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The Rock on why ‘locked’ WrestleMania 39 match with Roman Reigns didn’t happen, teases one for WrestleMania 40

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a guest on today’s edition of The Pat McAfee Show (now on ESPN and YouTube).

The 10 time WWE champion and movie & television superstar opened up about his plans to return to the ring, and those rumors about a showdown with his cousin, current Undisputed WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns.

Rocky told Pat Mac that, contrary to popular belief, it’s not so much getting in wrestling shape or injury concerns that worry him about potentially strapping up the boots again. It’s that if he comes back, the “North Star” that guides his decision is that he wants to do create something new & special for the fans.

So, McAfee asked, how close did that come to happening for WrestleMania 39 in SoFi Stadium?

“All right, so The Rock headlining WrestleMania with Roman Reigns, Sofi Stadium. That was locked. What we were doing [laughs]. No, We were doing it. We were doing it.

“But let me just tell you, so — about in the beginning of 2022, Nick Khan, who we know, shout to Nick, very good friend, long time — for years. He’s the man. He was very instrumental in bringing Vince [McMahon] and I together. We all flew to LA, we met, we sat. This is the beginning of 2022, and we broke out the Teramana [the tequila brand Johnson owns]. We toasted life, toasted the business we love. And about an hour later, we started talking about the potential of what this match could be between myself and Roman Reigns, headlining WrestleMania at SoFi. And we shook hands and we hugged right there, all three of us at the table and said, ‘Let’s do this.’

“And so the North Star, though. So then we had a year to really think about this. So the North Star thought was, okay, let’s not do something good. Let’s not do something great. Let’s do something unprecedented. And it was in what we can create for the fans that has never been done before.

“A match. Great. Roman, incredible athlete. He’s going to be on Mount Rushmore... Good dude, my cousin, family — amazing. We can have the match, but the bigger thought was what can we do for the fans in this business that we love that will — where WrestleMania isn’t the end of something, it’s actually the beginning of something bigger.

“So, we got really, really close. But we couldn’t actually nail what that thing was. So we decided to put our pencils down, and then we agreed, ‘Hey, listen, there is a merger [with UFC as TKO after Endeavor’s acquisition of WWE] coming up. Eventually, that will happen. There’s WrestleMania in Philadelphia.”

That got a (kind of) eyebrow raise out of McAfee, who then asked, “So what are you saying?”

“I’m saying that’s a potential, too. So I’m open, open, open. I’m open. But again — let’s figure out what that is. Because the fans deserve something just incredible and unprecedented.

“And not only that, but I also want to deliver to the locker room, and the boys, and the girls back there working their asses off. What can we do to put them in a position where they’re part of something that is a new change in era in this world of pro wrestling? Again, Vince is a big-picture thinker, as you know. [‘Yes, sir,’ replied McAfee] And this is why we’ve gotten along for years. Just trying to think big picture.”

DJ also wisely evades a question about McMahon’s mustache.

Will he evade another showdown with the Tribal Chief at WrestleMania 40 in Philly’s Lincoln Financial Field? Are you interested in that? On its own, or as the start of a “new change in era in this world of pro wrestling?”

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