WWE: The WrestleMania XL Kickoff was brilliant storytelling

Things got heated between Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes, and The Rock during the WrestleMania 40 Kickoff and it was everything a WWE fan could want.

The Rock and Cody Rhodes at the WWE WrestleMania 40 Kickoff press conference. (Courtesy of WWE.com)
The Rock and Cody Rhodes at the WWE WrestleMania 40 Kickoff press conference. (Courtesy of WWE.com) /
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The road to WWE WrestleMania starts when the Royal Rumble ends. Once the Royal Rumble winners are crowned, you can start guessing what the WrestleMania main event will be. Within the first week, one decision was finalized, as Bayley made her intentions clear to face Iyo Sky at WrestleMania XL. Meanwhile, Cody Rhodes was undecided on who he would face.

Seth Rollins told Cody he was the worthy WrestleMania opponent. Later that week on SmackDown, Cody stepped to the side and let Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson confront Roman Reigns. This angered the wrestling community. People wanted Cody to finish his story. That meant challenging and defeating Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. It seemed like that wasn’t going to happen. Then, the WrestleMania XL Kickoff happened and changed everything.

During the Kickoff, Roman Reigns decided who he wanted to face at WrestleMania 40. He picked his cousin, The Rock, who came out to a myriad of boos. But the audience's reaction didn't phase either superstar. They’re used to jeers. It’s part of the job description. They didn’t expect Cody Rhodes to show up and call them out.

Cody reminded both men that choosing the WrestleMania main event isn’t their decision to make. As the Royal Rumble winner, it’s his. And with that, he chose Roman Reigns.

""And when you're talking about his blood, you're talking about my blood. And now we have a problem.""

The Rock

This is normal for the WWE. Superstars come out, talk trash, and leave. The brilliance came later. The insults between the generational talents got personal. Roman said Cody was irrelevant just like his dad (who passed away in 2015). That forced Cody to pause, but only for a second.

Cody reminded Roman that Jey Uso is blood and he left him. He even called out Jimmy and Solo for being his lackeys and his meal ticket. Then, as Michael Jordan said, Rocky took that personally. He slapped Cody, effectively ending the show and any chance at peace between them.

When you know wrestling is scripted, it’s difficult to get into storylines. You know it’s not usually personal. However, every so often, moments like this come around. The best in the business made it a point to put on a show. After the kickoff (in the clip above) you can see that things didn’t end on the stage.

The Rock was furiously telling Triple H to “fix this.” You don’t normally see this much cursing on a WWE show (not since the Attitude Era at least). Doing this added some welcome realism to the moment. It wasn’t swearing just for the sake of it. It was an emotionally driven moment that called for some not-so-nice words. The best part is this is only the beginning.

In the upcoming weeks leading to WrestleMania 40, fans are probably going to see a lot of The Rock. Despite Roman being on SmackDown, Cody Rhodes will probably still show up on Raw. When Cody shows up this Monday, Dwayne Johnson probably won’t be far behind. And, it's not as if he won't be on SmackDown to back up or challenge his cousin.

Pay close attention to this. We could be witnessing the greatest WrestleMania build-up ever. Stay tuned to Bam Smack Pow for updates on how heated things continue to get.

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