Backstage Report On Scrapped WWE Plans For Cody Rhodes, The Rock & The Bloodline

Last week's WrestleMania 40 Kickoff press event saw Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson join forces with Roman Reigns, while 2024 men's Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes revealed he would challenge "The Tribal Chief" for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at the two-night show in April. That presser followed several days of confusion, after "The American Nightmare" seemingly stepped aside to allow Johnson to face Reigns at WrestleMania. According to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, there was once a different idea on the table heading into last Thursday's event in Las Vegas.


Per the report, WWE CCO Paul "Triple H" Levesque had a plan to shoot an injury angle on the February 2 episode of "WWE SmackDown" — the same night Rhodes said he wouldn't be challenging Reigns at WrestleMania 40 and Johnson confronted Reigns — where The Bloodline would "take out" Rhodes. That would have then led to Reigns vs. Johnson being officially announced for Philadelphia at the Kickoff. However, Rhodes would eventually return and challenge for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Although things played out a lot differently, it's said that Levesque "scrambled" to keep Rhodes in the mix at all times.

Additionally, the newsletter mentioned "Rhodes was never going to get screwed" and he was always set to face Reigns, although it was unclear whether that title clash would be at WrestleMania or another premium live event down the line. Furthermore, the Rhodes injury angle idea for the February 2 "SmackDown" was ultimately nixed after CM Punk, who was reportedly set to challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 40, got injured in the 2024 men's Royal Rumble match. Levesque initially touted Rhodes to fill Punk's spot, with a title match against Reigns coming at a later date. However, it was determined that Rollins vs. Rhodes would have made "no sense" if the trigger was pulled on The Bloodline attacking Rhodes.