WrestleMania Kickoff 'Press Conference' Generates Divided Reactions, Confusion

WWE found a way for Cody Rhodes to finally get booed and turn Rock heel.

Roman Reigns The Rock

Thursday's WWE WrestleMania Kickoff event was designed to generate media coverage and public interest in the company's biggest show of the year -- and maybe in history.

But the so-called "press conference" might be remembered for the massive confusion and divisiveness it created. Rather than a straightforward situation of figuring out what was to come of the two world title matches, everyone left the event with one match seemingly made official -- Roman Reigns versus Cody Rhodes for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship -- but everything else up in the air.


Seth Rollins walked in and out of the event without a clear challenger for his World Heavyweight Championship, which once again was derided as a secondary title. And it was hard not to believe WWE feels the same way with Cody and The Rock both wanting to face Roman at WrestleMania 40 and no one even hinting at challenging Rollins for his championship.

Since returning to WWE at WrestleMania 38, Cody has been undeniable as the top babyface on the roster, universally beloved. Then he came out on SmackDown last week and very clearly said that he still wanted Reigns and his title, "but not at WrestleMania." He then stepped aside to allow Rock to face off with Roman. He reversed course at the presser, saying he was using his Royal Rumble victory to challenge Roman.


For the first time, fans were divided on Cody Thursday, with the majority chanting, "We want Cody!" and a solid contingent replying, "No we don't!" Instead of a straightforward "Finish the story" angle, things have now been muddled to the point where you have Rock fans wanting the gigantic Rock/Roman match and rejecting Cody.

Moreover, on Thursday, Rock sniped at Rhodes' supporters, calling them "Cody crybabies" and ultimately slapped the American Nightmare for insulting the Samoan dynasty. So, does that mean Cody got rolled by Rock when he sought the Great One's counsel last week? If anything, Rhodes looked indecisive in reversing himself, a point Reigns himself made, calling Cody "Mr. Hesitation."

If the goal here was to make Cody the underdog facing the entire Samoan Bloodline, why did he bow out on SmackDown? WWE could have done about 95% of this exactly the same without making Rhodes look foolish. It feels more like they're trying to retcon a bad decision from last week rather than executing a master plan from the start.

The end result of this event was fans delivering a mixed reaction for everyone and the kickoff panel unsure of whether Rock and Roman would be standing together as the Bloodline against Rhodes... and maybe Rollins? This was supported by a backstage confrontation involving Rock and Roman with Triple H.

Obviously, there will be much more fallout from this event in the days ahead.


Scott is a former journalist and longtime wrestling fan who was smart enough to abandon WCW during the Monday Night Wars the same time as the Radicalz. He fortunately became a fan in time for WrestleMania III and came back as a fan after a long high school hiatus before WM XIV. Monday nights in the Carlson household are reserved for viewing Raw -- for better or worse.