Grand Slam champion Seth Rollins didn’t realize all he had to do was ask his boss to get on the WrestleMania card. WWE and Cody Rhodes are determined to make his return to the company a surprise, and a big deal.
The Road to WrestleMania 38
Heading into the Mar. 7 Raw, Rollins was really confident he and Kevin Owens would win the Raw Tag Team titles. Whoever left with the belts that night, we were told, was guaranteed a a match this weekend in Arlington, Texas’ AT&T Stadium at the Granddaddy of Them All.
RK-Bro won that match, and sure enough, they are in the ‘Mania line-up (along with the team they took the titles from). KO thought quick, and secured himself a segment with Stone Cold Steve Austin. Seth was left scrambling for scraps.
He tried to take Owens’ gig, then went after AJ Styles’ match with Edge. When neither panned out, he announced his intention to hold Raw hostage. That got him a meeting with Mr. McMahon, which turns out is all he needed in the first place.
About that hand-picked opponent... all signs point to it being Cody Rhodes. Rumors and reports have been all over the place since Cody & his wife Brandi left AEW, the company they helped found after leaving WWE the first time. But despite what seems to be Rhodes’ best efforts to sow doubt, almost everyone expects him to make his first appearance for Vince McMahon’s company since 2016 on Saturday night.
What happens after that? That’s when it gets interesting...
What to watch for
Landing Cody is something of a coup for Vince and team, a message to the industry that they’ll sign big stars from anywhere (and implying much of the talent flowing in the other direction are people they don’t want anyway). The 36 year old Rhodes is believed to have left AEW because he wasn’t getting what he wanted in terms of creative input as much as financial compensation.
Assuming it is the American Nightmare that walks down the ramp at WrestleMania tonight, the least interesting part of this story will be over. We can stop wondering if Cody’s showing up, and start seeing what happens after he does.
Will he booked to defeat a former WWE and Universal champion in Rollins? Is that going to be the start of a long program, and if so, will it be full of the 50/50 booking and non-finishes designed to protect stars that frustrate fans? Can McMahon book Cody like a star in order to attract other high profile talents, or will he be tempted to “make an example out of him” like many WCW wrestlers were in the aughts?
What about Rhodes? Do his behind-the-scenes come true in WWE, or has he resigned himself to putting his dreams of following in his father’s footsteps in all aspects of the business on hold for now? Does an on-screen alliance with Vince mean he’s also walking back his vow to never play a heel?
This story’s going to be one of the most interesting ones in recent memory — especially now that the least interesting part is almost over.
Tell us what you think happens tonight at WrestleMania 38, and stick around for coverage of all the drama that follows!
Who will win?
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Vince McMahon’s handpicked opponent