WWE Writer Reveals All About Canceled Plans for “The Rock vs. Roman Reigns”

Brian Gewirtz, WWE writer, revealed that the original plan for WrestleMania 40 was a match between The Rock and Roman Reigns. The idea emerged in a meeting in January, where they discussed the possibility of The Rock returning to face Reigns.

Below is Brian’s full statement:


“This led us to a crucial moment, on January 1st, with the promo involving Jinder Mahal in San Diego. At that time, the possibility of The Rock facing Roman Reigns seemed very real, and we had a meeting in the hotel room we rented for the day in San Diego.”

“Present were me, The Rock, Triple H, and Nick Khan, and we discussed everything in depth. Triple H, as expected, was very attentive and insightful about Cody Rhodes’ story and brought it up. We talked about it for a while, and at the end of the meeting, what’s funny and people don’t know is that everyone liked the promo with Jinder for what it was.”

“But what everyone was discussing at the end was: ‘Should The Rock sit at the bar? At the table? Or should he sit at the head of the table?’ This question came up at the very end of our meeting in San Diego because, while we were talking about Cody, someone said: ‘Well, you know what? I understand what you’re saying. Maybe we should test the audience reaction, not just in San Diego, but worldwide. What if I hinted at it without saying it directly?'”

“We brainstormed how to do that, he did it, and as you saw, the audience went crazy, and the internet did too, and maybe ‘went crazy’ has different levels of intensity depending on whether you’re a hardcore Cody fan and might have thought, ‘wait a second, what’s he talking about?’. But overall, the reaction was extremely positive when he hinted at being the ‘head of the table’, and at that moment, we thought, ‘ok, this gives us the answer. We’re decided’.”

“He made the TKO announcement, went to WWE headquarters. I have, in the end, 96 pages of product ideas, t-shirts, and belt designs from the creative department, and it was pretty much all set at that point, which leads to the question I know you’ll ask, that everyone would naturally ask, which is: ok, if all this was the plan in mid-January, or whenever, why on earth did you have Cody Rhodes win the Royal Rumble? That would be your question, right?”

“Well, let me go back a bit and say that, in full transparency, the idea of Cody winning the Royal Rumble seemed problematic to me. I said, even in the San Diego meeting, that I thought the most logical thing to do if we were planning Rock vs. Roman would be to have CM Punk win the Rumble and challenge Seth Rollins. That’s because, in my opinion, there’s a narrative difference between Cody wanting to finish the story and having earned the right to finish it by winning the Royal Rumble. Once you win the Royal Rumble, the dynamic changes completely. It stops being ‘I want to sacrifice myself to win’ and becomes ‘I’ve earned my place and I’m going to fight for it’.”

About how Rhodes’ Rumble victory changed the original plan’s dynamic, Gewirtz said:

“But Cody’s Rumble win changes everything completely because it goes from something like, ‘yeah, we all want things’, but now he got it and why would he do anything else but focus on Roman? And that’s exactly what he naturally did when he pointed at him. Why wouldn’t he?”

“That’s exactly what that character would do… In the end, I want to write a second book, I think, about all this… I don’t want to reveal everything, but I’ll say, and I can say this with 100% certainty, that the original plan is something that you, Dave (LaGreca), and many, many other people would have hated more than anything in life. I can’t overstate or understate this. I can’t be clearer. But, Punk gets hurt, and the domino pieces start to fall, and things start to change, and then we get to a point now where the WrestleMania press conference is coming.”

“We need to promote something, a main event of some kind, and we’re in that space, and now we get to the infamous promo from Birmingham, Alabama.”