Backstage News On The Rock Pushing For Roman Reigns Match At WWE WrestleMania 40

(Photo Credit: WWE)

The fallout from WWE’s decision to feature The Rock vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40 rather than Reigns defending the Undisputed WWE Universal Title against Cody Rhodes on Friday’s SmackDown continues.

As previously reported, WWE is expected to make Reigns vs. Rock official at WrestleMania this Thursday during the WrestleMania Kickoff event.

PWInsider confirmed that Dave Meltzer’s report on plans was changed following a strong push by The Rock, which was supported by TKO executives.

The report said, “”Some sources believe it was done by Johnson to, as one source stated, “save Wrestlemania” after CM Punk and Brock Lesnar, for very different reasons, were taken off the board from the biggest weekend of the year.”

Other sources believe Rock pushed for it because of his massive $30 million stock payout, and the stock could have been contingent on him meeting certain milestones. According to sources, Rock believed wrestling Reigns would be a better match for the company than Rhodes. This could have occurred regardless of the other Mania plans changing because “The Rock was back in the game, and the most important members of company management were going to acquiesce to Dwayne Johnson’s ideas.”

The company believed that with The Rock on the Board of Directors, his Hollywood reputation, and the support of Ari Emanuel, Nick Khan, and others, Rock vs. Reigns would serve as a more mainstream attraction while also helping to push positive momentum in the company at a time when the Vince McMahon allegations had dominated headlines.

A source did draw a parallel to when Rock attempted to take over the overall creative for the DC film franchise, but was thwarted after he went over executives’ heads to their superiors to get his ideas approved and make Black Adam a new franchise after just one film. He lost that battle when Warner Bros. Discovery gave that power to James Gunn and Peter Saffron.

PWInsider was told that Rock’s replacement of Rhodes was not done with malice to target him or politic Rhodes out of the match, but rather because he felt he was the better person to make money now and respect his new position with the parent company.

“This was a strategic move to give Johnson more political power overall and to show Endeavor’s faith in his involvement and that even Paul Levesque, who has done an admirable job as the Chief Creative Officer, would “lose that power struggle with Johnson at this point,” as one source surmised.”

As noted, Brian Gewirtz, former Senior Vice President of Development at Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions, will be in the mix as usual, as he is always involved whenever The Rock is doing something with WWE, assisting with The Rock’s creative process given his history as a former head of WWE creative for several years.

Some believe he could even be a “Plan B” if Endeavor ever needs to change WWE’s creative direction under Triple H and go with a Rock-backed creative team in the future.