The Rock On Not Facing Roman Reigns At WWE WrestleMania 40, His Current Heel Character

An essential aspect of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's verbiage since returning to WWE and joining the TKO board of directors has been "fingers on the pulse". Perhaps this has been best exemplified in his "Final Boss" heel turn leading into WrestleMania weekend, which, as Johnson himself explained during "The Will Cain Show," marks a swift departure from what had been originally planned. 


"The original plan was for me to come back as the babyface, the big babyface, come back and face Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship and put on here in Philadelphia the biggest main event of all time," he explained.

Johnson then went into further detail about why changes needed to be made.

"As I came back, I started to realize that while fans love the idea of The Rock and Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, there was also this other storyline building that they had been invested in for a couple of years with a guy named Cody Rhodes," he said. "One or two things could have happened in that moment, and this happened in January, we could have either kept trucking through — I'm a director of the board, I got a little bit of influence here in the WWE, we could have kept trucking through."


Johnson noted that while they could have remained on the planned path, it dawned on him in Hawaii that he would be leaving a subset of fans totally disappointed and would also negatively impact Cody Rhodes. 

"So back in January I called Nick Khan — our friend — and I said I have an idea, how about this, why don't we take care of the people, give them the story of Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns? I said, however, it's a little bit of a twist," The Rock recalled. "He said 'What's that?' I said, 'What if I became the greatest bad guy of all time?' That was the attempt and the intention."

The Final Boss has been lurking for some time

Johnson continued to discuss his "Final Boss" character, which developed as he embraced a heel persona for the first time in over a decade. Furthermore, it was reported that Johnson himself pitched the change. Johnson said that it had been something in the pipeline for years and explained why the change was needed.


"It has been lurking for some time now," he said. "For years, by the way, because if you think about it, it's nice to be considered ... the good guy, the big babyface, the hero who comes in and saves the day. But also, again, when you think about authenticity ... 'What if I became a bad guy?', and then I was able to not be pretzeled and be visceral and be open ... say the s*** everyone wants to say but they can't say. Let me do that."

Johnson would go on to dive deeper into the essence of his character, saying that the spiritual inspiration for the "Final Boss" is Darth Vader, the iconic Sith lord from the "Star Wars" franchise. In the film saga, Vader undergoes an arc as the supposed "Chosen One," manipulated by dark forces while growing disillusioned with those he calls friends, to eventually become the right-hand of destruction next to the Emperor. Those are some striking parallels with the current "Final Boss" joining forces with the "Tribal Chief" Roman Reigns against Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins at WrestleMania.