Continue the story: Why Roman Reigns must defeat Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania


The tagline for this year's Showcase of the Immortals may be "WrestleMania Goes Hollywood," but its true mantra seems to be, "Finish the story."

Despite failing in his recent quest to take down the Undisputed Universal Champion, Sami Zayn has vowed to finish his story by destroying Roman Reigns and his familial supergroup, the Bloodline.

Meanwhile, for Cody Rhodes, the winner of the 2023 Royal Rumble, finishing his story means winning the title that slipped through his father's grasp nearly fifty years ago.

Though different objectives, each man's respective goals represent finality. They also place WWE in a quandary.

Annihilating the Samoan dynasty may be the ideal climax for Zayn's character, but it doesn't benefit WWE to sideline its hottest act, even if for a short time.

Conversely, Cody Rhodes' sole purpose is to win the title that's eluded him and his family. As catchy as the headline "American Nightmare achieves his dream" is, the money is in Rhodes' journey, not his destination.

Therefore, rather than finish a story at WrestleMania, WWE's best bet is to continue the saga that's arguably worthy of an Emmy: the ballad of the Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns.

For almost a decade, Roman Reigns has been WWE's central character. As The Big Dog, Reigns won multiple championships and headlined numerous events. But it wasn't until Reigns adopted the persona of a mob boss, one that rivals Tony Soprano, that he finally achieved acceptance from WWE's fan base, despite being a villain.

Over the past three years, Reigns has become the industry's most compelling star and his company's longest-reigning world champion since the 1980s. He is the protagonist in wrestling's hottest soap opera, the main character that audiences follow. Indeed, Reigns is the head of the table.

And being the leading force in any lore comes with the burden of overcoming the most significant obstacles.


At WrestleMania, Reigns faces a determined Cody Rhodes in a match for not only wrestling's richest prize but for each's man right to claim bragging rights for their respective families. Along the way, Reigns must keep his eyes on Sami Zayn and Zayn's on-again, off-again partner Kevin Owens.

If that were not enough, Reigns must also contend with internal strife within his family and the shattered bond he now seems to have with his cousin and right-hand man, Jey Uso. And it stands to reason that, as Jey goes, so goes his brother Jimmy.

There's also reason to examine the motivation of Solo Sikoa, the Usos' younger brother. Sent by the family's elders to serve as the enforcer of the Bloodline, Sikoa's role is to protect the family's best interests. But does that include protecting Roman's best interests?

Finally, there's Reigns' march toward history.

Roman Reigns concurrently holds the WWE and Universal Championships. While Reigns is closing in on one year with the WWE crown in his possession, his death grip on the Universal title has him on the cusp of immortality.

At over 900 days, Reigns is on the verge of becoming just the fifth man to hold a WWE world title for one thousand days uninterrupted. A longshot to surpass Bruno Sammartino's whopping 2,803 days at the top of Mount WWE, Reigns has a legitimate chance to move into third place all time, just past the legendary Hulk Hogan.

The pursuit of these records is a story that almost writes itself. It's also a money-making opportunity for WWE, as Reigns' chase for greatness is ripe for marketing and publicity, similar to an athlete in the hunt for their sport's most hallowed records.

In a sense, Reigns stands to become pro wrestling's Cal Ripken Jr., who set Major League Baseball's record for most consecutive games played in 1995. As Ripken's achievement made him baseball's celebrated Iron Man, so, too, could Roman Reigns become WWE's Iron Champion of the modern era.

It's also worth a reminder that Reigns is accomplishing all this as WWE's premier bad guy. A return to hero amid this run could add a few more chapters to his story.

In the last year, Cody Rhodes' return and the revival of Sami Zayn have reinvigorated WWE television. And with the potential of some "big" free agent signings and a call-up from NXT possibly on the horizon, WWE programming stands to grow stronger.

But in the prime of his career, with countless creative and financial avenues to explore and a part-time schedule that will extend his shelf life, the story of Roman Reigns is far from being over. And it's why when the book closes on WrestleMania, the last line must read, "to be continued..."

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