What’s ‘Plan B’ For WWE If The Rock Doesn’t Return For WrestleMania 39?

The Rock is not guaranteed to show up at WrestleMania 39


December 20, 2022

WWE seemingly has put its faith in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson showing up for a WrestleMania 39 match against his real-life cousin and Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns.

The Bloodline is the company’s top faction, and Reigns has proclaimed himself as the “Head of the Table” of the legendary Anoa’i family. It only makes sense for The Rock to come in and challenge that claim. However, there has been no guarantee of this idea becoming a reality.

The Rock is the top star in Hollywood, and he has been busy with many projects. Plus, his last WWE match was in 2013 against John Cena, and during that match, he tore his abdominal and abductor muscles and suffered a hernia. This nearly pushed back filming for “Hercules,” which potentially would have cost the studio millions of dollars.

The injury risk could be too much for producers, and that could halt WWE’s plans. It’s why WWE must have a “Plan B” if The Rock is unable to wrestle on April 1 or April 2. Star power will be the key for the company’s plans.

WrestleMania moving to a two-night event theoretically means Reigns could appear on both shows to defend the WWE Championship one night and the Universal Championship in another. WWE could use two stars to combine for what The Rock could bring, but this would be a major misstep. It rings of something Vince McMahon would do, especially if Reigns were to lose one night and win the other.

Chief content officer Paul Levesque, also known as Triple H, must choose one star to push for the main event of WrestleMania 39. Sami Zayn is a possible choice. WWE has treaded water with The Bloodline, with Zayn’s antics being the constant on a weekly basis. McMahon has never seen the “honorary Uce” as a legit champion, and it’s not clear where Levesque stands.

Kevin Owens earned the honor of a main event match against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at WrestleMania 38, so he could be trusted to take on Reigns. The problem would be adding more interest in the potential feud. Owens tried and failed to take on Reigns at the 2021 Royal Rumble, so is there interest in seeing that match again? WWE might believe so, as Owens will be teaming with a returning Cena to take on Reigns and Zayn next Friday.

Speaking of Cena, why a different Hollywood star? The 45-year-old is an emerging star with roles in “F9” and “The Suicide Squad.” Similar to Owens, however, WWE already has done the big match between Cena and Reigns at last year’s SummerSlam. The company did good business at that program, but the audience might want something different.

This is where an old rival and a familiar face comes in. Seth Rollins has not faced Reigns in a televised match since this year’s Royal Rumble, which end in a disqualification. The pair’s last match was at a live event at Madison Square Garden.

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The former Shield stablemates have gone in different directions since their encounters, with Rollins turning heel and basing his character off wearing gaudy clothes. However, the former world champion has started to shift toward being a babyface, teaming up with Owens against The Usos on Monday. Rollins could move on from his feud with Austin Theory for the United States Championship, win the Royal Rumble and take on Reigns.

Rollins is a trusted main event star and can deliver an entertaining match when asked upon. WWE also could bank on Cody Rhodes. “The American Nightmare” has been out since he underwent successful surgery to repair a torn right pectoral tendon. Fans got a clear and graphic view of the injury at Hell in a Cell on June 5, but Rhodes went out and put on a stellar performance against Rollins.

It was deemed the recovery from the injury would take nine months. The Royal Rumble in January would be ahead of schedule, but Rhodes only would need to come out last and perform a handful of spots to win it. After that, the former All Elite Wrestling star can do what he does best: deliver the best promos against Reigns.

During Rhodes’ six years away from WWE, he has rebuilt himself into a legit top star. It was on full display during his tenure in AEW, where he arguably was one of the top wrestlers in the world when it came to promos. Fans were behind Rhodes, until his final run when the crowd support started to dwindle.

His appearance at WrestleMania 38, however, showed he still has the star power and fan support, and he proved that during his two-month feud with Rollins. Reigns and Rhodes have only feuded in tag matches involving The Shield, Dustin Rhodes and Dusty Rhodes, so a Cody Rhodes feud would be fresh and something different.

If there’s anyone that could beat Reigns and come out a bigger star on the other end, it’s Rhodes, and it should be a backup plan for WWE if The Rock is unable to make it to WrestleMania 39.

Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
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