WWE WrestleMania 40’s first major press conference commenced on February 8 amid controversy involving The Rock, Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns.
By the end of the press conference, Roman Reigns—referring to Cody Rhodes as Mr. Hesitation—chose The Rock as his WrestleMania 40 opponent. This brought out Cody Rhodes, who challenged Reigns to the WrestleMania main event. Michael Cole announced that it will be Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship at WrestleMania. It was also strongly suggested that The Rock is also in the main event picture.
The Rock’s latest surprise return led to speculation that the WWE legend and 51-year-old TKO Board Member would be headlining WrestleMania 40 in place of Rhodes. This led to ubiquitous vitriol and worldwide outrage directed at The Rock. Under fire for the past several days, which even included the return of “Rocky Sucks” chants, a heelish Rock responded today on the Pat McAfee show by calling Rhodes’ fervent audience “Cody Crybabies.”
Nobody truly knows the direction of WrestleMania 40, including Dave Meltzer who has “reported” every scenario possible just to cover his bases. The #WeWantCody movement has been a boon for WWE’s viewership and interest, and its WrestleMania Kickoff Press Conference added direction to its main event picture.
WWE WrestleMania 40 Kickoff Results
After a video package, featuring a reference to the Yes Movement, WWE began its WrestleMania Press Conference. Michael Cole opened the Press Conference, joined by Pat McAfee, Big E and “AJ Lee’s husband” CM Punk.
Every reference to The Rock was booed heavily included a dueling chant of “we want Cody-Rocky Sucks!” The reference to Cody Crybabies was booed as well.
After a backstage report from Jackie Redmond and some words from Paul Heyman, Heyman reminded the viewing public that—despite everybody talking about The Rock and Cody Rhodes—everybody is talking about who gets to headline WrestleMania against Roman Reigns.
Triple H Appears Live
Triple H talks about the history of WrestleMania dating back to WrestleMania 1, to WrestleMania airing on closed-circuit television, to pay-per-view to eventually airing on Netflix
Triple H said it is a new time, a new era and an all-new WWE. He promised that “you ain’t seen nothin yet.”
Triple H signs off with his signature “are you ready?!” catchphrase.
Bianca Belair Speaks
Bianca Belair appeared during the week of the Super Bowl to talk about WWE’s Super Bowl, WrestleMania.
Belair promoted her Hulu show Love and WWE, and talked about how she made history at WrestleMania 37 with Sasha Banks who became the first Black women to headline WrestleMania.
Belair discussed her undefeated WrestleMania record to cheers, but she’s not currently champion. Somebody shouted “that’s okay!” and she said “it is okay.” Belair teased going after a championship, and will likely be competing in the Elimination Chamber.
Rhea Ripley Faces Off With Becky Lynch
Rhea Ripley received a great ovation to rousing cheers, and described herself as the most dominant women’s champion of all time. She seemed legit thrown off by the amount of “Mami” chants she received.
Ripley promoted her upcoming match against Nia Jax (boos) in Australia, and said she’ll be ready for whoever wins. This prompted an appearance by Becky Lynch.
Fans sang Lynch’s song as Becky was almost as over as Ripley.
Lynch promoted the potential matchup between her and Ripley, which she dubbed “Mami vs. The Man.” After more “Mami” chants, Lynch said she’s made a legendary career out of knocking golden girls from their top spots, and Mami is going to find out what it’s like to be at the bottom. The two face off as WWE advertised its upcoming segments.
Cody Rhodes, The Rock To Headline WrestleMania 40 Against Roman Reigns
Seth Rollins appeared next and said he wanted to know the WrestleMania main event. While attempting to introduce Cody Rhodes, Rollins was interrupted by Roman Reigns.
Las Vegas acknowledged Reigns with cheers and brief “Tribal Chief” chants. This led to a confrontation between Reigns and Rollins, who opened the festivities with “he showed up to work once.” Reigns clapped back and said Rollins showed up to work in his wife’s shoes. The two talked over each other before Reigns continued by calling Rhodes “Mr. Hesitation.” As a result, Reigns said tonight he chooses who faces him in the main event of WrestleMania, and he chooses The Rock.
The Rock walked out—dressed in all black—to accept the challenge. Rocky received mostly cheers, but was booed the second his music shut off. Amid the boos, there were some “Rocky” chants mixed in with “Cody” chants.
Rock did his “finally” line as anticipation built. Rock asked whether fans thought he was going to beat the Tribal Chief and they chanted “we want Cody!” Rock asked if fans thought this would be the biggest main event in WWE history and got booed.
A frustrated Rock introduced the press, and the millions watching at home, to the Cody Crybabies. Loud boos. Rock showed the crowd his family Bloodline Tree, and was jeered even more. Rock also had to battle “what” chants.
Rock seemed to go full heel by telling the crowd “if you don’t think Rock vs. Roman isn’t the biggest main event in WrestleMania history…it doesn’t matter what you think.”
The Rock said whether fans like it or don’t like it, Rock and Roman are in the biggest main event in WrestleMania history—bound by blood. He then hugs Roman Reigns.
Cody Rhodes walks out to massive cheers. Rhodes said “this right here is bull—t.”
Rhodes said it is not Reigns’ choice to choose whom he faces at WrestleMania. Rhodes then said he has made his decision. At WrestleMania 40, in the main event, he chooses Roman Reigns. Fans explode in cheers with poor Seth Rollins standing off to the side, forgotten.
Reigns told Rhodes to go to the loser’s bracket with the “dummy in green (Rollins).”
Reigns called Rhodes’ dad irrelevant, and Rhodes responded by telling Reigns he doesn’t have family, he has goons. And none of them have been doing any of the cooking for two years. Rhodes said if Reigns’ grandfather or the Peter Maivia were here, they’d be ashamed of Roman Reigns.
Heel Rock said that when Cody’s talking about Reigns’ family, he’s talking about The Rock’s family. When he’s talking about Reigns’ ancestors, he’s talking about Rock’s ancestors. When he’s talking about Reigns’ blood, he’s talking about Rock’s blood. Rock proceeded to slap Rhodes as a skirmish broke out.
Rollins and Rock got into a profanity laced shouting match as Seth stormed off and the crowd booed The Rock out of the damn building. With no fake dirtsheet reporters getting stonewalled by wrestlers who don’t respect them, this was WWE’s greatest press conference ever.
Following the press conference, The Rock and Triple H had (curse) words with each other during a backstage segment. And the Road to WrestleMania figures to be wild.
First appeared on www.forbes.com