Roman Reigns’ reign as Undisputed WWE champion has been historic in more ways than one. It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic worked wonders for Roman, and no, not because he went away for a bit, but because when there were no fans in arenas, he managed to create his Tribal Chief character with no fans heckling him.
When fans returned to arenas, everyone acknowledged his greatness. Flanked by the incredible Paul Heyman, The Usos, and later by Solo Sikoa, The Bloodline was the best thing going for WWE for the past year or so. Everyone threw those ones in the air, every city acknowledged the head of the table.
Not pinned for over 1,200 days and headlining the third straight WrestleMania defending the titles in the same reign is truly a massive achievement.
But all good things must come to an end. And on WrestleMania Sunday, it’s the best time for his historic reign to come to an end.
There have been other occasions were fans thought for sure he was going to lose. Against Drew McIntyre at Clash at the Castle would have been a great feel-good moment. Drew came close, but the correct winner walked out with the title. Sami Zayn at Elimination Chamber would have been out of this world, but the correct winner walked out with the title.
It’s all about the big picture. Granted, WWE is not the best when it comes to wrestlers winning in their hometown, so the previous results should have been somewhat predictable.
But with Cody Rhodes, WWE has their next big thing.
Rewind 14 months and we have a totally different picture in WWE. And AEW. Cody Rhodes was wrestling in the company he co-founded without a contract. No one believed he would leave. And oh boy did he leave. He came back to WWE with a mission, to become the first Rhodes to win the big one.
Cody had a love/hate relationship with the AEW audience. It started love/love, but it didn’t take long to turn into love/hate. He loved them, but they hated him. He wasn’t a heel but was getting booed. For whatever reason, Cody decided it was best to pack his bags and go back to the company he fled from years earlier.
It worked. His return at WrestleMania was magical. Fans welcomed the man who destroyed a throne and badmouthed WWE at every opportunity with open arms. He was the face. Fans treated him as the big babyface. And you could see that he loved it during the emotional interviews that followed.
It’s what he wanted all along from the AEW fans but couldn’t get it. Over behind enemy lines, WWE fans forgave the American Nightmare and cheered for him all the way. He returned that love by “doing the work” as he says. His injury at Hell In A Cell last year, wrestling with a horrific torn pec, gained him a ton of extra points in the eyes of WWE fans and WWE management, even after a hot start and a long spell injured, still believed in him. His merchandise sales are a big indicator of how over and loved Cody Rhodes is among the WWE Universe.
His return and win at the Royal Rumble was as predictable as ever. Predictable isn’t bad when things make sense. Cody Rhodes winning the Rumble made sense. I firmly believe that had he not injured himself, he would have won the Money In The Bank in Las Vegas. But as faith would have it, “the story” had an alternate ending for him.
Rhodes now has the chance of dethroning the Tribal Chief at the same event that he made his surprise return to last year. The biggest stage of them all. The show of shows. The Super Bowl of professional wrestling. WrestleMania. There’s no better place where to win the WWE championship: in the main event of WrestleMania.
WWE now has to pull the trigger on this one. Yes, Roman’s historic run was amazing, but it’s time to freshen things up. It’s time for WWE to get a nightmare in the form of the American one, Cody Rhodes.
There will be many shocked faces if Roman walks out of SoFi Stadium with his Undisputed WWE Universal title.
This whole build for Cody Rhodes deserves only one ending: #AndNew.