Reigns' and Johnson's grandfathers respectively, tied together their lineages in a blood oath to become aiga, or "family". Johnson leveraged the history of the Anoa'i clan and their contributions to professional wrestling in order to validate a match between him and Reigns at WrestleMania 40.

Rhodes made his presence known with little introduction, and confronted Reigns and Johnson directly. He chastised Reigns for seizing the Royal Rumble victor's power to choose any champion at WrestleMania. Rhodes reclaimed that power, and told Reigns, Johnson, Seth Rollins, and the entire world that he would be meeting Reigns in Philadelphia for WrestleMania 40.

Rock and Rhodes get physical

Reigns attempted to invoke Rhodes' father and his forgotten legacy to demoralize Rhodes. "The American Nightmare" shot back, and invoked both Reigns' and Johnson's family-based reasoning. He claimed that the Reigns did not care about family, given his treatment of Jey Uso, and that Reigns was just a "meal ticket". He also criticized the reasoning behind a match with Reigns and Johnson, claiming that the two men were fighting to be the head of the table, but neither had "cooked", or performed, in two years. Rhodes finished with scathing vitriol, and told Reigns and Johnson that their grandfathers, should they be alive, would be "ashamed" of where their grandsons were.

Johnson did not take too kindly to Rhodes' comments, and reminded Rhodes that any attack on Reigns' lineage was an attack on his (Johnson's). Johnson physically attacked Rhodes, and it took the efforts of multiple WWE officials to separate all involved parties. The fans chanted and whooped as Rhodes, Johnson, and Rollins hurled expletives at each other, and Rhodes was escorted off the stage.

While "The Rock" has expressed a strong desire to be an active participant in Reigns' WrestleMania 40 plans, his official place in the match has yet to be determined. As of writing, Rhodes has officially chosen to challenge Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania XL.

Finishing the story

The press conference is just the latest chapter in the story that Rhodes has been promising to finish for nearly two years now. After Rhodes made his return to the company at WWE WrestleMania 38, he made it no secret that he had his eyes on the current iteration of the WWE Championship, the title his father was never able to capture. Dusty Rhodes had once defeated "Superstar" Billy Graham while Graham held the WWE Championship but, because the victory came from a count-out, Dusty did not win the title. Many years later, Dusty's son has made it his mission to capture today's version — the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship held by Reigns.

Rhodes first had his shot last year at WWE WrestleMania 39. He faced Reigns in the main event but interference from members of The Bloodline kept Rhodes from pinning "The Tribal Chief." Since then, Rhodes has been adamant that he'll work his way back to that position once again. After winning the Men's Royal Rumble for the second year in a row, Rhodes immediately pointed to Reigns, making his WrestleMania plans clear.

The arrival of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson on "WWE SmackDown" complicated matters, sending wrestling fans into widespread panic over the past week. While it seems as though Rhodes and probably Rollins will face off against The Rock and Reigns, the only certain thing is that Rhodes will challenge Reigns for his title in the main event of WrestleMania in less than two months, joining Bayley vs. IYO SKY as the only two official matches.

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