Why WWE Should Avoid Roman Reigns vs. The Rock at WrestleMania 40

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It sure sounds like The Rock vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40 could happen, considering certain comments by the former recently.

Just one request—please don’t.

A Rock-Reigns main event at ‘Mania sounds amazing, almost like the perfect end to the Tribal Chief’s Bloodline story that has captivated pro wrestling with near-unstoppable momentum.

Except it’s too late.

First, what The Rock told Pat McAfee during a recent interview before his surprise appearance on the September 15 edition of SmackDown

Long story short, Rock seemed to confirm that this was actually the main-event plan for WrestleMania 39 before plans changed. He also noted that he’s open to the match at WrestleMania 40 in Philadelphia.

But that’s just it—the big chance to get this right was at ‘Mania 39. Everything about the build to that event seemed to lay the groundwork for a Rock return, from the Royal Rumble to ‘Mania itself going down in Hollywood.

Instead, fans got this awkward-feeling Cody Rhodes rumble win and sudden insertion into a family-based storyline, only for him to lose. Granted, Rhodes messing around with Brock Lesnar and others before linking back up with Reigns to “finish the story” at 40 isn’t all that appealing either.

But it feels like things have organically moved on at this point. The time is now for Reigns to be defending and ultimately losing the unified titles, potentially to someone like Solo Sikoa after a betrayal. Or, even riding this surprising wave of momentum Jey Uso suddenly enjoys on Raw.

Rock coming in now would derail both of those chances in a major way and extend a Bloodline story that is already starting to wear thin with fans. Sure, it would get a pop when fans first realize what’s happening, but those supposed story idea differences that stopped this from happening at 39 will probably pop up when discussing it happening at 40, too. Because in this hypothetical, if Rock wins, then what? He drops it to someone else, but the winner never bested Roman? And what if Reigns wins, another year with the titles?

Truth is—and this will get an eye roll from some, but it is what it is—Rock vs. Reigns doesn’t need a title. WWE would be much better off having the current Tribal Chief go to ‘Mania and lose to either Sikoa or Jey. Or, if WWE so insists, Rhodes. Though we won’t waste hundreds of words on it here, Seth Rollins and that Shield connection would make more sense if they want to go outside of a family angle to end it.

Anyway, maybe the best move would be Reigns losing at WrestleMania 40, then a feud with Rock kicks in. The reasoning behind the matchup can be whatever it wants then because it suddenly isn’t tied to the titles and possibly ruining chances for other Superstars who will be in WWE longer (Rock is a part-timer at best and Reigns might be going Hollywood himself).

This way, fans could still be happy as it gets that Rock is back and totally unconcerned with the long-term ramifications. The idea this feud would need titles at all feels like a byproduct of the bygone Vince McMahon era of creative anyway.

The only title necessary between Rock and Reigns would be the title of Tribal Chief, anyway. It would be the biggest match in a long time, perhaps bigger than Stone Cold’s return, even if it does need to wait until WrestleMania 41 (and Stone Cold didn’t need a title, either).

All of this even presumes Rock would come back. He’s 51 years old already and had his last actual long program with a full match in 2013 with John Cena (the quick joke match against Erick Rowan at ‘Mania in 2016 doesn’t count). He even suffered an injury during the match against Cena at WrestleMania 29.

Right now, Bloodline as a whole and this Reigns run registers as one of the best sagas of pro wrestling ever. His holding the title an extra long time while waiting for Rock to come out of movie limbo for a match would diminish both the story and reign, spoiling it in hindsight.

So much of pro wrestling is timing. If Reigns had bested the Rock at the last ‘Mania and we were just getting knee deep into Reigns-Jey-Jimmy beef the entire story would be even more well regarded.

But the timing was botched. That creates a ripple effect. WrestleMania 40 is where Reigns should drop the belts, then opening the door for a legitimate feud with the Rock that doesn’t have messy long-term story ramifications. Maybe Rock even comes in during the aftermath motivated and angry at Roman for tearing the family apart.

Fun and lucrative as Rock-Reigns at WrestleMania 40 would be, it would serve as doubling down on the timing mistake and run the risk of spoiling the hard work already invested in an all-timer of a story and run.

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